Rafael Devers, JD Martinez and the future at the corners

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm never too sure about starting any thread but since the season is nearly afoot, it seems like a good time to hear from posters here about the Devers, Martinez short term outlook and the handful of good prospects at 3rd.
A lot of people are already prepared to move Devers across the diamond after this season... to me that's premature. I have a lot of optimism in his bat to be consistently somewhere around a .950 OPS starting towards the second half of this season and into his long term success. (A little rocky start then a kick-ass second half and landing somewhere around an .875 OPS with 35 HR's). Most of the reasoning to move him though is defense based (or lack thereof)... citing his errors and fielding pct. more than most SoSH'ers are normally comfortable with- but it wasn't hard to see him struggle there. People who watched the games more said his footwork and handiwork and first step were actually all pretty good and could see him putting together a few seasons of above average defensive work there... Still seems to be pretty conclusive then that he'll be moved across the diamond. I think he'll be there full time in 2020.
Which brings me to JDM. He's a DH 50% of the time and really should be 90% of the time (that 10% only being games in NL parks). I think he'll be closer to that this season... and I do also think the Sox will extend him as the full time DH for another 5 years soon.
So that leaves 1B and DH wrapped up.... but an obvious hole at the Hot Corner.
I don't know much about Chavis, Dalbec and especially Casas... and hoping to get input here. Obviously 3 prospects can't fill the one spot. So... is any of their defense good enough to stick there long term? The other long term weak spot is 2B.... if (hypothetically, obvz) we get another 2 seasons out of Pedroia... is one of those 3 a possible solution to take over in 2022? Or is one of them a possible outfield solution, with likely one of JBJ and/or Betts gone soon. Other than those 3 guys, there isn't much else blooming on the offensive side... Casas is obviously much farther away... should he be taking some time at 2nd?
And yes.. I'm asking all of this for a friend.
 

crow216

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A 950 OPS? There were only 4 players in the MLB last year with above 939. Betts , JDM, Trout, Yelich. That's quite a projection.
 

bosox79

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Dalbec is decent at 3b and will stick there. Chavis is probably better fit for 2b so it's amazing he hasn't gotten more reps there. He's meh at 3b and may even be moved to the OF.

Casas it's too early to tell but scouting reports think he'll move to 1b eventually.
 

Merkle's Boner

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Casas looks like a beast. I can't see him playing 2B. Chavis is the only one of those three who I see maybe playing second. I believe he was drafted as a SS. I'm not expecting a whole helluva lot from either him or Dalbec. I do think Casas could stick but he's probably three eyars out.
 

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I wonder if the successes that Devers had in the field during the playoffs may allow him to relax a bit in the field and net improvement that way.

Last spring there was lots of talk about him working with Mike Lowell; has there been any such talk this year?
 

pokey_reese

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Yeah, this feels like a combination of problems that solve themselves. At first I thought that this was about where would Devers play if he had to move off third (not a foregone conclusion in the short- to medium-term), but then I realized that it's about not blocking prospects, none of whom are likely to crack a top-100 list anytime soon. I'm unclear on the actual question being asked here, but maybe it's just a thread to dream on some possible infielders, but chances are fine that Dalbec could be a 3B or 1B, Chavis could easily move to 2B (though if Xander moves on, he might not have to), and Casas is so far away that position is almost irrelevant. Most likely outcome is that none of them are significant starters on this team, or that Chavis becomes a utility infielder to take over for one of Holt/Nunez.
 
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Yeah, this feels like a combination of problems that solve themselves. At first I thought that this was about where would Devers play if he had to move off third (not a foregone conclusion in the short- to medium-term), but then I realized that it's about not blocking prospects, none of whom are likely to crack a top-100 list anytime soon. I'm unclear on the actual question being asked here, but maybe it's just a thread to dream on some possible infielders, but chances are fine that Dalbec could be a 3B or 1B, Chavis could easily move to 2B (though if Xander moves on, he might not have to), and Casas is so far away that position is almost irrelevant. Most likely outcome is that none of them are significant starters on this team, or that Chavis becomes a utility infielder to take over for one of Holt/Nunez.
Based on Sox Prospects, Chavis is considered a third-basemen that would soon be moved to 1st or a corner outfield position. There is no mention of 2nd base being a possibility. According to this article from OverTheMonster, he is also not expected to play 2nd.


https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.overthemonster.com/platform/amp/2019/2/6/18213452/red-sox-top-prospects-michael-chavis-position
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Casas seems much more certain to end up at 1B than Devers, from what I read about him. Devers has the physical skills to be a good enough third baseman, he just needs to develop consistency. Dalbec might turn out to be a better defender than Devers, but it's too soon to tell if he'll be able to make enough contact to stick in the majors.

