It’s usually not a good sign when your success hinges on the play of a 20-year-old. The Boston Red Sox may be in this exact situation, they shouldn’t be too worried though. After all, Rafael Devers is no normal 20-year-old.
All year long, the Red Sox lineup has featured some fantastic talent.
Yes, every one of those players named have had their problems this year. Most have gone through long slumps, while Pedroia has had trouble staying healthy. In the end though, they’ve all contributed heavily to the success of the Red Sox.
That left just third base. In fact, heading into July 25, the Red Sox were winning despite this position.
Deven Marrero was the leading contributor at the position before July 25. On the year, he has a .212/.258/.318 slash line. In his defense, Marrero has a terrific glove, and did drive in 23 runs and score 30 runs. He even managed going 5-for-5 in steal attempts.
Those numbers weren’t going to cut it though. Them, combined with Rafael Devers terrific play in the minors, led to a change.
Since being called up, Devers is slashing .319/.396/.553 in 12 games. The left-handed hitter has two doubles and three home runs, while driving in seven runs and scoring eight more. He’s been strong defensively, and has a steal as well.
The Red Sox are 10-3 since Devers first appeared in their lineup. It should be noted that Eduardo Nunez joined the team around this same time. Ultimately though, it’s Devers who is the answer at third.
It’s also Devers who becomes one of the most important pieces on the Boston roster.
While seeing Betts or Bogaerts return to form, or having Ramirez mash for the rest of the season would be nice, they’d be replacing themselves.
Betts may not be performing to the level of his 2016-self, but he still brings a lot to the table. Gold Glove defense, speed on the bases, power at the plate, and run production. The same could be said for a lot of the players on the roster.
Devers however, is replacing a black hole. He’s brought production to a position that’s been void of it almost all season.
Having the baby-faced bleacher burner on the roster has finally given the Red Sox a complete 1-through-9. This may just make Rafael Devers the most important player in the Boston lineup.