Red Sox third baseman vs the AL East
- Rafael Devers, Red Sox (10)
- D.J Lemahieu, Yankees (7)
- Yandy Diaz, Rays (5)
- Santago Espinal, Blue Jays (3)
- Kelvin Gutierrez, Orioles (1)
The fourth easy decision out of the five positions discussed thus far, Rafael Devers has steadily progressed from promising youngster to MVP candidate. His defense is up-and-down (to put it generously), but there is nothing wrong with his bat. Devers set career highs with 62 walks and 38 home runs, and he ranked in the top 5 in the AL in RBIs for the third straight season.
Like many of his Yankees teammates, D.J Lemahieu’s production fell off considerably in 2021. The 2020 batting champion saw his batting average fall 96 points and his slugging fall over 200 points. His exit velocity and hard-hit percentage both dropped, and his strikeout rate climbed four points. He gets the benefit of the doubt based on his pedigree, but there are reasons to be concerned.
Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz has had a fascinating career. He’s always hit the ball extremely hard, but because he hits the ball on the ground so often, he’s never hit more than 14 home runs in the season. He’s an elite contact hitter, but rarely walks due to his tendency to expand the zone (though he did get better in 2021). Overall, Diaz is an above-average hitter who mashes lefties and can adequately play both second and third base.
Similar to Danny Jansen, Santiago Espinal excelled in limited action for the Blue Jays, hitting .311 over his 222 at-bats. He doesn’t hit for much power, and his exit velocity stats suggest he was significantly boosted by batting ball luck. Still, it’s not every day a rookie hits .311, and the departure of Marcus Semien opens up a spot in the lineup.
Rounding out the third base position is the Orioles’ Kelvin Gutierrez. Gutierrez doesn’t do anything particularly well, and like many of his teammates, he is just there to provide a bridge to the next great Orioles team.