Red Sox top prospect Rafael Devers called up to Pawtucket

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Rafael Devers
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Rafael Devers /

The top prospect for the Boston Red Sox has just been called up to Triple-A Pawtucket. How long until he makes his major league debut?

Big news for the Boston Red Sox as we approach the weekend. First, Jhonny Peralta was released from his minor league contract. Many thought that if Peralta could catch on in Pawtucket, he could be a viable option at third for Boston. But after hitting .200 in Triple-A, he was released.

Then, the bombshell news that most of Red Sox Nation was very happy to hear. Pablo Sandoval was designated for assignment. The man who signed a 5-year, $95 million contract to come to Boston just two and a half years ago was suddenly valued as not worth keeping. Dave Dombrowski is on record as saying that he thinks the Red Sox are better with him off the roster.

These two transactions had a ripple effect that some Red Sox fans might not realize. It now allows the Red Sox to promote their top prospect, Rafael Devers, to Triple-A Pawtucket. Last week, Devers was placed on the temporary inactive, or TIA, list. One reason a player is on that list is because the organization needs to make other transactions before they are able to use that player in a transaction.

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Flat out, Rafael Devers is deserving of this promotion. He was third among all Eastern League hitters with 18 home runs. Also, he ranked fifth among hitters with 56 RBI’s. Devers is not just a power hitter, as he hit .300 in a shade under 300 at-bats. Obviously, he has absolutely dominated Double-A, so the promotion makes a lot of sense. Especially when you want your star prospect to keep challenging himself and adapting to higher levels of skill.

So the question remains, when will the No. 12 prospect in baseball make his MLB debut? Realistically, that will be when the rosters expand to 40 men in September. That seems to be the most logical time he will make his debut, and there is an outside chance he makes the playoff roster if his production warrants it.

Now, while certain people are drawn to prospects, there are other fans who think that players need to “prove it” first. The detractors of prospects will point to the lack of success that Yoan Moncada had for the Red Sox last September. While Moncada projects to be a future elite player in the league, there is a reason why the Chicago White Sox have him in Triple-A: his game is not polished yet. This sentiment is echoed by Ben Badler, an analyst for Baseball America.

For the people who want Devers up right away just like fellow top Red Sox prospect Andrew Benintendi, they should pump the brakes. While Devers is more polished than Moncada was a year ago, he is not more polished than Benintendi was. Remember, Benny Baseball spent three years in the best collegiate conference in the country and won the Golden Spikes award, given to the best player in the country.

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So, is 2018 Opening Day when Devers finally takes over the role of everyday third baseman in Boston? Honestly, that answer cannot be determined right now. He could have a great showing this September, and the team could feel confident in his ability to consistently keep up with the game’s best. Or, he could have a showing like Moncada and put doubt in many minds. Regardless of his showing, at some point next year Devers will be an everyday player for the Red Sox.

The only immediate takeaway is that the Red Sox will be “in” on even less targets at third base. Anyone who has a contract that goes into 2018 will probably not be on Dombrowski’s radar. The big name is Mike Moustakas, but it does not seem like the Kansas City Royals will be sellers at the deadline. The other name is Todd Frazier from the Chicago White Sox.

Frazier’s only real appealing tool is his power. Yes, he would be able to hit moonshots onto Landsdowne Street. But, he is an average defender. Also, it hasn’t even been 12 months since the Red Sox sent four prospects to Chicago for Chris Sale. After the latest trade that sent four prospects from the Cubs to the South Side, it seems to be shortsighted to add more firepower to the White Sox.

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Regardless, this is something to be very excited about. Rafael Devers has the ability to be a perennial All-Star in his prime. Couple that with adding some stability to the least stable position for Boston in virtually a decade. Finally, Devers could be the final piece of this insanely talented young core that has been assembled in Boston. Hopefully, this young core is able to dominate Major League Baseball for the next decade.