Rafael Devers isn't just assaulting opposing pitchers — he's got a chance to do some serious damage to the Red Sox record books.
The young slugger continued his torrid play with four more hits, including two doubles and a homer, in Sunday's 13-6 bludgeoning of the woebegone Orioles. It continued a stretch that has seen Devers hit .541 with eight doubles and four homers in his last eight games. He has 20 hits in that span, which is more than Jackie Bradley has managed in every month this season except June.
With Devers on fire, and only 36 games remaining (plus whatever comes of Thursday's suspended conclusion vs. the Royals), his potential place in history is coming into focus.
And while some pretty magical numbers are likely to remain just out of reach, the fact that he's got even an outside shot at reaching them is astounding, especially considering that he didn't even hit his first homer or drive in his 11th run until May 3.
What are those numbers, you ask? Here are four categories where Devers could legitimately land in the top two in franchise history if he stays hot through Game 162. We'll provide two projections. The first is based off his season numbers (.332-27-101) and the second is if we simply extrapolate based on what he has done since May 3 (.343-27-91).
406 — Ask Red Sox fans the significance of this number, and they'll wonder why we dropped the decimal point. Yes, it's Ted Williams' average from the 1941 season, when he became baseball's last .400 hitter.
But it's also Jim Rice's total bases in his MVP 1978 season, which remains not only a franchise record, but one of the top 21 marks in baseball history. At his season-long pace, Devers will finish with 387, which would be good for third on the franchise list, trailing Jimmie Foxx's 398 in 1938.
If we assume Devers continues his post-May pace, however, then suddenly things get interesting. He projects to finish with 403 total bases, which would leave him just two doubles away from surpassing Jim Ed.
And speaking of doubles . . .
67 — Earl Webb's career would be largely forgotten except for one crazy outlier season when he should've been well past his prime. At age 33 in 1931, Webb delivered by far the greatest season of an otherwise journeyman career, setting an MLB record that stands to this day with 67 doubles.
No player has reached 60 doubles since Hall of Famers Charlie Gehringer and Joe Medwick each turned the trick in 1936, but if Devers keeps hitting like he has since early May, he'll finish at 61, which would be the sixth-highest total ever. Even at his overall pace, he's still looking at 59, a number last reached by Todd Helton in 2000.
That would put him second on the all-time Red Sox list, surpassing Nomar Garciaparra's 56 two-baggers in 2002.
92 — If we're talking total bases and doubles, then it only follows that Devers should be on pace for a serious number of extra-base hits, and this is one franchise record that could legitimately fall. The aforementioned Foxx set the mark in 1938 with 92 on 50 homers, 33 doubles, and nine triples.
Devers looks poised to smash that standard by either measure, projecting to 98 or 103, respectively. Only 15 players have reached 100 extra-base hits in a season, none since 2001.
240 — Even if Devers remains molten hot, he will not approach Wade Boggs' franchise record for hits. He could, however, challenge Tris Speaker for the second spot. Devers currently leads the AL with 167 hits, which projects to 216 over a full season, or 220 if he maintains his post-May 3 pace.
Speaker's 222 hits in 1912 is second all-time, followed by 214 from Mookie Betts in 2016 and Boggs in 1988.
Considering that Devers is only 22, we should get used to this, because if he stays healthy, these certainly won't be the first records to fall.
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