BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have been in desperate need of third-base help all season, and they might have found it in a player who’s not even allowed to legally drink alcohol yet.
Rafael Devers has made an immediate impact for the Red Sox since the team called up him to the big leagues last week. And while Devers still only is 20 years old, his poise at the plate would lead you to believe he’s a seasoned veteran.
“His 25 or so at-bats have been impressive,” manager John Farrell told reporters prior to Monday’s game. “He’s been balanced, he’s been under control, he’s been calm, he’s shown power, he’s shown good discipline.”
Devers already has a pair of home runs in his first five MLB games, including an opposite-field shot over the Green Monster on Sunday. Farrell acknowledged just how uncommon it is for a player to hit a long ball like that, but also noted that Devers being on a big league club is a feat in itself.
“It’s extremely rare, so is being in the big leagues at 20,” Farrell said. “It’s the best way I can describe it, he’s a unique talent. But the bat speed and the calmness combined with the power, and the overall approach, those are things I don’t think you teach. That’s hand-eye coordination and instincts to stay behind the swing and drive the pitch where it’s located. For a young hitter, that is rare.”
While Devers’ powerful bat has been well advertised during his ascent to the majors, there were question marks surrounding his glove. But in his handful of appearances at third base thus far, Devers has showcased that he’s more than capable of manning the position.
“With Rafi, what stood out was his first-step quickness on defense,” Farrell said. “That has been better than anticipated or advertised. He’s been very good at third base. He’s started the front-end of multiple double plays, he’s ranged far to his glove side, he’s done a very good job all the way around.”
It’s important not to get too carried away about Devers, as he more than likely will experience normal growing pains that nearly all big leaguers go through. But given his hot start, it’s hard not to get excited about the kid’s future in Boston.
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