Red Sox’ Rafael Devers named finalist for Hank Aaron Award

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has been named a finalist for the 2022 Hank Aaron Award, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.

Since 1999, the Hank Aaron Award has been presented to the player voted as the most outstanding regular-season offensive performer from each league. There are 16 finalists in total.

From the American League, Devers will be joined on ballots by the likes of Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, Houston’s Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez, Los Angeles’ Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, New York’s Aaron Judge, and Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez.

National League nominees include Atlanta’s Austin Riley, Los Angeles’ Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, New York’s Pete Alonso, Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber, St. Louis’ Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, and San Diego’s Manny Machado.

The winners from each league will be determined by a combination of fan votes and the votes from a panel made up of Hall of Famers like Ken Griffey Jr., Chipper Jones, Pedro Martínez, John Smoltz, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Eddie Murray and Robin Yount.

Voting began on Monday and runs through October 24. Fans can vote for who they believe should receive the award from each league by heading over to MLB.com/aaron.

Devers will be looking to become the fifth Red Sox player to win the Hank Aaron Award since its inception 23 years ago. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz went back-to-back in 2004 and 2005. Kevin Youkilis took home the award in 2008 before Ortiz did so again in 2016. J.D. Martinez won it after becoming the first player to collect two Silver Slugger Awards in the same season in 2018.

In 141 games for the Red Sox this season, Devers batted .295/.358/.521 with 42 doubles, one triple, 27 home runs, 88 RBIs, 84 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 114 strikeouts over 614 plate appearances. The left-handed hitter earned his second straight All-Star selection, but he was hampered by a right hamstring injury during the second half that resulted in his production taking a dip.

Still, among qualified American League hitters, Devers ranked fourth in doubles, tied for third in extra-base hits (70), fourth in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS (.879), seventh in isolated power (.225), and eighth in wRC+ (140), per FanGraphs.

Devers, who turns 25 next week, can become eligible for free agency after the 2023 season. He is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $16.9 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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