Red Sox: Rafael Devers has been crushing the baseball this season

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox hits a base hit to center field during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox hits a base hit to center field during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has been crushing the ball

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is off to a pretty good start to the 2021 season. Entering play on Friday, he’s hitting .287/.371/.556/.927 with 7 home runs and 8 doubles. That puts him on pace to post the highest OBP, SLG, and OPS of his career, to go along with his second-highest average. He’s also on pace for around 35 homers, which would also be a career-high.

These numbers are awesome, and of course any team would be thrilled to get this kind of production from a young infielder. That said, it shouldn’t shock anyone to see Devers end the season with even more impressive statistics.

One look at Devers’ Statcast data reveals a player who is absolutely annihilating the ball. Devers is third in all of baseball in Barrels, behind Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. Furthermore, his expected numbers, which Statcast calculates utilizing batted-ball data, are downright elite.

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Devers is fourth in both xBA (behind Acuna, Bryce Harper, and Mike Trout) and xSLG (behind Harper, Acuna, and Byron Buxton). He is third in xwOBA behind Acuna and Harper. Among the group of Acuna, Harper, Trout, Buxton, and Devers, Devers is the only one hitting below .317, the only one slugging below .598, and has the second biggest difference between his xwOBA and his wOBA (only Harper has had worse results relative to how hard he is hitting the baseball).

Devers is still only 24 years old, and has already developed into a star. This season, he has progressed even further, posting career-highs in walk-percentage, Isolated Power, and wOBA, in addition to the career-highs in OBP, SLG, and OPS mentioned above. He is on pace for the best offensive season of his young career.

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However, the underlying data, as illustrated above, paints the picture of a player whose raw statistics actually sell him short. Devers has been tearing the cover off of the ball with absurd consistency. Right now, Devers is having a great season, and everyone agrees he is a top-three hitter on the Red Sox. By the end of this season, we may be agreeing that he is a top-three hitter in all of baseball.