Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers delivering in sophomore campaign

Third baseman Rafael Devers is just one of the many reasons the Boston Red Sox are off to a sizzling start in 2018.

Win dance repeat has become a pretty common theme for the Boston Red Sox in the first month of 2018.

The starting pitchers are firing on all cylinders. Mookie Betts is tearing the cover off the ball and even the much-scrutinized Hanley Ramirez has found his hitting stroke again.

Meanwhile, second-year third baseman Rafael Devers continues to quietly go about his business. All he’s done through the season’s first 19 games is lead the team in RBI’s (17), hit .297 and also deliver one of Boston’s five grand slams.

That’s five more grand slams than the Red Sox hit in all of 2017. And, for the sake of a bit of perspective, Boston has more grand slams this season than three teams have wins.

Devers’ grand slam against the Los Angeles Angels was his third home run of the season. He’s also knocked six doubles while playing in all but one of Boston’s games.

Devers has hit safely in the last five games and has collected seven multi-hit games so far in 2018.

A drop-off can sometimes be expected for a second-year player as teams get more of a scouting report. Devers rocketed through the Boston Red Sox minor league system. He has carried the same consistency throughout his 76-game major league career, earning praise from a variety of corners along the way.

The season is still young — and hiccups likely to occur — but for Devers and the Red Sox, this is exactly the start needed.

Jackie Bradley Jr. heating up

Along with Devers, there is another player heating up at the plate.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has mostly been known as a defensive stalwart during his time in Boston. Outside an outstanding 2016 all-star season, Bradley has been a hot and cold outfit at the plate.

The temperature meter for Bradley has recently been flipped from cold to warm.

Over the past nine games, the outfielder is hitting .323 with 2 three-hit games. On the west coast swing, Bradley hit his first two home runs of the season. He also has five of his six RBI’s out west.

Bradley has raised his average 100 points (.133 to .233) and has not struck out in his past five games.

The Red Sox are hitting well from the top of the lineup to the bottom, much like they did in 2016. If Boston continues to do this, they are going to be a tough team to contend with. Considering how well the pitchers are also tossing the ball, right now we’re seeing a perfect storm of productivity from the Boston Red Sox.

And Dustin Pedroia hasn’t even played a game yet.

It’s still a week from the calendar turning to May so there’s still a lot of baseball left. But the team, the organization, and the fans should enjoy this start.

Here’s hoping Devers and the rest of us follow the advice of manager Alex Cora. “Stay humble. Stay hungry.”