In 2013, Devers signed with the Red Sox (see Transactions below)
In 2013, after the regular season, Rafael turned a lot of heads with his power during the Instructional League
In 2014, Baseball America rated Devers as the 20th-best prospect in the Red Sox organization. He was moved all the way up to #6 in the winter before 2015 spring training. And to second-best in the Red Sox farm system, behind only 2B Yoan Moncada. In 2017, Devers was #3, behind Andrew Benintendi and Moncada.
In 2015, Rafael was chosen by the Red Sox to play in the Futures Game. He played on the World Team and became the youngest Red Sox prospect, at age 18, ever to play in a Futures Game.
In 2017, Devers again represented the Red Sox in the All-Star Futures game.
Devers is a willing worker who displays impressive athleticism. And he stays on top of his conditioning.
As Rafael flew from Boston to Seattle to start his Major League career, the 3,000-mile journey felt like it would never end. Once it finally did, Devers quickly put on his Red Sox uniform with the Number 11 on the back. He then met with the media in the dugout and took batting practice at Safeco Field.
"You can imagine how happy I felt when I heard the news," Devers said through interpreter Daveson Perez. "It's something that I've dreamed about for a long time and I'm really happy. I just wanted to get here so bad. I didn't even fall asleep on the plane. I was just so excited to get here."
Devers vows that he won't let up.
"For me, the work is never done. I just want to learn how to be a superstar third baseman," Devers said. "Everyone tells me the only way to do that is through constant work, just like when you're hitting, you have to do constant work. They told me daily work at third base is going to make a difference, make me the superstar I want to be."
Perhaps so he can expend all his energy on his acclimation, Devers advised his parents not to join him in Seattle.
"The first people I called was my mom and my dad," said Devers. "And my dad got so excited that the first thing he said was, 'I'm booking a plane to go watch you play right now.' I told him hang on. When we're in Boston, we can work that out." (Browne - mlb.com - 7/24/17)
One of Devers' nicknames is "CARLITA." He said, "When we were younger and in the Dominican, we would always give each other nicknames. And I was the kid who was always smiling and happy, so they said we would call this kid Carlita, which means baby face."
Devers was given the nickname because he was so happy and smiling as a child
Devers was given the nickname because he was so happy and smiling as a child.
July 16, 2019: Devers received the MLB Players Alumni Association Heart and Hustle award for the Red Sox. This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.
Devers hired a nutritionist during the winter before 2019 Spring Training, and also doubled down on his workouts, and arrived at camp looking like a different person.
"This started last year (2018)," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "He was a big part o what we did in October and then he goes home and at that age, decides to get a nutritionist and a personal trainer and was working on his defense, and to go to Fort Myers early—it shows a lot to us."
2019 season: Breakout season? Maybe. But nobody predicted Devers was going to go off to the degree that he did.
He had one of the best seasons in history for a 22-year-old The exciting thing is that Devers is still evolving, and the Red Sox likely haven’t seen what he is fully capable of just yet
He had one of the best seasons in history for a 22-year-old. Devers became just the 10th player to hit .300 with 30-plus homers, 100-plus RBIs and 100-plus runs scored in a season before turning 23. Ted Williams, Jimmie Fox, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols each did it twice. Devers is the first to accomplish the feat since Miguel Cabrera in 2005.
The exciting thing is that Devers is still evolving, and the Red Sox likely haven’t seen what he is fully capable of just yet.
“I want to improve on everything,” said Devers. “Just because I had a good season this year doesn’t mean there aren’t things I can’t improve from defense to offense. I just want to improve everything going into next season.”
What went right? Quite a bit. Devers was a machine at the plate, hitting for average (.311), power (32 homers) and all those doubles (54).
“Overall, offensively, I feel like I’m proud of everything I’ve been able to do,” said Devers
“Overall, offensively, I feel like I’m proud of everything I’ve been able to do,” said Devers. “I give a lot of credit to Xander, who has helped me a lot with my preparation and just everything he’s been able to help me with. Just, offensively, I had a really good season and I think I was able to have an overall season that I’m really proud of.”
It was on defense where Devers made his best improvement. He became a liability at times last year, all too frequently making routine errors. After a tough first month in 2019, Devers cleaned it up the rest of the way and excelled in the field. Coaches Carlos Febles and Ramón Vázquez spent a lot of time working with Devers on his defense.
“It just all comes down to the experience [on] defense,” Devers said. “I know there were some errors I was making last year where I was just like, ‘Man, how did I make that?’ This season, I know I’ve improved. Obviously I’ve made some errors here and there. But I’ve just continued to learn on how to improve.”
What went wrong?
Devers isn’t disciplined at the plate on a consistent enough basis
What went wrong?
Devers isn’t disciplined at the plate on a consistent enough basis. Manager Alex Cora constantly talks about controlling the strike zone. When Devers isn’t able to do that, he gets exposed. For Devers to reach the level of Nationals star phenom Juan Soto, he needs to swing at his pitch, not the one at which the pitcher wants him to swing. Devers had 119 strikeouts and just 48 walks in 702 plate appearances.
Best moment: There were many great days from Devers in 2019, but it’s easy to find the one that tops the list. On Aug. 13, Devers went 6-for-6 with four doubles to help fuel the Red Sox to a 7-6 win over the Indians in 10 innings. The performance was historic, as Devers became the first player to record six or more hits and four or more doubles in the same game. (Ian Browne - MLB.com - Oct. 24, 2019)
Rafael, who lights up Red Sox Nation with his laser-beam hits, dramatic facial expressions and pure joy for the game, is entering his fourth season (2020, third full) as the starting third baseman in Boston.
“He’s fun. He’s like my little brother,” said Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez. “He's a little kid. Exactly how he looks like is how he is. He’s always wondering what is going on, talking to himself in the box. He’s just funny. He’s one of those people who is just harmless. He’s fun to be around."
After staying home to witness the birth of his second daughter in February 2020, Devers made his Grapefruit League debut against the Twins, going 0-for-2 in a 4-1 loss. With Devers back in the daily mix, things are instantly more joyful in Red Sox land.
“His personality is huge,” said Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke. “He’s another one of those guys like [Xander Bogaerts], he’s just in a good mood every day. He’s smiling all the time. I think probably people get a kick out of all his facial expressions that happen all through the game. But he really is a pleasure to be around.”
“He’s just got great talent,” Martinez said. “Great hands at the plate. He’s got a knack for putting the barrel on the ball. You can’t teach that.” (Browne - mlb.com - 2/28/2020)
His cousin, Jose, has played professionally in the Yankees (2017) and Marlins (2018-19).
If you watch Devers in the batter's box, he will talk to himself in-between pitches. He'll hit himself lightly with his bat if he thinks he swung at a bad one. His emotions come across quite clearly to those of us watching on TV.
In the field, he's often talking with the opposing third base coach or the opposing dugout.