Rafael Devers Promoted to Red Sox

It has certainly been an odd, unsuccessful and grossly disappointing week plus for the Red Sox since the All-Star break. Now, Dave Dombrowski is getting bold, but not in the trade market. With top prospect Rafael Devers promoted to the big club, the Red Sox are looking for a spark plug.

On the field, Boston has yet to win a series since the Fourth of July. Off it, they lost out on Rafael Devers calleda deal that looked like it was already done. Sure, missing out on Todd Frazier is not monumental, but the organization is surely disappointed. They felt they could get a guy to plug in some of their holes at a very low price. That is no longer the case, so it is time to embrace what they already have.

Devers will be with the team Monday in Seattle and is already expected to make his first start Tuesday. This is a kid who, just last month, was playing in Portland. After a cup of coffee in Pawtucket, here he comes Red Sox fans. Much like Andrew Benintendi last year, he joins the team in Seattle to fill an immediate need. Benintendi skipped AAA and Devers might as well have, but can we expect similar results?

Devers didn’t become the top prospect in the Red Sox system by accident. This season in Portland, he mashed 18 homers and 56 RBI while hitting .300. In all, he racked up 40 extra base hits in 77 games before being promoted to AAA. In nine games with Pawtucket, he hit .324, including a night where he went 4-4 with a homer. Devers’ glove is still raw, but his offense has shown he is ready for the major leagues.

Rafael Devers Promoted With Big Expectations

Third base has been a glaring problem for the Red Sox all year. Starting with the dumpster fire that was Pablo Sandoval, the Red Sox have been reeling at that position. With the rest of the lineup being just horrendous on a good day, that spot becomes even more important. Without the league’s best offense, third base turns from a want to a need. Now, if the Red Sox can’t upgrade there, a deep playoff run can be compromised.

While third base is a major issue right now, it doesn’t look like Dombrowski will try to solve it at the trade deadline. If he can add a bullpen arm, Boston should be in really good shape. Their offense won’t be number one, but it sure can’t get much worse. With their starting pitching, this is a team built for the postseason. If they can bolster their bullpen, they could be a tremblingly dangerous team come October.

So, the kid is gonna get a shot, whether he likes it or not. And yes, he will be expected to produce. He’s not going to make this team Murderer’s Row, but he should make them better. Since Devers didn’t even play AA till this year, this could be a lot of pressure. The 20 year-old will be thrusted in like Xander Bogaerts was in 2013. We all remember how Bogaerts thrived and what the Red Sox did that year, don’t we? So stay up late Tuesday night, you just might see the birth of a new era and a new Red Sox team.

Don’t Rush Another Rafael Devers Promotion

At some point this summer, the Rafael Devers promotion was inevitable, especially considering his dominance of Double-A and the lack of organizational at third base. In Portland, Devers hit an even .300 with 56 RBI and 18 HR in 77 games. Of course, that was more than enough production to gain a call-up to Pawtucket.

Rafael Devers promotion

Thus, the 20-year-old is a stud. No questions asked. But that’s exactly why the Red Sox shouldn’t rush him.

Whenever this topic is brought up, a lot of comparisons are made to Andrew Benintendi (age 21) last season. However, Benintendi had already played two full seasons of D-I college ball in the Southeastern Conference before he was even drafted. Devers, on the other hand, was signed at age 17 and has less than 80 games in the high minors.

Dave Dombrowski vowed in a press conference on Friday that the Red Sox would not put pressure on Devers to contribute during a pennant race.

Ultimately, Devers needs the extra time in Triple-A to develop his defense and mature in all facets before he is rushed to Boston. I believe the Red Sox can invest in the 2017 team and make them competitive for a championship. I also believe they can do this without rushing another Rafael Devers promotion and certainly without trading him.

Best Course of Action

If the Red Sox want to acquire Todd Frazier or Martin Prado on a rental and buy time for Devers then I’m all ears. But Red Sox fans should not want to over pay with prospects and commit to Prado or Frazier long term. Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Marrero could get the job done as long as the rest of the lineup hits.

The team finally solved their shortstop problem with Xander Bogaerts. Now they need to solve their third base problem with Rafael Devers.

