The Boston Red Sox believe the answer to their third base woes has been in the organization all along. The team finally made the move fans have been clamoring for all year, calling up top prospect Rafael Devers on Sunday.
Devers will join the team Monday, but he’s not expected to start until Tuesday. His first game will come against the Seattle Mariners.
Devers isn’t just the Red Sox’s top prospect, he’s one of the best in all of baseball. Devers entered the year No. 18 on Baseball America’s top-100 list. He’s raised his stock after hitting .305/.373/.575, with 20 home runs, over two levels this season. He shot up to No. 6 on Baseball America’s midseason July prospect update.
While the bat is considered strong, Devers’ defense is still considered a work in progress.
I asked PawSox manager Kevin Boles about Devers’ defense after today’s game and this is what he said pic.twitter.com/PbYcPteHXO
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) July 23, 2017
Scouts do believe in Devers’ defensive potential. They just think he needs more time to develop at the position.
That won’t matter as long as Devers can hit. The Red Sox haven’t gotten any production out of their third basemen this year. The team has received an awful .224/.284/.307 slash line at the position thus far. The team’s 54 wRC+, an advanced stat that measures offensive performance, is easily the worst in the majors at third base.
Boston has used seven different players at third this season. Of that group Deven Marrero, Josh Rutledge and the recently released Pablo Sandoval have played more than 30 games there. Sandoval’s 59 wRC+ was actually the best of that trio.
Losing out on Todd Frazier may have forced the Red Sox’s hand. Frazier was one of the few third base options available on the trade market. Oakland Athletics infielder Jed Lowrie is believed to be available, and is familiar with the Red Sox, but hasn’t played third since 2015. The team either wasn’t interested in a return, balked at the A’s asking price or just figured it was Devers’ time.
If Devers is ready, the Red Sox just found a way to fill their biggest need a no cost. With Eduardo Rodriguez and David Price healthy, the rotation looks much stronger. The team could add another reliever, though they aren’t in a dire situation.
With Devers shoring up third, the Red Sox don’t have much else to worry about. That’s a scary proposition for a team that already leads the American League East by three games.
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