What To Expect: Is Rafael Devers Really A Must Add In All Formats?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Rafael Devers has been summoned from Triple-A in advance of the Trade Deadline.  Why shouldn’t the Red Sox see if he can handle the spotlight before shipping off valuable future assets?  The question now is what should we expect to see from him, as fantasy owners are going wild in an attempt to find a way to add him to their rosters.

The first thing to look at is if he’ll be utilized more in a platoon role, as opposed to an everyday option.  While we aren’t going to draw conclusions off of 35 impressive AB at Triple-A (.400, 2 HR, 4 RBI), let’s look at his splits from 287 AB at Double-A in ’17:

  • RHP – .306/.368/.625
  • LHP – .282/.370/.423

While he doesn’t post as high of a SLG (4 doubles and 2 HR), he clearly wasn’t over-matched with 15 K vs. 10 BB over 71 AB against southpaws.  This comes after 0 HR against LHP at High-A in ’16, though again his 28 K vs. 17 BB over 151 AB (helping him to a .278 average) is promising.  The fact that he’s done this, while still just 20-years old, makes the performance that much more impressive.

He may be a platoon option initially, but there’s a real chance that he’s in the lineup every day before long.

Just to get an idea of his ability at the plate, here’s the scouting report courtesy of MLB.com:

“Devers’ signature tool is his prodigious power to all fields, the product of impressive bat speed and strength. He’s more than just a slugger, however, which he proved yet again with his ability to make adjustments in high Class A. While he can get aggressive at the plate, he recognizes pitches well for his age and understands he’s at his best when he tries to drive the ball from gap to gap and just lets his power come naturally.”

The big development for Devers has been tapping into that power, something that was always expected.  After never hitting more than 11 HR in a season he already has totaled 20 HR, to go along with 20 doubles and 3 triples.  He’s also hit the ball hard at each stop (line drive rate):

  • Double-A – 21.6%
  • Triple-A – 21.7%

When you put it all together his .316 BABIP at Double-A is easily maintainable, and while we can’t expect .300 initially there’s a real chance that he hits .270+ while contributing some power along the way (he could easily slug 8-10 HR the rest of the way, playing half his games in Boston).  Even if he hits towards the bottom of the order Boston should provide RBI opportunities, but he also could rise quickly even furthering his appeal.

He ranked as our #3 prospect overall in our Midseason Top 50 list (click here to view), and there’s a good chance that he thrives (assuming the Red Sox doesn’t still go out and acquire an option).  While Devers will sit today against James Paxton, the Red Sox have a few more lefties on the schedule later in the week.  Look for them to give him an opportunity there and see what he can do.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, MLB.com

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