In today’s game of baseball, general managers are looking to upgrade at every position. Sometimes either by trade, in the minor leagues, or via the draft (i.e. the MLB Amateur, International, Rule 5 drafts). However general managers will tend to draft multiple players in one position with the goal that one will eventually become an everyday contributor at the major league level.
In the Red Sox farm system, the Red Sox have two Top 10 prospects playing at third base. One of those prospects for third base are Garin Cecchini, who is currently at Pawtucket and was mentioned in a previous farm report. The other is Rafael Devers, a young man with athletic prowess and perhaps one of the highest ceilings out of all the Red Sox prospects.
Quick Bio Profile
Full Name: Rafael Calcano Devers
Born: October 24, 1996
Birthplace: Sanchez, Dominican Republic
Height: 6' 0"
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent on August 9, 2013
40-Man Roster: No
Background Prior to 2015
Devers was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox back on August 9, 2013, as an International Free Agent at the young age of 16. He was signed along with fellow Red Sox minor leaguers LHPs Enmanuel De Jesus and Jhonathan Diaz and INFHe Andy Perez. Devers did not officially play with the Red Sox organization until the 2014 season. He first started at the Class Foreign Rookie level with the Dominican Red Sox of the Dominican Summer League.
With the DSL Red Sox, Devers played in 28 games with them, hitting .337 (35-for-104) with 3 home runs, 21 RBIs, 26 runs scored, 4 stolen bases, and drew 26 walks to go along with an OBP of .445, a SLG of .538, and an OPS of .984. He also played in 22 games in the field at third base, recording a fielding percentage of .905 (76-of-84 fielding chances) with 8 errors and assisted on 3 double plays. Dever’s .337 batting average, .445 OBP, .538 SLG, and .984 OPS were all DSL Red Sox team highs.
Then on July 2, Devers got the call up to Rookie level to play with the Gulf Coast Red Sox of the Gulf Coast League. In 42 games with the GCL Red Sox, Devers had a .312 batting average (49-for-157) to go with 4 home runs, 36 RBIs, 14 walks drawn, 1 stolen, base, and 21 runs scored to go with a .347 OBP, a .484 SLG, and a .858 OPS. He also played in 29 games at third base (28 starts and 1 defensive substitution), recording a .905 fielding percentage (95-of-105 fielding chances) with 10 errors and assisted on 6 double plays. Devers also led the team in home runs (4), RBIs (36), SLG (.484), and OPS (.858).
While at the GCL Red Sox, Devers took part in the team’s run for the Gulf Coast League Championship. Devers played all 4 games, recording a .235 batting average (4-for-17) with 1 home run, 3 RBIs, and two walks drawn to go along with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage (9-of-9 fielding chances) as the GCL Red Sox won the 2014 GCL Championship.
Prior to the start of the 2015 season, Devers was promoted to Class A to play with the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League. He was also named the 3rd overall prospect (according to MLB.com), the 6th overall prospect (according to Baseball America), and the 5th overall prospect (according to SoxProspects.com) in the Red Sox farm system.
Out of the 93 games played so far, Devers has played in 76 of those games. He is currently hitting a .300 batting average (93-for-310) with 8 home runs, 45 RBIs, 51 runs scored, 2 stolen bases, 12 drawn walks, an OBP of .328, a SLG of .448, and an OPS of .777. Dever’s 8 home runs and 45 RBIs are second on the team behind fellow teammate and Red Sox prospect SS Michael Chavis. In the field, Devers has played just 46 games at third base, recording a .938 fielding percentage (120-of-128 fielding chances) with 8 errors and assisted on 12 double plays. In 29 games that he wasn’t playing in the field, Devers was penciled into the DH spot in order to keep his hitting power in the lineup.
During the 2015 season, Devers has also been named a South Atlantic League All-Star and was selected (along with Red Sox OF prospect Manuel Margot) to participate in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. However Devers was not able to show his hit power, going 0-for-1 in a relief appearance.
Now this is a very interesting case with Devers. On one hand, he’s absolutely gifted physically with tremendous hitting power as well as possessing a fluid swing. All while batting from the left side of the plate. Some people have actually compared Devers to another Red Sox prospect that was overly gifted in the physical aspects, one Xander Bogaerts. Plus at a very young age of 18, Devers can only go up with his hitting power and great ball contact.
But with every good, there is a bad. Although he’s a physical hitting specimen at the plate, Devers is a below average to average while playing at third base. Some believe that his footwork is what’s costing him, causing him to make lots of errors while trying to field the ball. Those same people also believe that Devers is better suited at first base than third for the same reason.
However it’s still way too early to make final decisions with Devers. He’s still 18 years old and has a lot of time to improve in the field as well as get bigger and stronger at the plate. With the MLB Trade Deadline less than two weeks away, there could be some changes within the upper portion of the Red Sox farm system with prospects being traded away. That could be the door that opens for Devers to make the leap into the higher levels of the minor league.
Who knows, maybe he will experience the same rapid growth that Xander Bogaerts had back in the 2013 season where the shortstop went from Double-A all the way to playing in the World Series at the major league level at the young age of 20. All we can do now is wait for the seeds to sprout and grown.
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