Chavis seems to me like a future LF.
 

Orel Miraculous

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Yeah, this feels like a combination of problems that solve themselves. At first I thought that this was about where would Devers play if he had to move off third (not a foregone conclusion in the short- to medium-term), but then I realized that it's about not blocking prospects, none of whom are likely to crack a top-100 list anytime soon. I'm unclear on the actual question being asked here, but maybe it's just a thread to dream on some possible infielders, but chances are fine that Dalbec could be a 3B or 1B, Chavis could easily move to 2B (though if Xander moves on, he might not have to), and Casas is so far away that position is almost irrelevant. Most likely outcome is that none of them are significant starters on this team, or that Chavis becomes a utility infielder to take over for one of Holt/Nunez.
Is this a suggestion that a ballplayer who's played 0 innings at SS above A ball (and only 9 innings in A ball) is going to adequately replace the current All-Star short stop on the MLB roster?
 

charlieoscar

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The problem with Chavis as a first baseman is that he is only 5'10" and the preference is for taller players with longer reach at that position (I had thought he was taller). Other than that, he hasn't done real well as a fielder at either third or shortstop (albeit the sample size is small for the latter position). He also doesn't have any OF appearances as a pro.
 

pokey_reese

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Is this a suggestion that a ballplayer who's played 0 innings at SS above A ball (and only 9 innings in A ball) is going to adequately replace the current All-Star short stop on the MLB roster?
Absolutely not. I would be surprised if Chavis, or any of the prospects mentioned, play any significant amount of ball for the Red Sox barring something catastrophic, as I said. But the premise of the OP was that we needed to figure out where they would play, so those are the constraints we are operating under. Most of them probably end up traded away for a reliever this summer, in the real world.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Absolutely not. I would be surprised if Chavis, or any of the prospects mentioned, play any significant amount of ball for the Red Sox barring something catastrophic, as I said. But the premise of the OP was that we needed to figure out where they would play, so those are the constraints we are operating under. Most of them probably end up traded away for a reliever this summer, in the real world.
Wait, you think more than one of the Sox' top 5 prospects would be needed to get us a midseason bullpen arm? I know our farm is in pretty lackluster shape at the moment, but that seems a bit bearish. Or did you just mean that's the most likely fate for any one of them individually?
 

pokey_reese

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Wait, you think more than one of the Sox' top 5 prospects would be needed to get us a midseason bullpen arm? I know our farm is in pretty lackluster shape at the moment, but that seems a bit bearish. Or did you just mean that's the most likely fate for any one of them individually?
Sorry, that was unclear. I was combining the thoughts that in general most of them will likely never be starters for the Red Sox, and that a trade for a reliever is the most likely outcome for any/all of them, even if not at once.
 

InsideTheParker

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I wonder if the successes that Devers had in the field during the playoffs may allow him to relax a bit in the field and net improvement that way.

