Picture courtesy of Greenville Online.
Rafael Devers (rhymes with rev like revving an engine, I hear Deevers a lot) I’ve run down to Greenville about a dozen times this season so I’ve seen about 30-40 at bats from Devers in 2015.
He’s 18 years old, bats left and throws right. He’s listed at 6′ 195 lbs. I’d guess he’s 10-15 lbs heavier than that. He’s going to have to work hard to maintain the weight, he’s not a chiseled athlete like Moncada. If he’s not careful he could be 6′ 240 lbs in ten years, and a 1st base DH type. He’s in good shape now and he’s playing really well at 3rd base.
At the plate Devers has an upright closed stance and he utilizes a toe tap as a timing mechanism. He has above average bat speed, a long swing but great barrel control. His swing stays in the zone a really long time so he’s not as easily fooled by spin.
When he’s right he’s letting the ball travel deep and he’s pounding the ball to both gaps, a lot of hard contact the other way off of his bat. For the first two months this was his approach and on May 31st he was hitting .347 (I’m sure some of that was Babip driven).
Since early June he’s been pulling the ball a lot more. He could be trying to muscle up and hit more home runs, or maybe he went through a stretch where the ball wasn’t falling and he’s pressing, but on a few occasions he’s noticeably been over swinging. Whatever the reason he’s been a different hitter since the beginning of June and the numbers reflect that. Since June 1st (232 at bats) he’s hitting .228/.269/.392. He’s hit eight of his eleven home runs during this time which could be an indication that he’s just swinging for the fences. Devers teammate Michael Chavis has been trying to hit the ball nine miles every swing this season and I’ve been wondering what the coaches have been saying to him, whatever the message is it’s hasn’t gotten through.
Devers is 18 years old there’s time to make adjustments, I would love to see him get back to utilizing the whole field. He’s a very difficult out when he does.
Here’s Devers taking BP, video courtesy of baseball prospectus