Rafael Devers: post extension performance

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I've had very limited personal exposure to pro athletes, but from what I've seen they are VERY competitive people. A couple of cases in point: I went to the Red Sox fantasy camp a few years ago, and former major leaguers served as managers and coaches for the camp teams. As you can probably imagine there was a wide range of talent and fitness levels amongst the campers. There were some relatively young guys who could still play well and there were some older guys who were just happy to DH and then just sit on the bench and catch some rays. In my first camp game my team had a 10-0 lead after 3 innings, but then we changed pitchers, and the other team began catching up, but we still had the lead going into the last inning. Our manager told one last guy he was pitching the last inning, and this guy immediately started talking mega trash, to the point where he was getting funny looks on our bench. Needless to say, this guy couldn't throw a strike or even get anyone out and we ended up losing. As soon as this guy got back to the dugout our manager pulled him aside and gave him a thorough ass chewing. Never mind that we actually paid to be there, he was really PISSED at the guy. A few days later we were on the other end of a rally. We were losing big but started to rally. One of the camp rules was very a liberal use of pinch runners. Anyone could be run for at any time, and you could run for the batter once contact was made. The umpire would draw a line in the stand and the runner would have to stand behind it and he could run to first once contact was made. Now this was toward the end of the week and lots of guys were coming up somewhat lame, and only the guys who were really in shape could still run fast. We had about four guys like that, and we were doing all the running, and we scored the winning run in the bottom of the last inning. In the clubhouse afterwards I went to see one of my teammates. The Pro's lockers were interspersed with ours, and the losing manager's locker from that game was close to my buddies. My buddy wasn't there, but the pro was. He was really PISSED too. He actually asked me "How many f*****n pinch runners do you guys have. You only had your fastest guys running those last few innings". Now mind you the camp itself was a glorified beer league, so I asked my manager, who was a really good guy, if the pro's had a bet or some kind of pool concerning the league. He told me no, that's just the way they are, very competitive by nature.
Fantastic story, but there may be some selection bias at work here given that the pro ballers at the camp are by definition people who are choosing to continue playing baseball after retiring which may give you a higher likelihood of running into players who intrinsically love the game. The kind of player who gets a big contract and loses some motivation isn't likely to opt in to playing at a fantasy camp after retirement.

That said, my impression is that generally pro ballers are really competitive folks but I have no doubt there are occasional exceptions. There have been enough players over the years that sign huge contracts and then immediately fall off in production that I have to wonder if loss of motivation/distraction is a culprit in at least a few of the cases. I don't want to call out anybody in specific as I don't know any of these guys personally and thus have no basis to speculate on any individual case.
 

simplicio

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Really curious about what precipitated that massive drop in sweet spot% this year.
 

sambamcunningham22

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Obviously it was a mistake of epic proportions to give the big $ to Rafi instead of Betts.
Raffi is not 1/10th the player Betts is

Penny wise pound foolish approach by Bloom/Henry has set the franchise back by a decade

He was never a 300 million dollar player who could anchor a franchise like Harper or Betts.

They overpaid him to appease restless fan base for ridiculous Betts decision.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Obviously it was a mistake of epic proportions to give the big $ to Rafi instead of Betts.
Raffi is not 1/10th the player Betts is

Penny wise pound foolish approach by Bloom/Henry has set the franchise back by a decade
It wasn't a binary choice, especially considering the two contracts were signed THREE YEARS APART. I guarantee that if Betts would have signed the Devers contract back in December 2019, Betts would still be here. But that's not how this works.
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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Obviously it was a mistake of epic proportions to give the big $ to Rafi instead of Betts.
Raffi is not 1/10th the player Betts is

Penny wise pound foolish approach by Bloom/Henry has set the franchise back by a decade

He was never a 300 million dollar player who could anchor a franchise like Harper or Betts.

They overpaid him to appease restless fan base for ridiculous Betts decision.
Uh, yeah, not remotely comparable.
 

richgedman'sghost

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I like the way you think. Would it be asking too much to add defense to the end of that?
The funny thing is Devers can play good defense sometimes. In the KC series, he made two almost identical plays that showed remarkable range. I think it was in the Saturday game where he went about 200 feet down the left field line to catch a foul ball. In the Sunday game, Rafael did almost the same thing going far into left field to make an over the shoulder catch. I'm not sure what the catch probability of each play was, but it couldn't be high. After each play I smiled as I thought about this thread and how Rafael's defense and range have been criticized. LOL Remarkably no one brought up those 2 plays. Maybe Rafel's strong suit is making over the shoulder catches. How about converting him to be a tight end for the Pats?
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Better than Yoshida (.194 with 2 HR and 4 RBI). Or Wong, who is .114 with 1 HR and 3 RBI.