Last spring there was lots of talk about him working with Mike Lowell; has there been any such talk this year?
Per Remy and O B, he has had a lot of chats and demos from Pedroia.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Devers in a hot streak. Last 7 games- 2 HR, .387avg., .424obp., .677slg.
Not sure how sustainable this is or what his BABiP is but I like it. Obviously I don't expect a 1100 OPS, especially heavily pushed by a ridiculously high and likely unsustainable BA, but I do think he's could hit a consistent .280/.375/.525 on the season.
With Chavis starting to look human again, we'll need Raphy to be the anchor of the bottom half of the lineup
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Interesting tidbit about Devers from the Statcast leaderboard: he ranks in the top 10% in baseball in average exit velocity, but in the bottom half for Barrels/PA. This kind of lines up with what I see: a lot of his swings, like the HR last night, look a little off-balance and Rube Goldberg-y. Yet he hit that ball over the bullpen. He's so strong, he doesn't have to hit the ball on the nose to hit it hard. So imagine what he'll be like in a couple of years if he continues improving and starts hitting the ball on the nose more often.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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Interesting tidbit about Devers from the Statcast leaderboard: he ranks in the top 10% in baseball in average exit velocity, but in the bottom half for Barrels/PA. This kind of lines up with what I see: a lot of his swings, like the HR last night, look a little off-balance and Rube Goldberg-y. Yet he hit that ball over the bullpen. He's so strong, he doesn't have to hit the ball on the nose to hit it hard. So imagine what he'll be like in a couple of years if he continues improving and starts hitting the ball on the nose more often.
I think Devers is going to make a big leap in productivity this season and onward. I don’t believe we’ll need to wait a couple of years.
Look at his K/BB this season. If that holds steady or improves(!) he’s gonna be an offensive force.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think Devers is going to make a big leap in productivity this season and onward. I don’t believe we’ll need to wait a couple of years.
Look at his K/BB this season. If that holds steady or improves(!) he’s gonna be an offensive force.
The only thing missing in his game right now is the power, and he has such easy plus power, you know that is going to come. I think this year is when he puts it together too.
 

The Flying Dutchman

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The only thing missing in his game right now is the power, and he has such easy plus power, you know that is going to come. I think this year is when he puts it together too.
Well, that and and defense, he’s also been thrown out a bunch on the base paths.

Hes a 2 or 3 tool player right now (albeit useful)
 

shaggydog2000

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Well, that and and defense, he’s also been thrown out a bunch on the base paths.

Hes a 2 or 3 tool player right now (albeit useful)
If you expect every player to have 5 plus tools, you're going to be pretty disappointed pretty often. His defense is adequate and he has the tools to be average. His base running is solid. Much better than his chubby baby face would lead you to believe. He has the highest rating on the team in the fangraphs baserunning stat. He gets thrown out because they want the players to be aggressive, and he takes extra bases well when available. I know we only want to try to take the ones they won't get thrown out on, but percentages are percentages. Every play has odds associated with it.
 

bosox79

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The only thing missing in his game right now is the power, and he has such easy plus power, you know that is going to come. I think this year is when he puts it together too.
I think some of that power will come but I think most of it comes next year. I predict his season this year will be somewhat similar to Xander's 2015, where he may be sacrificing some power for contact and better pitch recognition. He'll finish with 20-25 HRs and a slash line around 300/.365/.480, which is really good. Next year is the year he'll hit 30+ HRs.

I noted it in the Chavis thread, but Devers has really improved his plate discipline this year too. He's at a 10.9% BB rate this year. In his first year at full season ball, his BB rate was 4.7%. His K rate (14.6%) is starting to resemble his K rate in the minors, which was 17.0%. His first 2 years in the majors it was 24.4%. If Devers is around a 10.0 BB%/15% K %, he is going to be an absolute beast of a hitter. The BB% increase is so huge.

I'm still not sold on his defense but I can't see Devers being pushed off 3b unless Dalbec develops. If I squint correctly, I can see him developing into a fringe average defender at 3b until he gets forced off the position in his late 20s. I don't think he's terrible at 3b or unplayable there, just below average. If he's putting up an OPS in the .900s it won't matter much.
 

Pedroia's Itchy Nose

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One of the things I was really hoping to see this season is a big step forward from Devers. If he emerges as a top tier player it will go a long way towards helping the Sox extend their window. So far this season is looking promising, and the underlying numbers are quite interesting:

Not counting today's action, Devers is hitting .326/.402/.847. The OPS is fantastic, but high average/OBP and low SLG is probably not the combo anyone expected. His K/BB has dropped from 3.18 over the past two seasons to 1.33 so far this year. His BABIP is .378, so quite high compared to his 2017-18 average of .301. That said, his XBA is .311. That suggests he's gotten a little lucky but not as much as his BABIP current to past seasons comparison suggests.

His exit velocity is 91st percentile and hard hit % is 94th percentile, but as @Savin Hillbilly suggested his barrel % is only 4.9 (MLB average is 6.2). Dever's past two seasons have a barrel% of 8.9. His average launch angle is also very low (7.4 vs MLB average 11). Overall, his ISO is down a ton to .118 vs. 2017-18 ISO of .195.

