Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers received high praise from Tampa Bay Rays long-time third baseman Evan Longoria during Friday night’s game.
Evan Longoria had a lot to say about Rafael Devers following the Rays-Red Sox games on Friday and Saturday. Longoria and Devers actually shared a few words during the fourth inning Friday after Devers reached third base.
Red Sox third base coach, Brian Butterfield, spoke to Devers after he reached the bag and then the long-time Tampa Bay Rays third baseman also chimed in. Devers then responded and it resulted in the two smiling and having a quiet laugh.
After the game, Longoria was asked about it. He responded:
"“I speak a little bit of Spanish. So I just asked him in Spanish if he understood what Butter was saying to him,” Longoria told MassLive.com, smiling before Saturday’s game here at Fenway Park. “And he said, ‘Yeah.’ He speaks English well.”"
Longoria also added, “Butter was giving him high praise…So he’s been fun to watch so far. I’m excited; it’s another great player to add to the position.”
Devers finished Friday night’s game 3-for-3 with one double, one walk, and two runs in the Red Sox 9-3 victory. He then followed that up with a 2-for-5 performance Saturday as Boston steamrolled Tampa 9-0.
Longoria after his explanation of their interaction decided to share his thoughts on the young Red Sox rookie.
“He’s got a ton of bat speed,” Longoria described. “That’s always a plus when you’re looking at younger players. And he also takes good at-bats. He doesn’t look like he’s getting exposed. It doesn’t look like he’s overmatched.”
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In Devers’s 39 games, he has batted .308/.369/.527 and has eight home runs, eight doubles, and eighteen RBIs.
Despite Longoria and the Rays being in the American League East with the Red Sox, Longoria admitted that he wasn’t familiar and had not heard of Devers until his promotion to the major leagues. He explained that he doesn’t pay too close attention to prospects or minor leaguers around the league while some teammates like Brad Miller know every single prospect in baseball.
"“I mean, he’s young. He’s so young, man,” Longoria said. “I think that’s just the most impressive thing: to see a kid that young that looks the part — that looks like he’s ready to play at the big league level. You know, he’s going to have his ups and downs. But when you see a guy have success at an early age like that, it’s a pretty good indicator that he’s going to be pretty good for a long time.”"
Longoria’s insight may not mean much to many Red Sox fans, however, maybe they should reconsider. Longoria broke into the league at 22-years-old in 2008 and his insight and his praise could mean a lot considering Devers’s youth and break-out. Third base across the entire league is a stacked position, and Devers is carving out his spot and it’s nice to know that other stars are taking notice.