Rafael Devers Named AL Player of the Month
After an incredible month of May, Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers was, this week, named the Player of the Month in the American League. The 22-year-old hit all eight of his home runs this season in May while driving in 24 runs for the Sox. He’s been, perhaps, Boston’s most important player this season. His performances over the last month have helped the Sox climb up the AL East after a poor start to the year.
A Sensational Start to the Year
Devers’ game has grown extremely quickly. Last year, in just his first full season in the majors, he played an important role in bringing Boston their ninth franchise World Series championship. He took over the role of everyday third baseman with enormous maturity. There were a number of moments where Devers showed vulnerability in the field; however, he’s shown this season that he’ll be able to overcome any defensive problems in time. Right now, his bat is too hot for all that to even matter. He’s already there, offensively, and down the road, he could be just as good as anyone at the hot corner, too.
Alex Cora has found it difficult to even consider giving Devers the day off, given his level of performance at the plate. In a period that has seen the Sox climb back up to .500 — but still looking for a real lift-off — Devers has been the ignition to kickstart the defending World Champions’ season. Having missed just one game thus far, Devers looks set to be the Sox’s third baseman for the long haul and one of the most influential players too.
Devers’ Place in the Lineup
While there’s been plenty of talk surrounding the Red Sox camp of Devers moving up to as high as third in the batting order, the youngster is currently usually hitting sixth. With a team stacked with as much talent as Boston, it can sometimes be hard to come up with the first choice line-up. Cora had it nailed down to a tee last year, and has gone back to leading off Mookie Betts again, right now. With the likes of J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts hitting in front of Devers, it’s difficult to really know whether to change the approach. However, with Devers hitting as well as he is, moving him up a few places would potentially allow for a lot more RBI opportunities.
Even if he stays where he is, there’ll still be plenty of runners in scoring position for the third baseman with the other talents boasting great OBPs. But, Devers’ future in the league can definitely, right now, be seen as him developing into a clean-up hitter. He hits for contact and power both effectively and efficiently and would be a nightmare for any pitcher — especially in the form that he is currently.
Keeping This Up for the Rest of the Season
Any player can have a terrific month, but not every player can keep a terrific month’s form up for an entire season. Devers has shown plenty of potential for the future, but he’s also showed that the ability is there now. It’s pretty good, just to say the least. Devers keeping up his productivity at the plate will be one of the keys to the season for the Red Sox — and could, ultimately, be the difference when it comes down to the wire.
As we’ve now entered the month of June, the Sox currently sit in third place, 8.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East. To make the postseason, where they truly should be after their 2018 campaign and holding the squad that they still have, Devers’ ability to keep up performances will be vital. At 22-years-old most future stars are still learning their trade in the minors, Devers, on the other hand, is playing in his third big league season with one ring already in his possession. He is turning into a must-have player for one of the greatest franchises in the game.
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