Rafael Devers won’t turn 21 until October, and the Boston Red Sox would benefit from not rushing him to the big leagues. But apparently the third-base prospect is testing the club’s patience.
Devers is having an excellent season for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, batting an even .300 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs through 77 games. More impressive than those stats, though, are the rave reviews he’s drawing from those who watch him every day.
Sea Dogs manager Carlos Febles recently compared Devers to Yoan Moncada, the current No. 1 prospect in baseball who played in Portland in 2016. And Febles thinks Devers already is ahead of where Moncada was as a hitter in 2016.
“(Devers is) way (more) advanced,” Febles told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier on Sunday. “Moncada was kind of a free swinger who would swing and miss a lot. That’s not Devers’ case. He has the ability to spread the field. When he’s at his best, he’s driving the ball all over the park, especially the other way.
“Moncada was basically one-dimensional. He had the ability to hit the ball the other way, but had a tough time recognizing pitches, especially the changeup. He couldn’t recognize the changeup. Devers is the other way around.”
Devers is more known for his bat than his glove, but the organization feels pretty confident about his defense, as well.
“I think he’s an everyday third baseman,” Red Sox assistant general manger Eddie Romero told The Globe. “I think he’s light on his feet, he’s got a strong, accurate arm, he’s got confident hands.
“He hasn’t shown me or our staff any reason to believe he won’t be able to handle third base at the major league level.”
Per Speier, Devers could be promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket “within days.” Considering the Red Sox have a major need at third base, it will be very tempting for the club to call up the Dominican Republic native to the majors sometime this season. Not that Devers is in any rush.
“I don’t just want to get to the big leagues to get there,” Devers told Speier through a translator. “I want to get there and stay. My main focus is to learn the game and whenever that opportunity comes, I’m hoping to be ready.
“(The timetable is) out of my hands. I will let the front office make that decision. Whenever they feel I’m ready, I will pack my stuff and be there. Until then, I’ll just keep working.”
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images