Boston’s 22-year-old stud, Rafael Devers, will prove to be a key player as the Red Sox look to the new season and repeating their heroics of 2018.
After an offseason which hasn’t seen any major changes in the Red Sox clubhouse following a near-perfect season, it’ll be the returning players’ duty to make sure they do whatever it takes to give the Sox a chance of lifting the Commissioners trophy aloft, once more. This Sox side is overflowing with the talent needed to win another championship.
The most talked about names being Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez – all more than worthy of taking up the limelight. There are plenty of other names, however, who were integral to the 2018 season. One player who had a tremendous year, and was a vital piece in the World Series winning puzzle, is Rafael Devers.
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The youthful third baseman’s on-field presence can make people forget about his age at times. His maturity allowed him to thrive in his first full season with the Red Sox. The second-year slugger showed his potential in 2017, after being called up from the minors and spending the second half of the year hitting at Fenway. He fit in within no time.
He didn’t look out-of-place for a moment and that experience was important as it set him up for what was to come in 2018. His offensive skillset piled on an abundance of important runs for the Sox, as he hit 21 homers on the year, and the team went on to win 108 regular season games.
The only real questions over Devers as a ballplayer came on the defensive end. Committing 24 errors last season, there’s certainly a lot to work on, as Devers looks to remain as the day-to-day third baseman for the upcoming season. For all the mishaps that did happen, Devers did, however, make plenty of impressive plays and it wasn’t for the lack of trying that balls sometimes go by the youngster.
Devers is only going to get better, on both ends, there’s no question his bat is ready for a take-off year in 2019, and he’ll get plenty of opportunities at the plate, with plenty of reliance on his shoulders.
With Dustin Pedroia hopefully making a return in time for Opening Day, infielder Eduardo Nunez, who spent time at second and third last year, will probably just be used at third base as Brock Holt and Pedroia split time at second. This might mean restricted time at third at various times during the year, but, Devers will remain a key player in day-to-day play.
Devers will likely start as the main third baseman, but we could see him playing some DH as well. His bat can be used as an alternative to star DH Martinez’s in that position, allowing plenty of options for Alex Cora to think about. Devers’ mid-order bat will prove to be an important weapon this year, and with the abundance of hitting talent ahead of him, there won’t be a shortage of RBI opportunities for the youngster.