A Red Sox superstar at the hot corner: Rafael Devers
It should come as no surprise that the best hitter in the Red Sox lineup, Rafael Devers, is also the team's greatest power threat. Rafael Devers comfortably led all Red Sox hitters with 27 home runs in 2022, to go along with a .521 SLG and a .879 OPS.
However, his strong production last year felt mildly disappointing based on the sky-high expectations that are set for him. Rafael Devers smashed a career-high 38 home runs the previous season. He tallied 32 homers in 2019 when he led the majors with 54 doubles and set a career-high with a .916 OPS.
Devers was outstanding in the first half of last season, hitting .324 with a .981 OPS and 22 home runs in 86 games. He was well on his way to a career year until he was derailed by a hamstring injury that sent him to the IL in late July.
It was clear that Devers was still hampered by the hammy when he returned to the lineup in August. He wasn't running well and his swing appeared to be out of tune. Devers had a horrible month, hitting .164/.226/.289 with only three home runs in 26 games. He recovered to finish the season strong in September but sputtering through the worst month of his career put a damper on his overall production last season.
Even when accounting for his summer slump, Devers remained among the elite in the Statcast categories. He rated in the 96th percentile in Hard Hit% and 98th percentile in Exit Velocity according to Baseball Savant.
Rafael Devers is already a two-time All-Star and a Silver Slugger award winner, but the 26-year-old has only scratched the surface of his potential. Devers likely hasn't reached his ceiling on offense or defense, but, with the security of a long-term extension that solidifies his role as the face of the franchise, he is poised to make another leap this season.