Excitement is building for the imminent arrival of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees for the first-ever MLB game in London. Here is the Bat Flips and Nerds London Series player preview for the players we are likely to see at the hot corner.
- Team: Boston Red Sox
- Height: 183cm (6’ 0”)
- Age: 22
- Bats: Left-handed
- From: Dominican Republic
- 2019 salary: $0.61 million (pre-arbitration eligible)
2019 is Rafael Devers’ third campaign in the big leagues. Amazingly, the left-hander is still only 22 years old. Only four hitters (Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Ronald Acuna Jr.) are yet to reach their 22nd birthday.
Devers signed with the Red Sox as a 16-year-old and is under team-control for a further four seasons after this one.
The young left-hander hit 21 homers with 66 RBI last season, but despite the Red Sox dominance as an offensive force, they languished among the bottom four teams in production from third base.
But if 2018 was a disappointment for Devers, his emphatic start to this season has eclipsed it. The AL Player of the Month for May is already just 13 runs shy of his total for the whole of 2018.
Not only has Devers swung a hot bat, but his defence has improved. Don’t be surprised if Devers is in consideration for AL MVP, keeping the title within the Red Sox roster for a second year.
- Team: New York Yankees
- Height: 183cm (6’ 0”)
- Age: 27
- Bats: Right-handed
- From: Colombia
- 2019 salary: $0.55 million (pre-arbitration eligible)
In 2015, the Cleveland Indians had two soft-hitting infielders on their roster. Despite their defensive prowess, neither Gio Urshela or Jose Ramirez looked capable of taking the next step. The following year Urshela languished in the minors while Ramirez became one of the best hitters in the game.
The Colombian moved from Cleveland to Toronto and then on to New York for cash considerations. Just two days after acquiring Luke Voit in August 2018, the Yankees secured the services of another underappreciated player who would thrive in pinstripes.
Urshela’s glove has never been in question, but now he is backing it up with a career year with the bat, hitting .327 (.833 OPS).
Preseason, it looked like last year’s Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andújar would again dominant playing time at the hot corner, which is one of the reasons why the Yankees decided against pursuing Manny Machado. In 2018, the rookie led the team in hits (170), doubles (47) and batting average (.298).
In the third game of this season, Andújar injured his shoulder diving back to third base. After a month on the injured list and an unsuccessful return, the pain became too unbearable that he opted for season-ending surgery.
With Didi Gregorius returning to the lineup which gives the Yankees a surplus of infielders, Urshela is expected to retain the third baseman job, just with him seeing a few extra rest days.
Watch out for the rest of our player profiles and make sure you follow @BatFlips_Nerds on Twitter to keep up-to-date with all of the latest London Series news.