I'm really not sure what to make of it. There are certainly indicators that suggest this improvement is real. He hasn't been that lucky on batted balls, and his K/BB has improved dramatically. That said, his barrels and overall power are way down despite the fact that he's creaming the ball. This is likely a result of a big decrease in launch angle.

The question in my mind is whether the decrease in launch angle and improvement in K/BB and XBA are all linked to a change in approach.

It's very plausible that Devers is cutting down on his K's by swinging up at the ball less, but that he can get away with this because of his prodigious power. He hits the ball at a lower angle, but his power translates to a very good exit velocity, thus converting more of these lower angle batted balls into hits.

Personally I don't know enough about hitting to be able to judge at all as to whether this is the case, but this is the story that the numbers are telling me.

I'd love to see Devers make the next adjustment and be able to loft the ball more while still keeping his K/BB down, which would likely turn him into an offensive monster. But if that isn't possible, this might be the "very good" Devers that we never expected -- meh slugging but great OBP.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think some of that power will come but I think most of it comes next year. I predict his season this year will be somewhat similar to Xander's 2015, where he may be sacrificing some power for contact and better pitch recognition. He'll finish with 20-25 HRs and a slash line around 300/.365/.480, which is really good. Next year is the year he'll hit 30+ HRs.

I noted it in the Chavis thread, but Devers has really improved his plate discipline this year too. He's at a 10.9% BB rate this year. In his first year at full season ball, his BB rate was 4.7%. His K rate (14.6%) is starting to resemble his K rate in the minors, which was 17.0%. His first 2 years in the majors it was 24.4%. If Devers is around a 10.0 BB%/15% K %, he is going to be an absolute beast of a hitter. The BB% increase is so huge.

I'm still not sold on his defense but I can't see Devers being pushed off 3b unless Dalbec develops. If I squint correctly, I can see him developing into a fringe average defender at 3b until he gets forced off the position in his late 20s. I don't think he's terrible at 3b or unplayable there, just below average. If he's putting up an OPS in the .900s it won't matter much.
I agree with about everything you've said here. He has not assumed his final form yet. When he does, it's going to be fun.
 

BaseballJones

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Last 3 games: 9-14, 4 r, 1 hr, 7 rbi
Last 16 games: 28-66 (.424), 14 r, 2 hr, 16 rbi

Kid is raking.
 

InstaFace

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Based on Sox Prospects, Chavis is considered a third-basemen that would soon be moved to 1st or a corner outfield position. There is no mention of 2nd base being a possibility. According to this article from OverTheMonster, he is also not expected to play 2nd.


https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.overthemonster.com/platform/amp/2019/2/6/18213452/red-sox-top-prospects-michael-chavis-position
Good thing SoxProspects isn't running the team. He's looked good out there.
 

shaggydog2000

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I took a look at Devers' ISO, BB%, and K% over a rolling ten game average over at fangraphs.

https://www.fangraphs.com/graphs.aspx?playerid=17350&position=3B&statArr=40,34,35&legend=1,2,3,4&split=base&time=game&ymin=&ymax=&start=2019&end=2019&rtype=single&gt1=10&dStatArray=

It looks like the BB% and K% have been pretty steady, but since hitting a low point around games 15-20, he's just been climbing in ISO up to the .200 mark, which is about where he was the last two years. So he added power without really changing his approach from what I can tell. He's just making better contact. He's elevating more (FB% is up) and has a higher hard hit %. This is all good stuff.
 

bosox79

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Last 17 games for Devers: 80 PA, .347/.388/.640, 6 HR, 5bb/10k. He has a HR in 3 straight games. All 6 of his HR have come in the last 17 games, after hitting 0 in the first 32.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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If Devers remains a butcher in the field over the next couple of season, he has to be moved to DH, right? Do we have confidence he'll be a better 1B or is it just the position where his poor defense will have the least impact?
 
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Harry Hooper

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Devers is 22. Boggs was 24 when he made it to Boston. Devers should get a lot more rope at 3B before any firm conclusions are made.
 

