Photo Credit: Matt West / Boston Herald
Big deals often warrant big time returns, but the Red Sox should hold onto their young third baseman.
This part of a baseball season is utter madness for the entire industry. Rumors are flying, some true- some not so true. A lot can still happen over the course of the next week, but one thing should be certain for Dave Dombrowski and company: Rafael Devers is off limits.
In late 2017, Devers was called up to Boston and he started off his major league career like a top ranked prospect in baseball should. Devers came into Boston as the #1 rated prospect within the system and the #16 overall in Major League Baseball. Upon his arrival, he had just 240 plate appearances and slashed .284/.338/.482 with 10 home runs. Judging by those numbers, a strong 2018 seemed imminent.
Here we are, just over a hundred games into the season and Devers’ name is being brought up in trade rumblings. While the big lefty hasn’t been great, he’s hitting the ball just as hard as last year at 42.1%. That number is well above the league average of 35%. His power numbers are almost identical as well as he is on pace to eclipse 25 big flies. With that said, if he can focus more on his pitch selection and work his way into good hitters counts, he will surely be able to improve his staggering .292 OBP and get back on track. Assuming Rafael puts it all together in the remainder of 2018, his bat would spring the Red Sox into potential World Series favorites.
Realistically, the number one knock on Devers’ game is his defensive prowess, or lack there of. The young third baseman leads all of baseball with 20 errors and has a shaky .927 fielding percentage. Those numbers are concerning, but Devers models a player that will be Hall of Fame bound in the near future in Adrian Beltre. He made 29 errors in his debut season and 23 in the following campaign. Years later, the Rangers’ third baseman has accumulated 5 Gold Glove awards.
Devers’ value is very high for obvious reasons. He’s just 21 years of age and is under team control for two more full years before his arbitration kicks in. He’s proved to be consistent at every level of his development and has shown he can play well in the majors. This is why trading a player of Devers’ caliber is laughable and the Red Sox front office should understand that. Rental players like Mike Moustakas are not ideal swaps for Devers…nor is anyone else. It is simply a parallel move which wouldn’t push the Sox ahead now, or later down the line.
To give up on a player with star potential would be foolish and the Red Sox should stay the course with their young third baseman.
Red Sox Nation should put their faith in Dave Dombrowski, who helped get the Sox to this point. We should be trusting he will make the right decision – to keep #11 in Boston for the foreseeable future.