It’s probably not the easiest thing to capture the attention of Derek Jeter, especially in your first Major League Baseball season.
But Rafael Devers did just that.
David Ortiz shared a story to reporters Friday in Fort Myers, Fla. regarding the young third baseman when the Boston Red Sox played the Miami Marlins.
“True story, his first year they went to play the Marlins,” Ortiz said, per NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase. “I was sitting right next to Derek Jeter. And I asked Derek, ‘Hey, which one is the player in the lineup that scares you the most?’ And he said, ‘Devers.’ His first year. And I totally agreed with him because he was fearless. That’s when you know that a hitter is going to be dangerous. So, what he did last year, it was not surprising to be honest with you. I saw that coming.”
Devers had one heck of the year at the plate for Boston in 2019, batting .311 with 32 home runs and 115 RBIs. He also clubbed 54 doubles.
But Ortiz doesn’t want Devers to do anything different in 2020.
“I don’t need him to do more than what he did last year,” he said. “His numbers last year were sick. Last year was my first year really watching a lot of games, to be honest with you. I was sitting at home, so of course, I’m going to be watching games more than ever. It seems like every day that guy was doing some damage. Every day. Now I understand why I have people coming to me and telling me, ‘Bro, I couldn’t wait for you to come to hit. I was always expecting something out of you. Your at-bats were good enough even if you got yourself out.’
“I have the same feeling about him. I couldn’t wait for him to come to hit. Because if he gets himself out, he was fighting. He was hitting a rocket at somebody. It was a pitcher making a nasty pitch on him. It was not a giveaway at-bat at all. I saw more than 250 at-bats coming out of him and bro I’m telling you, this guy is on another level.”
We won’t argue with Big Papi.
If Devers can mirror what he did (or even improve his numbers) in 2019, then he’ll be quite the threat to pitchers.