MakeMineMoxie

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Devers is 22. Boggs was 24 when he made it to Boston. Devers should get a lot more rope at 3B before any firm conclusions are made.
Every time I cringe at one of his errors, I remember Boggs. He made himself into a decent 3rd baseman with a lot of work. Devers seems to be willing to put in the work & to my untrained eye, seems to be getting his footwork down, not so many wild throws.

I think the thing that could push him off 3rd is his body development. If he fills out too much, say hello to 1st/DH.
 

Van Everyman

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OT, but Boggs ultimately won two Gold Gloves -- but those were toward the end of his career. He was a lot better than "decent."
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Devers is 22. Boggs was 24 when he made it to Boston. Devers should get a lot more rope at 3B before any firm conclusions are made.
Yes, I left a couple key words out. I've corrected it, but I'll just reiterate it here:

If it's been a couple more seasons and he's still bad (and, yes, I know that puts him at Boggs's age from your example) in the field, how long do they remain patient?
 

BaseballJones

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Yes, I left a couple key words out. I've corrected it, but I'll just reiterate it here:

If it's been a couple more seasons and he's still bad (and, yes, I know that puts him at Boggs's age from your example) in the field, how long do they remain patient?
I'm sure that depends on a whole bunch of other factors, such as:

- What are their other options for 3b?
- What does their 1b or DH situation look like? (i.e., is JDM still on the team and still raking?)
- How bad, exactly, is "bad"? And how's the rest of the team defense looking?
- How much is he raking? As in, maybe you can live with 25 errors if he's putting up 40 homers and a 1.050 ops. Or, conversely, maybe he doesn't hit well enough to stick him at 1b.
- What's the team's financial situation look like?

So I get that you want to ask the question in a vacuum, but I don't know that it's that kind of question.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I'm sure that depends on a whole bunch of other factors, such as:

- What are their other options for 3b?
- What does their 1b or DH situation look like? (i.e., is JDM still on the team and still raking?)
- How bad, exactly, is "bad"? And how's the rest of the team defense looking?
- How much is he raking? As in, maybe you can live with 25 errors if he's putting up 40 homers and a 1.050 ops. Or, conversely, maybe he doesn't hit well enough to stick him at 1b.
- What's the team's financial situation look like?

So I get that you want to ask the question in a vacuum, but I don't know that it's that kind of question.
These are all really good points. I was building off the talk of Dalbec, Casas, and even Chavis pushing for spots on the team. The JDM question is probably the biggest influence on what will happen. If he's content to sign for a few more years (or just doesn't opt out, which seems unlikely given the historic utilization of that clause) and mostly DH with occasional starts in the field as needed, then they can focus on the two corner infield spots. If Chavis sticks at 2B, it becomes a game of musical chairs between the other three (Devers, Dalbec, Casas) for the remaining two IF positions. If JDM leaves because he believes he's a better fielder than the Red Sox do and is content to chase a ring somewhere else while getting to be a two-way player, then the problem may solve itself.
 

BaseballJones

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These are all really good points. I was building off the talk of Dalbec, Casas, and even Chavis pushing for spots on the team. The JDM question is probably the biggest influence on what will happen. If he's content to sign for a few more years (or just doesn't opt out, which seems unlikely given the historic utilization of that clause) and mostly DH with occasional starts in the field as needed, then they can focus on the two corner infield spots. If Chavis sticks at 2B, it becomes a game of musical chairs between the other three (Devers, Dalbec, Casas) for the remaining two IF positions. If JDM leaves because he believes he's a better fielder than the Red Sox do and is content to chase a ring somewhere else while getting to be a two-way player, then the problem may solve itself.
Yeah, I mean, Chavis is looking like a legit MLB power bat. They'll need a place for him. Maybe 2b isn't the long-term landing spot for Chavis, but who knows. Maybe he needs to be at 3b. If so, then they have to figure out Devers. And yeah, if Dalbec is, over the next couple of years, showing himself to be the real deal maybe HE needs to be up at 3b. So maybe your future IF is:

1b Devers - hitting .300 with 30+ hr power
2b Chavis - hitting .280 with 40+ hr power
3b Dalbec - hitting .250 with 30+ hr power
SS Bogaerts - hitting .300 with 20+ hr power

That's possible I suppose. Though I think Devers' main fielding issue is with the glove, not the throws (though he is more than capable of making bad throws). And I don't know that that gets solved with a move to 1b. Casas, meanwhile, seems to project better at 1b because he doesn't have the range to play 3b at this point. Plus, he's huge - 6'4" and makes a big target.

