Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers
This season wasn’t all bad for Rafael Devers. He tied for the team lead with 11 home runs while leading the club with 28 extra-base hits and 43 RBI. Being the best run-producer on a bad team doesn’t necessarily mean he played well though.
Devers hit .311 in his breakout 2019 campaign only for that batting average to tumble all the way to .263 this season. Batting average can be a bit fluky in smaller samples but there were reasons to be concerned about this drastic decline. Devers posted a career-high strikeout rate of 27.0% and his lowest walk rate at 5.2%.
He was far worse in the field. Devers made strides to improve defensively at the hot corner last year but he once again was a butcher with the glove this season. He committed the most errors at his position with 14 and tied for fourth-worst among major league third basemen with -5 defensive runs saved.
We too often saw Devers appear undisciplined and unfocused at the plate and in the field. He looked great coming into spring training but the COVID-19 hiatus that delayed the season did him no favors. Devers showed up to summer camp out of shape and sluggish.
Devers has always had a strong work ethic so we should feel confident that he’ll come back stronger next year but this season was a clear step back from the production that had him on the verge of the elite third basemen.