What can Red Sox do about defense of third baseman Rafael Devers?
By Sean Penney
We have to consider that it may be premature to give up on a 22-year old’s chances of fielding his position. Errors aside, Devers does show potential in the field. He has excellent range, sporting a 3.03 RF/G that leads his position. His arm has plenty of strength to make throws to any base on the diamond. Getting to balls hit in his direction isn’t the problem, Devers just struggles more than most to make the play. He’s capable of making a strong throw but it’s not always accurate.
These are mental lapses that, while inexcusable at this level, are typically correctable. Devers has all the physical tools to be a solid third baseman if he can eliminate the mental mistakes. Youth is a contributing factor, suggesting he can grow out of these struggles with more experience.
That can only happen if the Red Sox stick with him. Young players are bound to have bumps in the road as they adjust to the majors and teams have to be patient as they work through it. The ceiling is too high for anyone to be giving up on Devers this early in his career.
Boston isn’t shipping Devers back to Triple-A Pawtucket to work on his defense. He’s played 200+ games over parts of three seasons and achieved enough success at the plate to deserve to be here. Demoting him now risks shattering his confidence and stagnating the development of a potential future star.
Devers isn’t going anywhere and moving him to another position isn’t feasible with the makeup of this roster. So what can the Red Sox do about his poor defense? There isn’t much they can do. Devers needs to put in the work to improve while listening to the coaches and teammates around him for guidance. He’s certainly capable of being a major league third baseman with the proper adjustments. In the meantime, we just need to hold our breaths any time a ball comes rolling his way.