Welcome to the next installment of Tampa Bay Rays vs. the AL East. Today we focus on third base.
The Tampa Bay Rays have several high-quality players competing for time at the hot-corner in 2020. The Al East has some very quality depth at third base. While the Rays look to platoon several talented players in and out at third, the Red Sox and Blue Jays have two of the biggest young stars in all of baseball manning the position. Today we dive into what the boys from the north have to offer in 2020. On Deck: Boston Red Sox
AL East 2B Team Previews:
AL East 3B Team Previews
Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox Fangraphs 2020 Projected 3B WAR: 4.4
The Red Sox are projected to earn one full win above replacement more than the next best team in the division. The reason is named Rafael Devers. He took his game to a new level in 2019 leading the league in doubles with 54 and crushing 32 home runs. Devers slugged .555 last season, raising his career SLG to .501.
His smooth, easy swing generates power it looks like it shouldn’t. He can turn on an inside pitch with the best of them, or he can seeming poke at a low and away breaking ball and watch it sail over the center or opposite field wall.
Most guys are not hitting that one out of the park. He made it look so easy. That kind of power and plate coverage make Devers a likely candidate for 40 homers…the next time we have a 162-game season.
Devers also led all of baseball in total bases last season. He slashed .311/.361/.555 in 2019. However, in just three seasons in the big leagues, he has posted -29 defensive runs saved. If you ask the Red Sox, I’m sure they aren’t too upset with the tradeoff. His offense carried him to a 12th place finish in the American League MVP voting.
He has led American League third basemen in errors in each of the past two seasons.
Devers could find his way with the glove or eventually find himself in a different position. For 2020, he’ll be at third base and making opposing pitchers in the AL East shake in their cleats.