July 23, 2017

Rafael Devers Called Up To Red Sox, Will Join Team In Seattle

Rafael Devers is a 20-year-old third baseman and the Red Sox's #1 prospect. He was very recently promoted (on July 14) from Portland (AA) to Pawtucket (AAA). After only nine games with the PawSox, Devers is packing his bags once again.

He will join the Red Sox in Seattle tomorrow and make his first major league start on Tuesday night (facing Felix Hernandez). Jason Mastrodonato of the Herald tweeted: "Devers will hit at the bottom of the order to start. Farrell indicates platoon with Marrero, who has been exceptional vs lefties."

Devers, a left-handed batter, hit .324/.378/.529 with two home runs and four RBIs for Pawtucket. He also made four errors at third. (In 77 games with Portland earlier this year, Devers hit .300/.369/.575.) Devers will not turn 21 until the end of October, and will be the youngest position player in the majors (Luis Torrens of the Padres is almost six months older.) SoSHer grimshaw notes: "[Devers] would be still be the 7th youngest position player in AA."

Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations:
We've been constantly keeping track of him as far as his performance. We moved him to Triple-A to get a pulse of how he would handle that on the field, first of all, which he's handled it very well. Secondly, from a mental perspective, and our people just say that he continues to handle the challenges that are given to him. Our biggest concern with him has been that if we brought him up and he struggles, like a lot of guys do, how would he handle it? And our people feel that he would handle it well at this point. They said that he's ready to tackle that next step.
Dombrowski added that a lack of appealing third-base trade candidates played a part in his decision:
Our people said, "Well, why would you try that [trade]? Why don't you try him?" He's in a position. We think he can do it. The request for some of the guys that would be minimally better for us have been very large, and so we think that he gives us as good a chance as anybody we've had a chance to acquire -- for third base.
More Dombrowski:
I have been on the phone probably as much on him as I have been on any player maybe in my career. On a daily basis, just talking to people to see how he's handling it. ... He thinks he's ready to handle it, so we figure we'll give him the challenge.
Jen McCaffrey of the Springfield Republican/MassLive tweeted: "[Rick] Porcello said he faced Devers six times in spring training. Called him a pain in the ass to face. 'I love his swing and everything he does.'"

Devers is #3 in Keith Law's midseason rankings of baseball's Top 50 prospects. MLBPipeline rates him as the #12 prospect in the game.

Hit: Fluid, easy swing. Natural hitter. Strong, quick wrists. ... Easy plus bat speed and an advanced approach for his age. Solid swing mechanics and separation in stride. Very controlled for someone with his bat speed and ability to drive the baseball. Able to recognize spin, and has decent knowledge of the strike zone. Can let the ball get deep on the outer half and still have the strength to drive it the other way.

Power: Plus-to-better power potential (30 home runs). Present strength allows him to drive the ball to all fields. Will still get stronger. ... Displayed precocious power to all fields even during his professional debut.

Arm: Plus arm strength that can play at third base. Footwork has greatly improved since he signed, but still can get a bit sloppy at times. Has the arm strength to make all the throws both deep behind the base and charging while on the run.

Field: Has soft hands and his footwork is surprisingly good given his build. Comfortable charging the ball and making smooth transfers from glove to throwing hand. Agile for his size and has average range. Projects as at least an average defender at third base. Should be able to stick at the position long-term unless his body gets away from him as he matures. ...

Run: Below-average speed at present. Not a part of his game. ...

Summation: All-Star potential regardless of position due to his value at the plate. Potential to be a plus hitter for average with plus-to-better power. One of the most exciting young players in the system in years. Mature approach for his age; has shown the ability to handle aggressive assignments and make adjustments to periods of struggle. Glove plays at third base. Surprisingly agile given his build and will make the routine plays and some of the tough ones. ...
When they say Devers can hit with power to all fields, they aren't kidding. Check out his spray chart for 2017!:

1 comment:

allan said...

I cut some stuff from the third Dombrowski quote, including this: "The consensus is that he's a baseball player." ... You can't get anything by these hyper-observant Red Sox scouts!