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3B prospect Devers 'ready' for the next level

By ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

July 15. 2017 2:33AM
World infielder Rafael Devers (16) fields a ground ball during the 2017 MLB Futures Game at Marlins Park in Miami July 9, 2017. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

MANCHESTER — Rafael Devers has been on the move this week.

The third baseman played for the World team in the MLB All-Star Futures Game in Miami Sunday. He drove from Portland, Maine, to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium to represent the Sea Dogs in the 2017 Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday.

Devers is hitting the road again.

The Boston Red Sox promoted Devers, the No. 12 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com, to Triple-A Pawtucket Friday.


Devers batted .300 with 18 home runs (a career high), 56 RBIs and 48 runs scored over 77 games with Portland this season.

The 20-year-old went 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout for the Eastern All-Stars in Wednesday’s exhibition.

Devers, Boston’s top prospect according to MLB.com, was unsure if a promotion was on the horizon Wednesday but said he felt prepared for the next level.

“I’m ready,” Devers said through a translator Wednesday before the Eastern League All-Star Game. “It’s not my decision to make but I feel ready.”

The Dominican Republic native made his case for a call up through his stat line. Devers ranked third in slugging percentage (.575) and was tied for fourth in home runs in the Eastern League entering the all-star break. He also ranked fifth in RBIs and sixth in runs scored.

“Everything he does is incredible,” Sea Dogs right fielder Danny Mars said before the Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday. “Someone at that age to be that advanced, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like it.”

Devers credited his offensive output so far this season to developing a better pitch selection.

“I’m swinging at the good pitches,” Devers said. “I struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year last year but now I’ve gotten better at that.”

Mars has been around talented players like Devers during his time in the Red Sox’ farm system.

Mars and Andrew Benintendi were roommates when they played for Advanced-A Salem (Va.) last year. Tzu-Wei Lin and Mars were road roommates at one point. Mars became good friends with Nick Longhi, who MLB.com ranked as Boston’s No. 9 prospect before he was dealt to Cincinnati on July 2.

Mars, 23, knew Devers was special the first time he played with him with Class A Greenville (S.C.) in 2015. Devers batted .288 with 11 home runs, 70 RBIs and a career-high 71 runs scored that season.

“He was 18 years old and he was hitting the hardest balls I had ever seen and I was like, ‘This guy is supposed to be in high school right now and he’s doing this,’” Mars said.

Devers has garnered much more media attention in the years since his strong 2015 campaign in Greenville but he doesn’t mind. In fact, he enjoys it.

“I like it a lot because it helps me to realize I’m working toward something and people take notice,” Devers said.

Mars might be three years older than Devers but that didn’t stop him from taking notes when they were teammates. Mars said players of any age can learn a lot from being around someone like Devers. There is a limit to how much one can pick up from Devers, though, Mars said.

“There’s only so much you can learn from a guy when they’re that good and they go up there and make it look that easy,” Mars said.

Mars had more than a few fellow Eastern League All-Stars from opposing squads ask him what Devers’ secret is before Wednesday’s exhibition.

“I’m like, 'I don’t know. I think he just swings as hard as he can,'” Mars said.

ahall@unionleader.com


Sports Red Sox/MLB Manchester

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