While the Major League Baseball community accepts Rafael Devers is the real deal, it wonders aloud whether the Boston Red Sox are playing possom.
Two Red Sox-centric storylines appeared Tuesday on ESPN’s David Schoenfield’s list of the “top 60 storylines for a 60-game MLB season.” The first centers around the Red Sox third baseman’s prospects to continue the breakout success he enjoyed in 2019. The other bluntly asks whether the Red Sox actually are rebuilding or will they be contenders in the abbreviated campaign.
The Devers storyline was No. 27 on Schoenfield list.
27. Definitely for real: Rafael Devers
The most extra-base hits in a season by a Boston Red Sox player:
Devers, 2019: 90
Ted Williams, 1939: 86
Nomar Garciaparra, 1997: 85
Williams, 1940: 80
Mookie Betts, 2016: 78
After enduring a difficult offseason, the Red Sox entered spring training with doubters insisting they were heading for an abyss. Surely, a long layoff and the looming sprint of a 60-game season will change that calculus. That’s the No. 32 storyline on Schoenfield’s list.
32. Are the Red Sox really rebuilding?
Let’s call it a readjustment. Under new general manager Chaim Bloom, the team traded Mookie Betts to add some young talent and get future payrolls under better control. The Sox also lost Chris Sale to Tommy John surgery. Without Sale, Price and Rick Porcello (who signed with the Mets), the Red Sox have lost 49 percent of their starts from 2019, so it’s going to be a patchwork rotation at best. Still, don’t count out a lineup featuring Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez.
The abbreviated 2020 MLB season will offer baseball-starved fans what they have been missing since. However, it might not answer the big questions surrounding the Red Sox or prove whether Devers is a bona-fide or shooting-star.