Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers was late to join camp as he was celebrating the birth of his daughter, but he’s making up for lost time.
Spring training is in full gear and the team is beginning to gel and we’re seeing guys get into the pre-season groove. Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers was late to camp as he was expecting the birth of his daughter, but he’s getting warmed up now.
It looked as if the infielder may get off to a slow start after getting roasted by Eduardo Rodriguez in batting practice, but that all changed today. During this afternoon’s game against the Braves, Raffy stepped to the plate with Michael Chavis on second and launched a ball over the centerfield wall, his first homer of spring training.
The swing he used to send the ball to the moon reminded me of something that Vlad Guerrero would do while at the plate. Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz tossed the ball low and inside to the lefty and the baby-faced assassin launched it into the stratosphere.
Watching the video of the hit you’d think Devers was at the plate with a driver ready to smash the ball off a tee. Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke spoke about the monster-shot, and was absolutely beaming about his third baseman.
"“Devers, you think you’re safe throwing a changeup down and in and he hits a homer,” said Roenicke. “He’s fun to watch. When you think of all the people in this game that are great players, and there’s just some of them that are just fun to watch. And he’s a character.”"
This is the kind of production that Red Sox Nation saw from the man at the hot corner in 2019 and is hoping to see more of it in 2020. Devers put up numbers last season that nobody expected from him and did things that the organization hasn’t seen since Ted Williams.
He and Xander Bogaerts were one of, if not the strongest one-two punch in the league. Both ended in the “30-50 Club,” for doubles and homers, the only teammates to ever do so.
Raffy had the definition of a break-out season for the Red Sox in a year where not much went right for the team. His efforts didn’t earn him any buzz when it came time for MVP voting, even though he should’ve been in the conversation. Having done so much and getting zero recognition for it has to be one hell of a motivator, and I think we may see an even hotter fire under him this year.
When he broke onto the scene in 2017, you could see the promise and potential that he had. He really came out of his shell and became a star during the 2018 World Series run that saw him step up to the plate in big ways. Finally, 2019 was the year that saw him fully take control of third base and it’ll take a miracle to wrestle it away from him.
Rafael is a key part of a very young core of super-talented players along with Bogaerts and Chavis that will be the future of the Red Sox for a long time. As last season came to a close and the team began to transition towards the offseason there were some rumblings that he may receive an extension.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the team would want to lock him down for the foreseeable future just as they had done with Bogey, especially after the season he had. Nothing has come to fruition on the end of the Red Sox as far as a new deal but there’s still time. Boston needed to free up the cash and space under the CBT before anything could truly be done this offseason.
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Now that Mookie Betts and David Price are enjoying that California sun, there some room in the budget to sign Raffy long-term. Another reason that Chaim Bloom may want to approach the infielder about an extension is the looming arbitration that Devers will earn at the end of the year.
Though he won’t be a free agent until the 2022 season concludes, he can demand some serious cash until then, if he keeps performing at a high-level. Devers isn’t thinking about an extension or the future as much right now, he has his sights set firmly on the upcoming campaign.
"“I’m not really focused on that right now,” Devers said, through translator Bryan Almonte. “If it comes, it comes. That would be great. But I’m just focused on right now. We haven’t had discussions about that yet. My agent hasn’t told me anything. As of now, I’m just focused on playing the game.”"
This won’t be an easy season for Boston and honestly, it may be a damn car wreck for much of it. If the Red Sox want to be contenders and get back to the Fall Classic, they’ll need Rafael Devers on top of his game. If today’s highlight is any indication of what we can expect from the 23-year-old this season, then I think we’ll be seeing plenty of offense thanks to the youngster.