Lots to be excited about for sure. And just FWIW, here are Devers' fielding percentages these three seasons (his range and arm are what they are):

2017: .906
2018: .926
2019: .936

So that's some steady progression upward. SSS and all, but it seems like he's improving. If he can keep improving to the point where he's fielding like .960 or so, and only making 15 errors a season, then that's probably perfectly fine. And by the way, Bregman - the guy we all think is amazing in the field - had a .962 fielding percentage last year. So if Raffy can be at .950-.960, that's probably just fine.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Interesting to go back to the first few posts in the thread.... all this stuff being discussed but at the time a little further off in the hypothetical.
Devers is quickly turning into a legit masher faster than I thought but there's still some holes in his swing and approach. I'm confident he'll close those long term but I wouldn't be surprised to see him either suddenly fall into a big slump or suddenly start K'ing or hacking choppy grounders..... I also, like I said in the thread starter post, be surprised to see him club a .950 OPS on the season.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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Interesting to go back to the first few posts in the thread.... all this stuff being discussed but at the time a little further off in the hypothetical.
Devers is quickly turning into a legit masher faster than I thought but there's still some holes in his swing and approach. I'm confident he'll close those long term but I wouldn't be surprised to see him either suddenly fall into a big slump or suddenly start K'ing or hacking choppy grounders..... I also, like I said in the thread starter post, be surprised to see him club a .950 OPS on the season.
Fair enough. I put the over/under on Devers for 2019 at .850 OPS, so.950 is very optimistic.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Why do people think Devers is a "butcher" in the field? Cause he isn't. He really isn't.

That narrative in one that needs to die.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Dalbec is an interesting case. He's hitting well at Portland after a brutal start and improved his K rate, although it's still pretty high. I've not seen him, but I hear he's a decent defender as well. But on the other hand, he's a month older than Chavis, which I'll admit surprised me. So I don't know - do you move Devers to first to accommodate a guy like him? I am inclined to think he's tradebait, but I'm usually wrong about this stuff.
 

Pitt the Elder

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But on the other hand, he's a month older than Chavis
Who in turn is about 15 months older than Devers.

My guess is that the Devers-is-a-butcher narrative is based entirely on his propensity for throwing errors and the occasional booted ball. In other words, he seems like a mistake-prone fielder but one with some decent defensive tools.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Who in turn is about 15 months older than Devers.

My guess is that the Devers-is-a-butcher narrative is based entirely on his propensity for throwing errors and the occasional booted ball. In other words, he seems like a mistake-prone fielder but one with some decent defensive tools.
Yes. He's the defensive equivalent of a high-K, high-power hitter like Dalbec: when the good things happen they can be very good, but bad things happen a little too often. If Devers can cut his error rate at the same time Dalbec cuts his K rate, the Sox will have a very interesting choice on their hands.
 

billy ashley

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
928
Washington DC
More on topic.

With respect to the "logjam" at the corners (bolding the guys most frequently discussed). Below is a summary of stuff I've read (I've never seen any of these folks nor would I be able to evaluate)

