Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers collected his major league-leading 50th double to put himself in exclusive territory.
Rafael Devers is an extra-base hitting machine. During Tuesday night’s game in Toronto, the Boston Red Sox third baseman collected his major league-leading 50th double of the season.
The 22-year old is the youngest Red Sox player ever to hit 50+ doubles in a season. This is a rare accomplishment for players of any age. Only 95 MLB players have recorded at least 50 doubles in a season in the modern era (since 1900). Devers accounts for only the ninth time that a Red Sox player has done it and the first since Dustin Pedroia‘s MVP campaign in 2008.
Similar to Devers, Pedroia was also in his second full season when he led the majors with 54 doubles but he was over two years older than Devers is now.
Former Red Sox outfielder Earl Webb is MLB’s all-time single-season leader with 67 doubles in 1931. Nobody else has come close in the last 80 years. Todd Helton‘s 57 doubles in 2000, tied for eighth all-time, are the most by any player since the 1930s. Helton benefited from playing half his games in the pre-humidor conditions of Coors Field.
With 17 games remaining, there’s plenty of time for Devers to climb up further on the all-time list. He won’t catch Webb for the MLB record but Helton’s 57 doubles for the most this century are within reach.
Nomar Garciaparra is the only hitter to reach 50+ twice in a Red Sox uniform (2000, 2002). Tris Speaker did it five times but only once with Boston (1912), with the others coming as a member of the Cleveland Indians. David Ortiz, Wade Boggs, and Joe Cronin are the only other Red Sox hitters with 50+ double seasons on their resumes.
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Devers will soon have some company in the 50-doubles club. Xander Bogaerts sits at 49 and could join him any day now. There has never been a pair of Red Sox teammates who reached 50+ doubles in the same season. Pedroia played briefly in his debut season when Ortiz hit 54 doubles in 2006 and Big Papi was still around when Pedey did it a few years later but it’s never happened in the same year.
Mookie Betts recently collected his 40th double for the fifth consecutive season. He’s never tallied 50 but he has an outside shot of getting there. I don’t care if Fenway Park is tailor-made for swatting doubles off the left-field wall. Three players from the same team hitting 50+ doubles in the same season would be ridiculous!
Devers has set career-highs in virtually every offensive category in his breakout year. He enters the day hitting .314/.365/.565 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI. His 83 extra-base hits lead the majors. Devers is one of only seven major league hitters with 100+ runs scored and 100+ RBI this season, a list that also includes Bogaerts.
Boston’s fading playoff hopes may take Devers out of MVP consideration but he’s undoubtedly been among the game’s top hitters. He may not take home any hardware but making history isn’t a bad alternative.