Rafael Devers could not have been personally glad along with his 2023 efficiency, however he’s a Silver Slugger once more nonetheless.
Devers simply out-slugged the competitors in his age-26 season. He led American League third basemen with 33 residence runs, 100 RBI, a .500 slugging share, .851 OPS, and 67 extra-base hits. He additionally led all AL hitters with 252 hard-hit balls.
“I would say it was just average,” he instructed the Boston Globe final month. “I know that I have so much more to give and more potential. If you take a look at the numbers, it was just an average season.”
“Average,” by Devers’ requirements, means main the Red Sox in homers, RBI, and hits (157). He additionally confirmed extra persistence on the plate than in years previous, drawing 62 walks, second solely to Triston Casas (70), who was a Silver Slugger finalist, however misplaced to Yandy Díaz.
Devers joins Wade Boggs as the one two gamers in franchise historical past to win a number of Silver Slugger awards at third base. However, the general totals belie an inconsistent season. There have been peaks, like his 10 residence runs in April, but in addition far too many valleys, akin to when he went homer-less for 16 consecutive video games between May 20 and June 8.
“I think, mechanically, he’s been kind of off the whole season,” Alex Cora stated on the finish of August. “God bless him, right? You put up those numbers and you don’t feel right.”
Devers additionally has to regulate to being the principle face of a franchise that, for a lot of the century, was led by a a lot louder character. “He is shy!” David Ortiz stated at spring coaching. “He’s like a big kid.”
Indeed, there’s one thing stunning about the truth that “Carita” (his nickname, which implies “Baby Face”) has and desires to carry onto his youthful exuberance. As a lot as issues have modified for him during the last yr – dropping his function mannequin, Xander Bogaerts, and turning into the highest-paid participant in Red Sox historical past – he’s decided to not change within the ways in which matter to him. At Winter Weekend in January 2023, he spoke about nonetheless feeling “really young,” preferring to guide by instance, and respecting to extra veteran gamers, as is custom and customized in baseball.
Yes, the rising pains have been evident this yr for the person who nonetheless appears like an enormous child at coronary heart.
But if that is what qualifies as a disappointing season on the plate, the Red Sox can’t complain an excessive amount of.