BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox have been a trainwreck at the third base position in 2017. They have talented young third base prospect Rafael Devers tearing it up in the minors. So what’s the holdup for the kid to get the call to the majors?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple right now. Devers is still just 20 years old – the youngest player in the Eastern League – and does not turn 21 until October 24. He could still be too young to play in the major leagues, especially at a key role for a contending team like the Red Sox. But that doesn’t change that Devers is a precocious talent at the plate.
Devers’ numbers for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs would be impressive for any hitter, let alone the youngest in the league. He is up to 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 57 games, both eighth in the entire league. He is third in the league with a .561 slugging percentage and fourth in OPS at .929. In 12 June games, he’s batting .383 with four homers and 11 RBIs. On Thursday night he hit his latest homer, which you can watch in the video above.
Meanwhile, Red Sox third basemen have combined to bat a sub-Mendoza Line .199 (entering Friday) with seven home runs, 28 RBIs, and a .573 OPS. The Red Sox as a team could certainly use more power, as they still sit 28th in the major leagues with just 63 home runs.
It’s a wonder why such a talented young hitter would be staying in the minors, considering the Red Sox’ pressing need at third base. But Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett tells The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that Devers still needs to find consistency at the plate – and even still has room for improvement.
“He’s continued to flash good at-bats at times as the month has gone on, and at times he’s seeking consistency from at-bat to at-bat,” said Crockett. “It’s probably something we did see a little more of earlier in the season.
“Obviously he’s getting some good results now, having some good at-bats, doing some pretty good things. And yet I still think there’s opportunity for him to keep improving on the offensive side and for him to continue with his routine on the defensive side.”
Devers’ defense certainly isn’t close to the level that his hitting is at right now. But even if Devers’ fielding is a disaster in the major leagues, it couldn’t possibly be much worse than the Red Sox’ 16 combined errors at the hot corner.
Dave Dombrowski is reportedly describing Devers’ status as a “near-daily discussion” in the Red Sox front office, which indicates that a call-up for Devers could happen at any time. At this point, his age is likely the only thing holding the young slugger back from making his major-league debut.