By season’s end, he’ll probably have about 175-225 AB’s with the PawSox. Should he have a phenomenal Spring Training in February, the job could be Devers’ in April.

Although regardless of how this season or the spring pans out, it’s important to not rush young talent. There’s a certain third baseman in Round Rock, TX that could agree, and he shares my name.

Red Sox Prospects All-Mid-Season Team

As the month of July begins, we created an All-Star team for Red Sox Prospects who

Red Sox Prospectshave spent the entire season within the organization. However, we did not include players from Lowell as their season just began a few weeks ago.

Without further ado, here is the complete list.

 

Starting Rotation

Jalen Beeks – LHP – Portland/Pawtucket

Bryan Mata – RHP – Greenville

Brian Johnson – LHP – Pawtucket/Boston

Roniel Raudes – RHP – Salem

Teddy Stankiewicz – RHP – Portland

Bullpen

Austin Maddox – RHP – Portland/Pawtucket/Boston

Jamie Callahan – RHP – Portland/Pawtucket

Bobby Poyner – LHP – Salem/Portland

Pat Goetze – RHP – Greenville

Josh Smith – LHP – Portland/Pawtucket

Shaun Anderson – RHP – Greenville/Salem

Lineup

CF – Danny Mars – Portland

2B – Chad de la Guerra – Salem/Portland

DH – Rafael Devers – Portland

LF – Bryce Brentz – Pawtucket

3B – Michael Chavis – Salem/Portland

1B – Josh Ockimey – Salem

SS – Tzu-Wei Lin – Portland/Boston

RF – Ryan Scott – Greenville

C – Austin Rei – Greenville

Bench

OF – Steve Selsky – Pawtucket/Boston

INF – CJ Chatham – Greenville

C – Jordan Procyshen – Portland

Util – Heiker Meneses – Portland/Pawtucket

Red Sox Prospects Breakdown

While some of the decisions were very difficult to make, certain players stood out because of their tremendous performances. For example, Rafael Devers and his 16 home runs, Michael Chavis and his .300+ batting average. Then, of course, Jalen Beeks and his 1.1 K’s per inning. Just to name a few.

Similarly, young stars in Low-A ball like Bryan Mata and Austin Rei have consistently excelled, making way for potential second-half call-ups to High-A Salem. Meanwhile, Tzu-Wei Lin and Austin Maddox have already exceeded expectations and played in Boston.

Additionally, players such as Jordan Procyshen and Ryan Scott have come out the woodwork and become solid contributors at their respective positions. Further, Procyshen shines defensively and Ryan Scott has hit for consistent average all year.

Michael Chavis Promoted to Double-A Portland

According to sources from The Boston Globe and SoxProspects.com, Red Sox infield prospect Michael Chavis is being promoted to Double-A Portland. Infielder Chad de la Guerra is also being promoted to the Sea Dogs, who begin a homestand Friday.

In Salem, Chavis was hitting .318 with 17 home runs, 17 doubles, and 55 RBI in 59 games. De la Guerra was hitting .294 with 5 homers and 36 RBI.

Michael Chavis

Both will join a Portland infield that already includes top prospect Rafael Devers, Nick Longhi, Tzu-Wei Lin, and journeyman Mike Olt. Many speculate that this move is a precursor to the promotion of Devers (.297, 14 HR) to Triple-A Pawtucket. However, it remains to be seen what the Red Sox plan to do with their top talent.

Chavis and Devers could end up splitting some time short term, much like they did in 2015 with Greenville. There is no question that these two are special players, but their long-term development is ultimately the most important goal.

Prospects on the Move

This move follows what has already been a dynamic spring for the Red Sox farm system. So far, the Sea Dogs alone have seen the likes of Jalen Beeks, Ty Buttrey, Aneury Tavarez, Jamie Callahan, Austin Maddox, and Heiker Meneses move up to Triple-A and beyond. Likewise, Travis Lakins, Josh Tobias, Bobby Poyner, and now Chavis have left Salem for the Pine Tree State. Sam Travis made is major league debut as well.

These moves are also in the foreground of what could be an interesting trade season for the big league club. While it’s unlikely the Red Sox would trade someone like Devers or Jay Groome, other prospects could be on the move.

