Dynasty Baseball

2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week: Rafael Devers

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Welcome to the first iteration of the 2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the week series! In this series, I will be going through players who you should want on your dynasty roster! This week we get to talk about none other than 2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week, Rafael Devers.

Before we Dive in I would like to formally introduce myself! I am Nick and I have been a diehard Red Sox fan for my whole life (27 years). My claim to fame is I look like Joe Kelly; I have claimed this doppelgänger status twice cc: Tyler Wade and frowny face at Astros. Other than that  I am just like you a dynasty baseball crazed human being.

If there is any player you would like to see me dive into please comment or tweet at me @nzaniboni93. So without further adieu here is my (totally unbiased I promise) first Dynasty Player Of the week!

2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week: Rafael Devers

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The Breakout

This week we will be discussing a favorite of mine, Rafael Devers. It’s hard to believe that Devers is already approaching the 400 game mark going into his age 24 season.

In 2019 Devers ended up being an absolute fantasy stud mashing 32 homers while slashing .311/.361/.555. In his great 2019 season, Devers led the league in balls batted over 95mph. He hit that mark 252 times.

The 2020 season was full of expectations for Devers and he was primed to be spoken about with the upper echelon of third basemen alongside Arenado, Ramirez, and Rendon.

What Happened

Although plagued by a shortened season and a slow start, it was tough for Devers to deliver on the expectations. But why?

Remember when I said this was going to be unbiased? Well, forget that for the next two sentences. The Red Sox Traded their best player Mookie Betts. The Red Sox did not want to play their best player.

Now that that’s out of the way, the Sox traded Mookie. This left a gaping hole in not only the hearts of Red Sox nation but also the lineup.

Another member of the lineup that was so great in 2018/2019 was JD Martinez. JD, however, had an abysmal 2020 season, slashing a rough .213/.291/389. The whole lineup was in disarray; it was not just Devers struggling.

Others believe that the “book” was out on Devers. The book was called “fastballs” don’t expect to see it at your local bookstore. Devers was peppered with fastballs in 2020, with 60% of the pitches he saw being heaters.

Despite his early struggles, Devers power ultimately saved his 2020 season from being a complete dud. He finished with 11 homers and driving in 43 runs while slashing .263/.310/.483.

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2021 and Beyond

Now brings the question where does Devers fall within the 2021 season and beyond? Is he the 30+ homer guy batting .300 or closer to 25 homers and batting .250?

During the 2020 shortened season, Devers was 8th in average exit velocity and had just 72 over the 95mph mark. These lower numbers can easily be attributed to his disaster of a start of the 2020 season. So let’s look at what has changed since last season for Devers.

2021 brings Alex Cora‘s return. This should be not understated when talking about the improvement of Devers. Devers and Cora have a well-documented player and coach relationship.

In Devers first year of regular action in 2018, he was having trouble laying off pitches outside of the zone. Cora thought it would be a good idea to bribe Devers. Every pitch Devers swung at outside of the zone, he would pay Cora a sum of money, And or every walk Devers took and every oppo homer Cora would give Devers a gift card to nonother than Chipotle.

Burritos aside, The bottom line is Devers can hit the seams off of the ball. Our very own Dave Eddy has Devers ranked No. 18 in his dynasty rankings. I expect Devers to live up to the ranking and possibly exceed it. I also predict that Devers will be ranked in the top ten next season and will be eating a lot of burritos for the years to come. 

Projections

2021

HR:35 RBI:102 R:90 AVG:.285 OBP:.336 SLG:.515

Beyond

I believe that Devers will be in the tier of top three to five fantasy third basemen for years to come. The Sox should be addressing their lineup within the next year and Devers will be a mainstay in the middle of that lineup for the foreseeable future.


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