Rafael Devers, the only Red Sox player ranked in a few different top 100 lists
Devers is still considered by pundits to be one of the best third basemen in the game, but there aren’t many other top talents around him in Boston.
Following the departure of Xander Bogaerts this offseason, a common concern shared by many for the Red Sox is their lack of top talent.
This was reflected in the top 100 preseason lists of many MLB analysts and pundits. The majority of them featured just one Red Sox player: Rafael Devers.
Devers was the only Red Sox player ranked on ESPN’s Top 100 list, but he was ranked quite high, coming in at No. 20. ESPN’s Joon Lee explained that the contract extension the Red Sox gave Devers this offseason (10 years, $313.5 million deal) shows the third baseman’s value.
“The reason (the Red Sox gave Devers the contract) is simple: Boston views his bat as a generational talent and something that will age well as he enters his 26-year-old season in the big leagues,” he said. writes Lee. “While Devers showed a powerful hit at home plate early in his career, his ability to hit the ball on all courts is what makes him one of the biggest offensive threats in the game, cutting .295/.358/.521 in 2022.”
As Devers was the fifth-highest-ranked third baseman on the roster, Lee predicted the slugger “will continue to be one of the most dynamic offensive hitters in the game” in 2023.
MLB Network gave Devers a similar ranking earlier this offseason, placing him 19th on baseball’s top players, three spots up from 2022. He’s also the fourth-highest-ranked third baseman on the list. .
CBS Sports placed Devers a little lower, ranking him as the 39th best player in baseball. But as the MLB Network’s roster, Devers was the only Red Sox player represented. Daryn Perry remarked on Devers’ consistency over the past few seasons, writing that Devers has “an OPS+ of 132 since the start of the 2019 season. For his career, he averaged 324 total goals in 162 games played.
As Perry mentioned, Devers’ solid bat will likely be the most dependable thing for the Red Sox in 2023. In addition to posting high OPS+ over the past four seasons, he’s hit at least 30 homers in the in two of the last 162 game seasons. . After hitting 38 homers in 2021, Devers’ homer total dropped to 27 in 2022, but he suffered a forearm injury for much of the second half of the season.
While there aren’t many hitters as good or better than Devers, the Red Sox are still lacking other top talent around him, which is a change from previous seasons. Last year, MLB Network included three other Red Sox players in its Top 100 list alongside Devers, the most notable being Xander Bogaerts. Of course, Boston let Bogaerts go to the Padres this offseason.
All three aforementioned lists ranked Bogaerts in similar places (ESPN had him at No. 28, MLB Network ranked him at No. 32, and CBS Sports placed him at No. 27).
Boston was also the only AL East team to have a representative in each Top 100 list. The Blue Jays were the most represented team in the AL East on the top 100 lists, with eight players ranked in the top 100 on CBS Sports’ rankings and seven players ranked by ESPN.
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