Rafael Devers has had a phenomenal year and the 22-year-old isn’t showing a single sign of slowing down.
Sitting here on August 6th, the Red Sox third baseman is leading not just the American League, but all of the Majors in hits with 146 on the season. The next closest name on that list is Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals who is currently in the midst of a three-game set at Fenway Park.
Being in his third year at the Major League level, it was going to be interesting to see how much he’d developed over the offseason and one thing that’s noticeable is his apparent newfound maturity and focus at the plate. In nine fewer games, Devers has already blown by his previous hit mark that ended at 108 in 2018 which led him to an underwhelming .240 batting average. With the high expectation that was following the third baseman through the minors, his offensive production certainly needed to see an uptick in 2019, especially due to the fact that there are so many contracts coming up for his teammates while he sits under team control headed into 2020 with three years of arbitration eligibility to follow. This gives the Red Sox front office strong leverage being that his high offensive production causes other players on the roster to become expendable or simply not as valuable.
One thing that you can say about Devers’ year that goes against everything the Boston Red Sox have been is that he’s been immensely consistent. Aside from this slightly slow start to the month of August–along with the rest of his teammates in New York–the lowest monthly batting average that we’ve seen from the power bat was .282 in April. Since then, each month he’s put up a batting average minimum of .317.
Not only is Devers hitting for average though, he’s also hitting for power which is something that we were looking for from him since he made his debut in 2017.
With now 23 home runs in 493 plate appearances, a new career-high, we’re seeing just how much the lefty is capable of.
This entire season for Red Sox fans has been a roller coaster. Sure, there have been plenty of times where the team’s caused you to believe that they’re capable of making another deep postseason run. But then, when they have you start believing in their ability once more, they fall back into the mediocrity that has been the perfect word to describe the entire 2019 campaign.
Something that you can pull out of this year though is the emergence of Rafael Devers both at the plate and somewhat in the field. As previously mentioned, there are so many contracts that will be running up soon that will need a resolution. There will be plenty of faces that Red Sox fans have become accustomed to that will be out of Boston in the next few seasons. But that fear of losing some offensive prowess can be calmed at least slightly with this now proven offensive weapon.
With Devers showing just how dominant he can be at the plate, especially at such a young age, there’s no telling what he’ll look as he continues to work on his game.