After starting off our list with three players who are pushing the majors, the vote has swung all the way to the other end of the spectrum. Coming in at #4 after a fairly close vote is Rafael Devers.
- Blake Swihart, C
- Henry Owens, LHP
- Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
- Rafael Devers, 3B
Where Swihart, Owens, and Rodriguez should all start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket, Rafael Devers will likely be playing his first full year of professional baseball all the way down in Single-A Greenville. He's seen just 261 at bats since signing with the Red Sox for a $1.5 million bonus back in July 2013, and won't turn 19 until the 2015 World Series is underway.
So how is he hanging with these Triple-A prospects atop the list? As you might imagine, those 261 at bats were pretty good. Devers blasted through the DSL without ever looking challenged, hitting .337/.445/.538 with 21 walks to 20 strikeouts before getting bumped up to the Gulf Coast League, where he more than held his own. While seven home runs between the two levels may not sound all that impressive, power numbers are always low at that given how young the players are, with Devers' total a sign of the elite potential the Red Sox think he has at the plate.
Defensively, Devers is a wild card. At the moment he's passable at the hot corner, and if his skill at the position outpaces whatever negative impact his continued physical growth might have on his defense, then he might well end up sticking there. If he doesn't, though, Devers absolutely has the type of bat which can justify hiding his glove at first, or even in front of the monster should the situation call for it.
Given his age, Devers has a greater chance of missing than any of the prospects so far. There are speedbumps in every minor league career, and any one of them has the potential to derail a career. If Devers can move past those, however, he's got the kind of bat that's getting harder and harder to find in the majors these days. It's been a while since the Red Sox have had a player like this in the system, so it should come as no surprise that fans are excited to see what he can do.
Time to finish out our top-five. This last vote was a close contest between three players, so it's anyone's guess who will round things out.