I suspect he’s trying to do too much, pressing and trying to justify the money he’s making.
 
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shaggydog2000

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According to Fangraphs numbers for high leverage situations, Rafael Devers has an 105 WRC+ in those situations. The MLB average for WRC+ has varied between 91 and 99 over his career. So Raffy is clutch!

His first two years Raffy had a WRC+ of 88 and 89 in high leverage situations. So he's mildly not clutch!

Then he had two years at 68 and 67. Horribly unclutch! Trade him for a bag of beans!

Then he had high leverage WRC+ of 156 and 157 in 2021 and 202. Superclutch, all is forgiven, whatever you want for an extension, it's worth it!

This year he has a WRC+ of 74 in high leverage situations. Lazy slob not trying to be clutch now that he has an extension!

Guess what, he's actually the same dude he was all along. In total he has 274 AB in high leverage situations. That's not even a half season for him. Some years he had only 19 or 23 ABs in those situations. It's all random variation, don't worry about it. Or make up baseless narratives to help it feel like it makes sense.
 

Adirondack jack

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The funny thing is Devers can play good defense sometimes. In the KC series, he made two almost identical plays that showed remarkable range. I think it was in the Saturday game where he went about 200 feet down the left field line to catch a foul ball. In the Sunday game, Rafael did almost the same thing going far into left field to make an over the shoulder catch. I'm not sure what the catch probability of each play was, but it couldn't be high. After each play I smiled as I thought about this thread and how Rafael's defense and range have been criticized. LOL Remarkably no one brought up those 2 plays. Maybe Rafel's strong suit is making over the shoulder catches. How about converting him to be a tight end for the Pats?
It seems to me that Devers has always had the knack to making the low probability athletic and reactive plays at 3rd. The knocks on his defense always have come from the poor execution of routine and perhaps judgment-type plays. For whatever it's worth. It typically nets out to a below average third baseman but sometimes he'll sneak in a nice play if you pay attention.

Tonights game Devers made a nice ranging play (weak chopper to short) and made the right call to start the run-down. It was still a big spot, too. It didn't work out but it seemed like a nice play by him that doesnt get recognized. The other night Raffy ran the bases like Henderson in a big spot. Perhaps his play hasn't come easy for him this year, but he continues to play hard and is fun to watch.
 

8slim

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Well we certainly know that if there's one thing that's predictive for future results, it's a guy's batting average in a limited amount of "close and late" at bats.

Raffy is fine.
 

Fishy1

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Well we certainly know that if there's one thing that's predictive for future results, it's a guy's batting average in a limited amount of "close and late" at bats.

Raffy is fine.
Yeah, feels pretty silly to be talking about "clutch" stats in this the year of our Lord, 2023.

Devers will almost certainly be back to himself next year with a little bit of BABIP luck. I still think I would have rather paid someone else, but I'm coming around to the idea that they didn't have much of a choice. I hope his defense goes back to being league-average. I also hope in his late 20's his plate approach matures a little. A Raffy who walks 10 or 11% of the time would go a long way toward extending the lineup, but I'm happy with the current version of the player.
 

8slim

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Yeah, feels pretty silly to be talking about "clutch" stats in this the year of our Lord, 2023.

Devers will almost certainly be back to himself next year with a little bit of BABIP luck. I still think I would have rather paid someone else, but I'm coming around to the idea that they didn't have much of a choice. I hope his defense goes back to being league-average. I also hope in his late 20's his plate approach matures a little. A Raffy who walks 10 or 11% of the time would go a long way toward extending the lineup, but I'm happy with the current version of the player.
In a much different world that money went to Mookie. But we don't live in that world and the Sox cornered themselves into paying Devers. I love watching the guy hit, and I'm hoping he can get his D to be just below average. I don't care if the last 2-3 years on his deal don't end up being good value. We're paying for the next 7-8 years, which should be very very good.
 

