Xander Bogaerts on D&K: Rafael Devers ‘has surprised me, honestly’

Nick Friar
August 20, 2019 - 3:10 pm
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Aside from its own struggles, part of the reason the Red Sox starting rotation has been frustrating this season is the offense has been as explosive as ever. While some of the usual suspects have done well, those who’ve taken a step forward have provided the biggest lift. Among them has been third baseman Rafael Devers. As much as he's had success at the MLB level and was a highly-touted prospect in his ascension through Boston’s farm system, this season-long tear was not expected.

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It’s even caught his partner on the left side of the infield, Xander Bogaerts, off-guard. 

“He has surprised me, honestly,” Bogaerts said on Dale & Keefe as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon. “I remember when he was in the minor leagues, people would talk about (him) — I never saw him in person or played with him in the minors, but you (would) always hear about him. Then once he got to the big leagues, his first year he played so good. Last year, obviously, he had a lot of ups and downs. He was hurt a couple times, so it was just a very inconsistent season for him. In the playoffs he did great. But I think all the work that he did in the offseason — that’s the only thing I try to remind him (of). All the work that he did in the offseason this year, hiring a special trainer, all this and that.

"The first couple games, I think it was first 30 games, I don’t think he had a homer or anything like that, and I would just keep reminding him, ‘Hey, all the hard work you did in the offseason, it will pay off in the end.’ Obviously, I didn’t think it would be like this. But I think we’ll all take that. But I did believe that all the work he did in the offseason would have paid out for him. … Man, it’s been a phenomenal season for him.”

Now, with the talk of baseballs possibly being juiced, there’s reason to wonder whether or not Devers’ success can carry over into next season and years to come. Especially with some of the difficult pitches he’s launching to the opposite field. But Bogaerts still believes Devers will continue to thrive at the plate.

In fact, Bogaerts doesn’t think the balls being juiced or not has an impact on Devers at this stage.

“Maybe other guys like me and then whoever else, but for him, it’s just the way he hits it so hard,” Bogaerts said. “It’s kind of like J.D. (Martinez) last year. I was hitting behind him a lot. I was hitting fifth, he was hitting fourth, so I kind of heard the sound off the bat very differently from J.D. pretty much the whole year, last year. And this year, since I’ve been in the third spot and Devers (has) been in the second spot, I’ve been hearing it off of Devers. And it’s actually been a bit louder, but it’s just so similar to J.D’s last year. I’m not hitting behind J.D. lately, so I don't know how it is with him, but Devers just hits the ball so hard. And sometimes he takes these hard swings and I’m like, I don’t know if my back could hold up if I swing like that.”