FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Mitch Moreland saw locker mate Rafael Devers struggling early last season and wanted to do something to help. Unfortunately, there was a language barrier, because Devers speaks Spanish and Moreland speaks what he calls "Mississippi."
But he knew one man who could make a difference -- future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre.
The two played together in Texas on opposite corners of the diamond, and Moreland figured the Gold Glove third baseman could provide some guidance for Devers, who boasts similar superstar potential.
"I was like, man, I happen to know the greatest third baseman whoever came out of the Dominican Republic, I'm sure this guy knows Adrian, probably looks up to him, a role model to Raff," Moreland explained on Friday. "I was like, you want to talk to Adrian? He goes, think he would? I was like, yeah. I texted and called Adrian and he was like, man, please, give him my number, get us in contact, and they talked a few times. Adrian, I think checked on him. Adrian is that type of guy. I mean, first-class, professional teammate. I still talk to him today for stuff I have to deal with.
"I can't think of a better person for Raff to be in contact with to help him through the struggles, through the highs and the lows as far as that goes."
Devers and Beltre ending up talking once or twice a month for the rest of the season. Devers, at 22, put Beltre's advice to good use, finishing a breakout campaign with a league-leading 54 doubles and 359 total bases, batting .311 with 32 homers, 115 RBI, and a .916 OPS.
"Raff, he's going to be a special player for a long time, so if he can learn a little something from Adrian to help him, great," Moreland said. "I thought that would be a good one to know, a good one to talk to. That's kind of what happened and the reason I got them in contact or even got it started."