As the season nears every day, memories from the Fall come to my mind. Thinking about the series against Houston may hit a weak spot in the guts of Red Sox Nation. But there is one moment that I look back to that makes me excited for 2018. Rafael Devers did something in the last game of that series that no one saw coming. Something not always expected from a stocky power-hitting third baseman. That moment will bring together the excitement.
Inside the Park Home Run:
Why Devers In 2018 Is Excited:
Baseball Reference is the usual spot for baseball statistics, but I think they should be called out. Raffy Big Stick put up an impressive line in 2017, all within the span of 58 games.
Not bad for a 20-year-old. Devers was able to become a stable source of power throughout his call-up in Boston. A reliable source for a team that was in the spotlight for a team in one of the hardest divisions in baseball. Each at-bat it seemed like Devers could bring everyone around, no matter who was on the bump. Ask Aroldis Chapman. To me with a full season, one would think his 2018 year will be just as productive. Baseball Reference seems to not think the same. In fact, they believe the difference of 80 games that Raffy will only grab 3 more home runs.
In the time that Devers joined the Red Sox major league roster, the 20-year-old had a WAR of 1.3. It is hard to believe that Devers will only be able to get 11 more RBI’s than the previous season. Rafael Devers also has made adjustments at the plate and expanded his range of swing. In a way that makes him look like a younger Vladamier Guerrero against the Indians last season.
Back to Aroldis Chapman again. This moment took over the baseball world in one swing. The facts and statistics that came out after the home run regarding the difficulty of what he did were shocking.
Devers defied the odds of a situation that since the use of Stat Cast, had not been accomplished. Chapman giving up a home run to a lefty? Never happened. The pitch he hit is the fastest pitch to ever be sent out. How many people expected this sort of impact from a 20 year old fresh out of the minors? So as the season begins, print out the projected stats from Baseball Reference. I’m sure you could cross off each statistic he surpasses by the All-Star break. Red Sox fans craving power in the lineup- look no further than Raffy’s hot corner.