Red Sox: Rafael Devers’ defensive woes continue to be an issue
The season has just begun for the Boston Red Sox and Rafael Devers already has two errors credited to his name. Will 2019 be another year plagued by defensive missteps for the talented third baseman?
Going into this season there was plenty of hype for Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers and what he may be able to achieve. He showed immense amounts of promise during the 2018 regular season and throughout the playoffs. As spring training approached there were murmurs about his offseason regimen as far as diet and training were concerned. Unfortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed from 2018 is his fielding ability.
Devers commanded a lot of attention from not only Red Sox Nation but the baseball world all over due to his young age and high ceiling. He showed zero fear during the playoffs even with the stress levels through the roof. But one thing that would often curb the excitement with Devers was his propensity to create errors in the field.
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During his 116 GP in 2018 Devers would rack up 24 errors at the hot corner, he already has 2 through 3 GP in 2019. All throughout spring training it was said that Devers had taken more steps toward a better strength and conditioning plan as well as getting used to hitting in a different spot in the lineup. But I can’t recall reading anything speaking about working on his defensive issues, and it’s showing.
Where Rafael is getting far better at the plate and his confidence is highly visible on the offensive side of the game it doesn’t transfer over to when he needs to flash the leather. I’m not saying the Red Sox aren’t working on his fielding mechanics as I’m sure they are, but I find it interesting that his fielding was the one thing we didn’t hear about in relation to his offseason workouts.
The offense was never really in question as far as Devers is concerned Every time he walked to the plate during the postseason his confidence oozed off of him and he showed not an ounce of fear. But when the coin flips and he has to take the field, that confidence just doesn’t seem to be as high. I’m sure without a shadow of a doubt that he has the confidence in himself or at least believes he does but as I watch him it just doesn’t feel that way.
The confidence can be attained and nurtured as the season progresses. The other side to this though is that the confidence may not be the strongest and any slip-ups could cause it to crumble. By getting the errors so early into the season it could do one of two things, cause him to rebound and become even stronger or crack. If we know anything about Rafael there is a phenomenal chance that he will rebound and bounce back.
Cora and the Red Sox may feel that the errors are just a small con to the youngster having so many other pros and can be written off. But if they continue to mount and lead to causing the team to lose games then something needs to change. Whether that be added reps in workouts or a swap with Eduardo Nunez, I don’t quite know. But that’s also the crux of the issue, the Red Sox gain offensively with him at the plate but lose with him in the field.
The season is still very young and there is plenty of time for the Red Sox to right the ship. This in no way is doom and gloom with the sky falling. But all trends start as small blips then eventually grow. Right now Devers’ errors are a small blip on 2019 but if they continue to grow as the season does then the Red Sox will have some big decisions to make.
Alex Cora knows his team and knows what he’s doing and often before any of us can see the moves he’s making. Being a longtime infielder and former World Champion with the Red Sox, I have zero doubts that he is working with the young Devers to get him more comfortable in the field. Rafael isn’t an awful infielder by any means it appears more often than not that his errors are caused by rushing himself and a dash of indecision. As if he second guesses himself before making the play and then has to speed through it.
The patience and confidence will come as the experience does. Devers is just a mere 22 years old and has an entire career still in front of him. With several veterans on the squad as well as Sox players of old often visiting with the club, there are plenty of brains Devers can pick for advice. The desire is absolutely there on the side of Devers to not only get better but to become a key component in the machine that is the Boston Red Sox. He wants to get better and to produce and become as reliable as possible on both sides of the game.
The season has just begun and the Red Sox have felt adversity before. With the endgame being another duck boat tour of Boston in October the squad will want to correct their course ASAP. With 159 games left in the season, Boston will need Rafael Devers to get his game on point and soon. With a high ceiling on his potential Devers can be a major part of the equation that brings another championship to Fenway Park.