Red Sox Off-Season Profiles: Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez
Boston, MA - Before the Boston Red Sox were bounced from the post-season by the Houston Astros in the 2017 ALDS, Rafael Devers performed a quite unlikely feat by scoring an inside the park home run to give Boston a glimmer of hope before that was quickly snuffed out. It was a disappointing finish to the game, but Devers, then twenty years old, showed a flash of brilliance that gave fans reason to be very hopeful about the future of the third base position. Devers had power. Devers was clutch (Aroldis Chapman remembers him). If he could put it together, he could be the future of the hot corner at Fenway Park for years to come.
So it was disappointing when Devers got off to a slow start in the 2018 season and his numbers seemed to regress from his impressive rookie campaign. Towards the end of the season, though, Devers rebounded from injuries and started seeing the lineup more frequently, and he came into his own, finishing the season with twenty-one home runs and sixty-six RBIs. Devers further proved himself in the post-season where he racked up clutch hit after clutch hit and nine RBIs in just eleven games, including a home run that shot Boston over Houston in the ALCS.
Devers did make twenty-four errors during the season, but he's still young and he plans to workout with J.D. Martinez over the off-season so I would not be surprised to see Devers make the leap next season.
The third base position was a platoon, though, and Devers saw himself splitting shares with Eduardo Nunez, who played multiple positions during the season. Nunez's power numbers were down in 2018 with just ten home runs and he made seven errors himself on the diamond, but he proved an effective counterpart to Devers. Nunez also came through in the post-season with an incomprehensible home run in the first game of the World Series as well as numerous athletic and heroic achievements of hustle that saw him sustaining multiple injuries in the marathon third game of the series. Nunez has a lot of heart and he'll be fortunately returning to the Red Sox next season, as well!