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Rafael Devers promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket

The top prospect is one step from the majors.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Well, this was inevitable. After releasing Jhonny Peralta and designating Pablo Sandoval for assignment within a 48-hour period, the Red Sox are promoting Rafael Devers to Triple-A Pawtucket.

This is a move we have been anticipating for months, as the organization’s top prospect ran through Double-A without any issue. As it turned out, the team wanted to wait until after he was able to participate in the Double-A All-Star Game. With that event behind him, Devers has been deemed ready for the next step. He accrued 320 plate appearances with Portland and hit .300/.369/.575.

It still seems like a possibility that we will see Devers in the big leagues at some point this year. If he gets off to a quick start in Pawtucket, they won’t feel the need to keep him in Triple-A as long as he was left in Double-A. That being said, it seems highly unlikely that he’d come up before the trade deadline. Because of that, it seems probable to me that they will still look for a rental at the hot corner to fill in the gap for the rest of the year. If Devers pushes his way up, he’ll at least be a big bat off the bench for his first taste of the majors. Although Dave Dombrowski has said he feels comfortable with Deven Marrero, Tzu-Wei Lin and Brock Holt holding down the position, what else is he going to say?

Devers’ performance against more advanced pitching will be fascinating to see. Although his ceiling is as high, or even arguably higher, than Andrew Benintendi’s, he’s a little more raw than the outfielder was when he was promoted straight from Portland a year ago. Devers also requires a little more work on defense, although that alone wouldn’t keep him in the minors. If he can maintain strong plate discipline in Pawtucket, we’ll certainly see him this year. In the worst-case scenario, he’ll almost certainly be competing for the starting gig in 2018.