Boston Red Sox 3rd baseman Rafael Devers has caught a lot of heat lately for his sub-par defensive efforts at the hot corner. And while much of this criticism is deserved, there’s a reason he remains Boston’s first choice at 3rd over Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt.
For one, Devers has already shown that he can be a very good hitter at the raw age of only 21. Last year, Devers hit .284/.338/.819 with 10 HR and 30 RBI in 58 games after being called up. He’s off to a bit of a slower start in terms of slash line in 2018 (.267/.323/.757), but he’s hitting .360 with RISP, he leads the team with 17 RBI, and he’s only getting better.
(Photo credit: Fangraphs)
Devers has increased his “hard hit” batted ball % to about 38% and his line drive % to roughly 24% from his impressive rookie campaign. Plus, he’s shown the ability to hit any pitch in any situation (Aroldis Chapman, anyone?).
Devers is a defensive liability at this point. There’s no arguing that. He’s culpable for 5 of Boston’s 6 errors this season, but, as with any acquired skill, he’s only going to get better with reps, and his offensive contributions and promise are way too high to justify sending him down to get those reps.