The Third Base Conundrum
Last year in the summertime, the Red Sox were in a very tough place. They had just released Pablo Sandoval, a third baseman they had expected to be their guy over the next five years. He was signed to a $95 million contract in the winter of 2014. He did not produce in the way he did in San Francisco, where he helped lead them to three championships in five seasons.
They had started the year off with Pablo over Travis Shaw, because they were hopeful the Sandoval situation would work out. Obviously it didn’t. So they could’ve just went back to Travis Shaw at third, right? The problem was Shaw was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Tyler Thornburg, a right handed reliever who was injured for the whole year. So Shaw is out mashing on the Brew Crew, meanwhile the Red Sox were forced to release their joke of a third baseman.
One of the biggest talks of last year was who the Red Sox could trade for to play third base. Everyone mentioned Mike Moustakes, from Kansas City, who could be a good rental. Nobody wanted the best prospect in the organization, Rafael Devers, to get called up since many thought he would be too rushed. But Dave Dombrowski didn’t listen as he would call up Devers in July.
Devers is the Future
At first many were skeptical, but that went away quick. In his second game he slammed a 427 foot home run. He would later single later in that game and never look back. He stayed hot for the rest of the year, hitting home runs left and right, including the famous one off of Aroldis Chapman to tie the game in the top of the ninth in Yankee Stadium. I mean, he’s already getting clutch hits against the Yankees at age 20. Just crazy.
He’s had a great spring so far, hitting .400 with two homers in several games. He went back to back with Andrew Beninendi last Sunday, and did the same with Xander Bogaerts against the Rays.
The lineup is still being figured out, as Cora will put guys in the right places for protection. But Devers definitely has the capability of being in the top or middle of that lineup.
What to Look Forward To
As far as the defense goes, he’s struggled. But that’s okay. You have to remember he’s not even 21 yet. Defense will come around. One of the players Devers looked up to growing up was Adrian Beltre. Beltre came up with the Dodgers at a very young age and struggled defensively at third. But now? He’s a five time gold glove winner and someone you see making great plays every single night. So as far as defense goes for Devers, it will come around.
I am super excited to see what the future holds for this young kid who isn’t even near his prime yet and already hits like a veteran. He is perfect for Fenway as he has learned to use the monster very well. The future looks bright for the young Devers, but as of right now, he’s looking like a big part of this 2018 Red Sox team.
Cover image courtesy of NESN.