Rafael Devers’ hands have forged the brightest of futures for himself.
ESPN’s Buster Olney ranked the Boston Red Sox third baseman seventh on his list of the top-10 hot-corner occupants in Major League Baseball on Thursday. Olney recognizes Devers’ struggles in the field but believes his proven prowess at the plate easily merits his place among the top-10 third basemen.
“A number of evaluators believe Devers has some of the best hands of any hitter in baseball — in the way he is able to respond to pitches — and this goes a long way to offsetting the problems he has on defense,” Olney wrote. “In his age-22 season last summer, he hit .311. And there probably will be a time when he’ll join the long line of Red Sox hitters with batting titles. He had 24 errors in 2018 and 22 last year.”
2019 represents Devers’ breakout season, as he started with a reputation as an unproven talent and ended the campaign in 12th place in the American League MVP voting and among the players, whom MLB.com describes as having “graduated to stardom.”
Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant and free-agent Josh Donaldson are sixth and fifth on Olney’s list, respectively, and Devers might overtake them in Olney’s ranking if he maintains his form at the plate and improves his defense.
Doing so only would fuel Boston’s hopes for success in 2020 and beyond.
Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images