  • 3B/2B/1B Chavis is a brutal defensive 3b. It's been his weakness as a prospect since he took off as a prospect after a few injury plagued seasons in the low minors. I like him (who wouldn't right now?) and think he profiles as a major league regular but his future is 2B,1B or the OF. Further, while he's mashing now, there are some issues with his whiff rate, etc. I'd rate Devers as likely a better hitter than Chavis and likely a better defensive 3b right now
  • 1B/DH Josh Ockimey is having a really impressive start to 2019. The positives are still there: He's a great worker. He has plus raw power. He draws walks. The trouble is all the negatives remain too: He's a bat only player better suited for DH than 1B. He's a 40 runner. He's lost against left handed pitching. He probably has a major league future as a platoon bat off the bench but yeah... he's probably not a regular and probably won't be threatening the playing time of anyone who is currently on the roster
  • 1B/OF Sam Travis Depth guy at this point. Good approach and decent hit skill but he doesn't hit for any power (he tried to do the launch angle thing but it didn't suit him). Athletic enough to sneak into the OF when needed, but not great there.
  • 3B Dalbec has been described as a 55-60 fielder with a 60 arm. He's probably a better fielder than Devers. The offensive signs are encouraging this season with his K rate plunging but I also read somewhere that his IFF rate has spiked. This could just the bumps that come with a change in approach and will eventually smooth out, or it could be a feature. Regardless, from an offensive perspective Dalbec probably has more raw power than Devers but his hit skill will probably always be way behind. He is also older than Devers as others have pointed out.
  • 1B Pedro Castellanos looks the part and allegedly hits tape measure home runs all batting practice but is a slightly above average contact only guy in games. He's worth tracking because of all that raw power, but unless he starts tapping into that power, he doesn't profile as a big leaguer
  • 1B/3B Tristen Casas is massive, but allegedly moves better than you'd think at 3B. I've seen people throw a 60 on his arm as well. He's off to a really impressive start in Greenville this season hitting roughly 35% better than league average as a 19 year old. His K rate is slightly elevated, but a lot of that is driven by a his April where he whiffed around 35% of the time. For the season it's around 25% now. He's so big it is unlikely that he will remain at 3B as he fills out, but then again we said the same thing about Xander and Devers early in their development. He's an exciting prospect who will make a bunch of top 100s next year as long as he continues his current pace.
  • 3B Brandon Howlett is said to profile to an average 3b. He broke out in a big way in 2018 after the draft, crushing rookie ball. So far in 2019 he's holding his own (103 wRC+) but he's whiffing 30% of the time (which was a concern when he was drafted). He's only 19 though.
  • 3B Nick Northcut is another 2018 draftee who didn't make it to full season ball out of camp. That's actually more the norm than an exception, as he also is only 19 years of age. Plus raw power. Raw approach to the plate. Impressive defensive fundamentals but not overly athletic.
  • 3B/1B Danny Diaz is another massive teenager. Like Casas he features really impressive raw power and moves really well for a kid his size (6'4 240). He's only 18 and will debut in short season ball. He was signed in the same class as the fantastic Catching prospect Daniel Flores who tragically died of cancer less than a year after signing.

Okay so that's a lot of words but does it mean:

1b/3b are indeed positions of depth for Boston. But that doesn't mean we have a coming log jam on our hands. Boston lucked out in that Chavis took to 2B well, because he probably wasn't a 3B.

Of all that talent in the minors + Chavis I'd argue we currently have:

1 player who currently profiles as a major league regular (Chavis)
1 player who currently profiles as a second division regular but has some really loud tools in Dalbec.
1 player who currently profiles as a bench bat (Ock)
1 Org guy (Travis)
A bunch of lottery tickets (I think Casas has a higher hit percentage that anyone else on that list but he's still got a lot of time).

We shouldn't be talking about moving Devers. If we're lucky and Dalbec continues to reduce his K rate you'd start to think about trading him or maybe using him as a 3B/1B/DH type but that assumes nothing bad happens between now and Dalbec establishing himself as a regular.
 

Byrdbrain

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
8,403
Thanks for the time and effort put in to that.
There is no logjam and there is no reason to consider moving Devers off of 3B any time soon.
He is a perfectly decent defensive player who boots the routine play more often that you would like but he is crazy young and could very easily get better.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

posts 18% useful shit
SoSH Member
Nov 17, 2010
10,729
More on topic.

With respect to the "logjam" at the corners (bolding the guys most frequently discussed). Below is a summary of stuff I've read (I've never seen any of these folks nor would I be able to evaluate)