shaggydog2000

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In a much different world that money went to Mookie. But we don't live in that world and the Sox cornered themselves into paying Devers. I love watching the guy hit, and I'm hoping he can get his D to be just below average. I don't care if the last 2-3 years on his deal don't end up being good value. We're paying for the next 7-8 years, which should be very very good.
And that is why they paid so much for Devers, because they should only have the last 2-3 years at negative value, because the contract runs from his age 26 to 36 seasons. Maybe other guys will be productive players at an older age than him, although I would debate that, but if you sign a 31 year old to the same contract you will be eating 5-6 years of negative value on that 10 year contract. It's why he's worth more comparatively.
 

grimshaw

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Yeah, feels pretty silly to be talking about "clutch" stats in this the year of our Lord, 2023.
I still think I would have rather paid someone else, but I'm coming around to the idea that they didn't have much of a choice.
Kind of where I'm at. Someone was getting paid because this is the game now, though I don't know if he gets the same deal if he were a free agent this offseason instead.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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As someone that often disagrees with Bloom's decisions and how he spends the money allocated to the team, I feel it's important for the sake of being consistent to say that I think he did the absolute right thing signing Devers to the deal he did in the off-season, and in a hypothetical world where they hadn't agreed to terms on it then, but were to agree to the exact same deal today, I'd want Bloom to do it and applaud him for doing it.

They absolutely need (needed) core pieces for the 2024-2030 window (or whenever one wants to say the window is going to be).

Offensively, I'm very pleased that we have Devers and Casas anchoring the line up for the next half decade. They need a RH core bat to compliment them, but I feel very good about those two.

When someone is having a "bad year" and they're still going to give you 30hr, 100rbi (yes, I still think it's important to drive in guys that are on base when you come up) and post a 125 OPS+, this is someone you build around.

I'm glad Bloom gave him the contract, I'd still want him to do it today, and I'm glad Devers is here.
 
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8slim

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As someone that often disagrees with Bloom's decisions and how he spends the money allocated to the team, I feel it's important for the sake of being consistent to say that I think he did the absolute right thing signing Devers to the deal he did in the off-season, and in a hypothetical world where they hadn't agreed to terms on it then, but were to agree to the exact same deal today, I'd want Bloom to do it and applaud him for doing it.

They absolutely need (needed) core pieces for the 2024-2030 window (or whenever one wants to say the window is going to be).

Offensively, I'm very pleased that we have Devers and Casas anchoring the line up for the next half decade. They need a RH core bat to compliment them, but I feel very good about those two.

When someone is having a "bad year" and they're still going to give you 30hr, 100rbi (yes, I still think it's important to drive in guys that are on base when you come up) and post a 125 OPS+, this is someone you build around.

I'm glad Bloom gave him the contract, I'd still want him to do it today, and I'm glad Devers is here.
Agree completely.
 

chawson

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Devers is great and there really isn’t any skill decline under the hood.

And maybe there’s reason for optimism defensively too.

Devers Outs Above Average at 3B, 2023
April +2
May -2
June -2
July -6
August 0
September +1

Could be meaningless, but April, August and September are the months Devers mostly played alongside good defensive shortstops.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Devers is great and there really isn’t any skill decline under the hood.

And maybe there’s reason for optimism defensively too.

Devers Outs Above Average at 3B, 2023
April +2
May -2
June -2
July -6
August 0
September +1

Could be meaningless, but April, August and September are the months Devers mostly played alongside good defensive shortstops.
I'm generally optimistic that Devers can be net neutral defensively with more work, but the July number runs counter to your hypothesis. Yu Chang started at SS in 15 of 23 games in July. Assuming he's your "good" shortstop from April when he only started 10 of 29 games compared to Kike starting 15, it stands to reason he's still a "good" shortstop in July. There doesn't seem to be much correlation between how well Devers is performing defensively and who's playing next to him.
 

