MLB: The most valued third baseman of 2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros throws out Anthony Rendon (not pictured) of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros throws out Anthony Rendon (not pictured) of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

MLB: The most valued third baseman of 2019

5. Rafael Devers, Red Sox, $7.631 million value; $615,000 salary

So many Boston players earned such exorbitant salaries while delivering so many sub-par performances last season that it may be easy to overlook the two or three who actually contributed serious value.

Despite the team’s mediocre 84-78 third-place finish, the left side of Boston’s infield – Devers and shortstop Xander Bogaerts – ranked among the best at their positions.

In his age 22 season, Devers batted .311 in 156 games with 90 extra-base hits and 115 RBIs, so you could rule him out as part of the problem. His 133 OPS+ set him apart, and his .555 slugging percentage ranked sixth among all third basemen. It was worth more than $4.7 million.

At .361, his on-base average would not be described as elite. Still, it was the position’s ninth-best, 20 percentage points above the positional average.

If Devers needed work anywhere, it was with the glove. He misplayed 22 of his 431 chances, a .949 fielding percentage that stood just 29th among the 33 third basemen and valued out to only $656,000.

But Devers made up for that shortcoming with effort. He was on the field for 1,355 innings the second-largest total of any third baseman, creating a final $852,000 in value. In tandem with his other numbers, that was enough to slot him comfortably among the game’s five best at his position in 2019.