By Drew Johnson/El Mundo Boston
On a late Sunday night in August, the Red Sox were in a position they’ve been before; losing to the Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday Night Baseball before a national audience on ESPN.
With one out and the hardest throwing pitcher in baseball, Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the Yankees in the 9th inning, the outcome seemed like a foregone conclusion with the Bronx Bombers holding onto a 2-1 lead over their rivals.
It seemed like the perfect moment for 20-year-old Rafael Devers to introduce himself to baseball fans around the world.
Devers, in his first taste of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, got a 103 mph fastball from the Cuban flamethrower and hit it into the Red Sox bullpen to tie the game 2-2, helping the Red Sox go on to win 3-2 in 10 innings.
It was the first home run against Chapman all year. It was the first home run for a left-handed hitter against Chapman since 2011. It was the first home run against a 103 mph pitch since at least 2008. It was Rafael Devers coming out party.
The next game, Devers hit 2 more home runs. He hit three homeruns in the last two games. Not too shabby for the second youngest active MLB player.
In his first 15 games in the Major Leagues, he has hit for a .328 average, 6 home runs and 10 RBIs. The baby-faced third baseman has provided an impressive stat line and has been a spark that has ignited the Red Sox offense to an 11-4 record over those 15 games. Behind all the numbers and stats though is still a young kid just happy to be playing baseball.
Devers, born in Sanchez, Dominican Republic, plays with a youthful approach and keeps the game in perspective. His goal is to have fun when playing, which shows when he’s celebrating home runs and wins with his teammates. He looks like he belongs.
Still, a week into his professional career, he spent much of the 1st inning at Fenway Park looking around the stadium in disbelief.
“The games that I have played, before taking the field in the first inning, I say to myself in the dugout ‘Wow.’ And it’s beautiful” said Devers after he went 4-4 against the Cleveland Indians.
It’s that type of honest, child-like excitement that fans love to see from young players. They love it even more when he’s hitting, winning ball games and helping the Red Sox into the playoffs.
- 2nd Red Sox hitter in 100 years with 6 home runs in first 16 career games (Sam Horn)
- 1st Red Sox since 1996 to tie game with a Home Run on consecutive days (José Canseco)
So young, so good:
- 1 of 3 Red Sox hitters since 1913 to have 2 HRs in a game before turning 21 (Ted Williams, Tony Conigliaro)
- 4th Red Sox hitter to hit a HR vs Yankees in New York before turning 21 (Conigliaro, Gene Stephens, Babe Ruth)
- 1 of 5 Red Sox hitters with a 4-hit game at 20 or younger (Ruth, Williams, Conigliaro, Dalton Jones)
Who is this baby faced player?
- Born in Sanchez, Dominican Republic on October 24, 1996
- Signed by Red Sox in August 2013, as 6th ranked International Free Agent
- Ranked Red Sox number 2 prospect and 18th best prospect in 2017
- First Major League hit was a Home Run against the Seattle Mariners, July 26, 2017.