curly2

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As someone that often disagrees with Bloom's decisions and how he spends the money allocated to the team, I feel it's important for the sake of being consistent to say that I think he did the absolute right thing signing Devers to the deal he did in the off-season, and in a hypothetical world where they hadn't agreed to terms on it then, but were to agree to the exact same deal today, I'd want Bloom to do it and applaud him for doing it.
I just wish Bloom had been more aggressive in trying to get a deal done earlier. I would have loved to have seen Chaim make that his second major task (his first was the Mookie trade that was probably an ownership directive) after he was hired in 2020.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I just wish Bloom had been more aggressive in trying to get a deal done earlier. I would have loved to have seen Chaim make that his second major task (his first was the Mookie trade that was probably an ownership directive) after he was hired in 2020.
Trouble with that timeline is the desired result of the Mookie trade (getting under the tax threshold by dumping Price) would have likely been negated by a Devers extension as the next action. I think doing it sooner might have saved them a bit of AAV but ultimately I don't think it really makes much of a difference.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I just wish Bloom had been more aggressive in trying to get a deal done earlier. I would have loved to have seen Chaim make that his second major task (his first was the Mookie trade that was probably an ownership directive) after he was hired in 2020.
Totally fair. At least if we're talking after the 20220 "season" because of the need to re-set the tax during that cluster f**k of a year. (@Red(s)HawksFan beat me to it).

But I'm just trying to be fair and spend comparable time applauding Bloom for things I like as I do criticizing things I don't.

Though it would be nice to see the Red Sox try to work something out with Bello and Casas sooner than later in just such a mindset. Probably give each of them one more season, though, before doing that in earnest. Especially since there are much larger holes to fill this off-season (such as a minimum of 2 very good starting pitchers, a right handed core compliment in the line up and something that is MLB caliber in the middle infield chief among them).
 

strek1

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Really curious about what precipitated that massive drop in sweet spot% this year.
IMO it's as simple as swinging too hard. Your chances of contacting the ball at the proper angle go down when you swing from the heels. Works great in slo-pitch softball but not so great for baseballs with high velocity mobvement.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

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IMO it's as simple as swinging too hard. Your chances of contacting the ball at the proper angle go down when you swing from the heels. Works great in slo-pitch softball but not so great for baseballs with high velocity mobvement.
Not to mention his head is usually pulling off the ball when he swings like that. You can't hit it if you can't see it. Maybe he'll mature enough at some point to realize he's an f'in beast anyway and all he needs to do is put a sweet swing on it and the ball will go.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Huh…. His stance is slightly different in ‘23. Front foot is more open to the 1B side than ‘21 and ‘22

edit- and bat is up more, not lower across his back
 

BaseballJones

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Devers has been on fire lately. Season stats:

163 PA, 23 r, 10 2b, 10 hr, 23 rbi, .284/.380/.567/.948, 161 ops+

Last 6 games: 6 hr, 9 rbi, .292/.346/1.042, 1.388 (homers in 6 straight games)

Last 24 games: 8 hr, 18 rbi, .333/.410/.667/1.076

Still just 27 years old. He's gonna mash for years to come.
 

Margo McCready

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Wasn’t age 27 David Ortiz’ breakout 2003 season? Yes, it’s absolutely unfair to throw that expectation on Raffy’s shoulders, but for a guy who’s been around as long as Devers, you forget there’s still a non-zero chance he taps into a next level.
 

BigSoxFan

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Devers has been on fire lately. Season stats:

163 PA, 23 r, 10 2b, 10 hr, 23 rbi, .284/.380/.567/.948, 161 ops+

Last 6 games: 6 hr, 9 rbi, .292/.346/1.042, 1.388 (homers in 6 straight games)

Last 24 games: 8 hr, 18 rbi, .333/.410/.667/1.076

Still just 27 years old. He's gonna mash for years to come.
This is obviously Raffy at his best but it shows the kind of ceiling he has. And he doesn’t have much around him either. Crazy that he’s actually seeing good pitches.
 

tims4wins

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Wasn’t age 27 David Ortiz’ breakout 2003 season? Yes, it’s absolutely unfair to throw that expectation on Raffy’s shoulders, but for a guy who’s been around as long as Devers, you forget there’s still a non-zero chance he taps into a next level.
It was, but Devers had more than twice as many PAs as Ortiz heading into his age 27 season (3600 vs 1700), so it doesn't really seem like an apt comparison. Ortiz was more a function of opportunity than his skill improving.
 

Fishy1

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This is obviously Raffy at his best but it shows the kind of ceiling he has. And he doesn’t have much around him either. Crazy that he’s actually seeing good pitches.
I don't think this is quite right. The offense is horrendous 7-9, but 1-6 have been pretty good. Abreu and Duran are both have a OPS+ around 120, Connor Wong's is still around 150, as is Tyler O'Neill's. There's been plenty of offense from the top of the lineup. Teams have been nibbling with O'Neill, too, and Abreu, for that matter. In fact, O'Neill has more IBB's than Devers this year (4 to 2).