  • 3B/2B/1B Chavis is a brutal defensive 3b. It's been his weakness as a prospect since he took off as a prospect after a few injury plagued seasons in the low minors. I like him (who wouldn't right now?) and think he profiles as a major league regular but his future is 2B,1B or the OF. Further, while he's mashing now, there are some issues with his whiff rate, etc. I'd rate Devers as likely a better hitter than Chavis and likely a better defensive 3b right now
  • 1B/DH Josh Ockimey is having a really impressive start to 2019. The positives are still there: He's a great worker. He has plus raw power. He draws walks. The trouble is all the negatives remain too: He's a bat only player better suited for DH than 1B. He's a 40 runner. He's lost against left handed pitching. He probably has a major league future as a platoon bat off the bench but yeah... he's probably not a regular and probably won't be threatening the playing time of anyone who is currently on the roster
  • 1B/OF Sam Travis Depth guy at this point. Good approach and decent hit skill but he doesn't hit for any power (he tried to do the launch angle thing but it didn't suit him). Athletic enough to sneak into the OF when needed, but not great there.
  • 3B Dalbec has been described as a 55-60 fielder with a 60 arm. He's probably a better fielder than Devers. The offensive signs are encouraging this season with his K rate plunging but I also read somewhere that his IFF rate has spiked. This could just the bumps that come with a change in approach and will eventually smooth out, or it could be a feature. Regardless, from an offensive perspective Dalbec probably has more raw power than Devers but his hit skill will probably always be way behind. He is also older than Devers as others have pointed out.
  • 1B Pedro Castellanos looks the part and allegedly hits tape measure home runs all batting practice but is a slightly above average contact only guy in games. He's worth tracking because of all that raw power, but unless he starts tapping into that power, he doesn't profile as a big leaguer
  • 1B/3B Tristen Casas is massive, but allegedly moves better than you'd think at 3B. I've seen people throw a 60 on his arm as well. He's off to a really impressive start in Greenville this season hitting roughly 35% better than league average as a 19 year old. His K rate is slightly elevated, but a lot of that is driven by a his April where he whiffed around 35% of the time. For the season it's around 25% now. He's so big it is unlikely that he will remain at 3B as he fills out, but then again we said the same thing about Xander and Devers early in their development. He's an exciting prospect who will make a bunch of top 100s next year as long as he continues his current pace.
  • 3B Brandon Howlett is said to profile to an average 3b. He broke out in a big way in 2018 after the draft, crushing rookie ball. So far in 2019 he's holding his own (103 wRC+) but he's whiffing 30% of the time (which was a concern when he was drafted). He's only 19 though.
  • 3B Nick Northcut is another 2018 draftee who didn't make it to full season ball out of camp. That's actually more the norm than an exception, as he also is only 19 years of age. Plus raw power. Raw approach to the plate. Impressive defensive fundamentals but not overly athletic.
  • 3B/1B Danny Diaz is another massive teenager. Like Casas he features really impressive raw power and moves really well for a kid his size (6'4 240). He's only 18 and will debut in short season ball. He was signed in the same class as the fantastic Catching prospect Daniel Flores who tragically died of cancer less than a year after signing.

Okay so that's a lot of words but does it mean:

1b/3b are indeed positions of depth for Boston. But that doesn't mean we have a coming log jam on our hands. Boston lucked out in that Chavis took to 2B well, because he probably wasn't a 3B.

Of all that talent in the minors + Chavis I'd argue we currently have:

1 player who currently profiles as a major league regular (Chavis)
1 player who currently profiles as a second division regular but has some really loud tools in Dalbec.
1 player who currently profiles as a bench bat (Ock)
1 Org guy (Travis)
A bunch of lottery tickets (I think Casas has a higher hit percentage that anyone else on that list but he's still got a lot of time).

We shouldn't be talking about moving Devers. If we're lucky and Dalbec continues to reduce his K rate you'd start to think about trading him or maybe using him as a 3B/1B/DH type but that assumes nothing bad happens between now and Dalbec establishing himself as a regular.
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
 

bosox79

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
10,334
If Devers remains a butcher in the field over the next couple of season, he has to be moved to DH, right? Do we have confidence he'll be a better 1B or is it just the position where his poor defense will have the least impact?
I think Devers would be an average to above average 1b and that's he's merely below average at 3b, not a butcher. I think he's much better than Chavis at 3b. I always thought Chavis profiled better at 2b and he's proving me right so far. From what I've seen of Dalbec, his glove is considerably better than both at 3b.


Re Ockimey: He's definitely going to be protected this off season. 116 PA vs R this year: .302/.483/.765 28bb/28k. I have a feeling he'll put together some Brandon Moss type seasons, but not for us.

Re Dalbec: 2018: 32.4% K rate, 12.2% BB rate. 2019: 23.8% K rate, 16.1% BB rate.
 
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