Despite all the ambiguity, one thing is certain. Michael Chavis, Chad de la Guerra, Rafael Devers, and others have performed exceptionally this season. And as many Red Sox fans worried about the longevity of the farm system, a renaissance has been born.

Scouting Report: Cole Brannen

After the Boston Red Sox drafted Tanner Houck in the first round, they drafted outfielder Cole Brannen 63rd overall.

Cole Brannen

The 6’1” left-handed hitter is known for his speed and athleticism. As a senior in high school at Westfield (GA), Brannen batted .439 (36-for-82). This came with a total of 23 doubles, three triples, and five home runs. He also scored 42 runs and stole 22 bases, drawing 26 walks against only 11 strikeouts. There is definitely some potential for power, but I think the Red Sox will let him develop based on his young age.

In the summer of 2016, he competed in the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field and in the Nike Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park.

Due to his tremendous exposure, Brannen had originally committed to play ball at Georgia Southern, but told reporters “I made up my mind. I’ve known for a long time that’s what I want to do. I want to play ball. I’ve wanted to play professional baseball since I was three years old. That’s always been my goal. I’ve worked hard. I’ve put in a lot of time and a lot of effort. God’s given me a lot of things that I can do that a lot of people can’t do. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for him. I’m very thankful and blessed for all the things I’ve gotten to accomplish.”

Breakdown

There is no question that the hit potential is there. But in addition to that, Brannen’s athleticism allows him not only to steal bases and advance but also to play any of the outfield positions.

However, Brannen doesn’t have a ton of experience against high-level pitching, so there will definitely be at least a few periods of adjustment. Additionally, his swing is a tad lofty, so long-term power as he ages is no guarantee. Despite that, I still see him as a potential plus-hit for average tool.

It is unclear what the Red Sox plan to do with Cole Brannen long-term. But short term, he’ll probably play the rest of the season in the Gulf Coast League. Should he still be with the organization next season, he’ll probably split time between Lowell and Greenville based on his performance.

Right now, I feel comfortable comparing him to Danny Mars or Aneury Tavarez, both of which are other outfielders in the farm system. Brannen’s absolute ceiling would be comparable to Jackie Bradley Jr, but perhaps with less defensive ability.

Michael Chavis, Rafael Devers, Represent the Future at Third

Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers are not household names in Red Sox Nation yet, but they very well could be soon.

Michael Chavis

When the team traded Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada last offseason, they were ultimately committing to Pablo Sandoval to play third base. Especially considering it was their originally plan when they signed him to a five-year $90-million-dollar deal. Although with nagging injuries to both Sandoval and Marco Hernandez, Deven Marrero has had the most reps so far this season.

Despite upside in many or all of these players, none of them seem to be a long term plan. Rather, the Red Sox have two future options developing in the minors.

Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers have the potential to be All-Stars. But their young age means they’re a few years away from making a splash.

With Salem, Chavis is hitting .357 in 41 games with 12 home runs. His OPS is 1.130 as of May 31, a truly elite number for a minor leaguer. Chavis already has more RBI (41) in as many games with Salem than he did in 74 games with Greenville last year.

The following scouting report on his hitting mechanics says Chavis has “a short, compact swing. Wide base in stance. Starts slightly open and utilizes a toe-tap timing device. Quick hands and loose at the plate. Possesses plus bat speed. Tracks the ball well. Swing can get long, creating a hole on the inner half. Developing approach and pitch recognition skills. Potential solid-average to plus hit tool.”

His baseball IQ and coachability is also an upside.

However, Chavis hasn’t been promoted to Portland yet because the Sea Dogs have a superstar of their own. Rafael Devers is also and third baseman. And this season, he has been on fire as well.

As of May 19, Devers was hitting .325 – but has since cooled off a little to a humble .288 average. Regardless, he has been a driving force in the Portland offense, slashing .288/.348/.497 in 43 games.

Bottom Line

Both players are obviously too young to make an impact in Boston this season. It’s arguably better for their development to get at-bats in the minors. Some may make comparisons to Andrew Benintendi. But let’s not forget he also played two years of NCAA baseball in the SEC.

Chavis and Devers, on the other hand, turned pro at high schools ages. Therefore, they have needed extra minor league time to develop. If given the chance to mature properly and not be rushed, one or both of these players could occupy the hot corner at Fenway soon.