Little Raffy, Reyes, Valdez, Grissom, and the brothers Grimm who've replaced Casas are the ones who've dragged the team performance down.
 

BigSoxFan

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I don't think this is quite right. The offense is horrendous 7-9, but 1-6 have been pretty good. Abreu and Duran are both have a OPS+ around 120, Connor Wong's is still around 150, as is Tyler O'Neill's. There's been plenty of offense from the top of the lineup. Teams have been nibbling with O'Neill, too, and Abreu, for that matter. In fact, O'Neill has more IBB's than Devers this year (4 to 2).

Little Raffy, Reyes, Valdez, Grissom, and the brothers Grimm who've replaced Casas are the ones who've dragged the team performance down.
I think many of those guys are hitting above their weight so I’m discounting their performance a decent amount speaking from a long-term perspective. You’re right that the top has produced a good amount but I would continue to make them hit and not let Raffy kill me, if I’m an opposing team.
 

Fishy1

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It was, but Devers had more than twice as many PAs as Ortiz heading into his age 27 season (3600 vs 1700), so it doesn't really seem like an apt comparison. Ortiz was more a function of opportunity than his skill improving.
Huh? 1700 PA appearances for the Twins is not nothing. In full and semi-full seasons for them his OPS+ was 111, 101, 107, and 120. Fine, above average, but not otherwordly. There's little indication there of the hall of fame hitting talent he would go on to be.

By the end of his career, his career OPS+ is 141. His HR% in particular jumped when he joined the Red Sox, which is definitely a skill. Whether he improved because he made adjustments or because the Sox didn't fuck with his hitting is another matter, but his skill definitely improved.
 

Fishy1

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I think many of those guys are hitting above their weight so I’m discounting their performance a decent amount speaking from a long-term perspective. You’re right that the top has produced a good amount but I would continue to make them hit and not let Raffy kill me, if I’m an opposing team.
Yeah, and that's fair. I just don't think it's all light-weights. I think Duran has shown he can be a OPS+ of 110-120 given the adjustments he's made, Wilyer is projected to end up somewhere around 110, and O'Neill has that and better in him. Wong almost certainly is not going to hit .350 for the year, that we can definitely agree on.

Devers' walk rate has jumped 3%, so maybe he's already seeing fewer pitches to hit. Hard to say without really digging into the numbers. Getting Casas back will be huge for this lineup, regardless.
 

BigSoxFan

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Yeah, and that's fair. I just don't think it's all light-weights. I think Duran has shown he can be a OPS+ of 110-120 given the adjustments he's made, Wilyer is projected to end up somewhere around 110, and O'Neill has that and better in him. Wong almost certainly is not going to hit .350 for the year, that we can definitely agree on.

Devers' walk rate has jumped 3%, so maybe he's already seeing fewer pitches to hit. Hard to say without really digging into the numbers. Getting Casas back will be huge for this lineup, regardless.
Yeah. Frustrating to know what this lineup could be with a healthy Story, Casas, and functioning Grissom. Really need the latter to get it going. Given the SP performance, injuries have really cost this team.
 

tims4wins

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Huh? 1700 PA appearances for the Twins is not nothing. In full and semi-full seasons for them his OPS+ was 111, 101, 107, and 120. Fine, above average, but not otherwordly. There's little indication there of the hall of fame hitting talent he would go on to be.

By the end of his career, his career OPS+ is 141. His HR% in particular jumped when he joined the Red Sox, which is definitely a skill. Whether he improved because he made adjustments or because the Sox didn't fuck with his hitting is another matter, but his skill definitely improved.
The point was more that Ortiz was not really close to fully baked come age 27, whereas I think Raffy more or less is.
 

themactavish

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This is obviously Raffy at his best but it shows the kind of ceiling he has. And he doesn’t have much around him either. Crazy that he’s actually seeing good pitches.
Before this hot streak, he seemed to be swinging at quite a few bad pitches. I chalked it up to being over-anxious and looking to drive bad balls. He's a good "bad ball" hitter, but he's (obviously) a much better "good ball" one. Even so, some of the pitches he's driven out in the past 6 games haven't been fat. It seems to me he's just been more selective.
 

Cassvt2023

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Correct me if i'm wrong, but I don't believe that any of these 6 HR's have been a true pull shot. All have either been right center, center field or opposite field. That is a sign that he is locked in.