Red Sox have three of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects
By Sean Penney
Baseball American ranking: 18
Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 40. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60. ETA: 2018.
Rafael Devers is quickly shooting up many prospect lists after displaying his natural swing and exceptional raw power in High-A Salem last year.
The 20-year old hit .282/.335/.433 with 11 home runs in 128 games in Salem last year. The home run total may seem low for a prospect projected to become a power-hitter, but keep in mind that he was the third-youngest player in the Carolina League last year. He makes hard contact and has shown the ability to hit the ball over the fence in deep center field, so more homers will pile up as his body matures.
Unlike many other young power hitters, Devers doesn’t strike out a ton, posting a solid 17.2 strikeout percentage last year.
The concern with Devers had always been whether or not he could stick at third base, but he showed improvement defensively last year and has a strong throwing arm. He may eventually outgrow the position and be forced to move to first base or DH, but for now the plan is to keep him on track to take over the hot corner for the Red Sox in the near future.
Devers has yet to play above High-A, but we’ve seen that Dombrowski isn’t afraid to allow his top prospects to skip a level. If he succeeds at the Double-A level then it’s conceivable that we could see Devers get a September audition in Boston.
The Red Sox are hoping for a bounce-back season from Pablo Sandoval to hold down the fort until Devers is ready, but the young prospect is clearly the future at that position in Boston.