As the Red Sox continue to explore how best to fill their glaring hole at third base, Rafael Devers is doing everything in his power at Double-A Portland to convince the organization he's ready for the big leagues.The Red Sox's top prospect went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs
As the Red Sox continue to explore how best to fill their glaring hole at third base, Rafael Devers is doing everything in his power at Double-A Portland to convince the organization he's ready for the big leagues.
The Red Sox's top prospect went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBIs on Wednesday as he led the Sea Dogs past New Hampshire, 5-1. It was the fifth career multi-homer game and second of the season for the 20-year-old third baseman, who snapped out of a 3-for-19 skid with the three-hit effort.
Devers, No. 12 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, connected on his first home run in the first inning, when he deposited right-hander Sean Reid-Foley's (No. 54 overall, Blue Jays' No. 3) 2-2 offering over the wall in left field for a solo home run. He would add an RBI single in his next trip to the plate before taking Reid-Foley deep once more in the fifth inning, this time hitting a solo shot to right field.
MILB Video - Title: Devers belts second homer - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1550629083
"He's the type of player you would come to the ballpark just to see him play," Portland hitting coach Lee May told MiLB.com. "He has very good hand-eye coordination. He sees the ball very well. The mechanics of his swing are really good. I think the home run to right field was a changeup and the base hit up the middle was also a changeup where he got his foot down and kept his hands back and was able to stay through the baseball."
Devers continues to add to his career-high home run total with each home run, as he's now left the yard 16 times in 67 games with Portland. His previous career high was 11 home runs, which he achieved in each of the past two years over 115 and 128 games, respectively. What's more, Devers has shown his uptick in power while hitting .298/.359/.576 in his first taste of the Double-A level.
"He's settled into his swing. There were some adjustments and some things that he was working on mechanically that he figured out at the second half of last year that he's carried into this year," May said.
Red Sox No. 10 prospect Michael Chavis also homered in the victory, his third in six games -- each of which he's been the designated hitter -- since being promoted from Class A Advanced Salem. The 21-year-old third baseman has 20 homers between the two levels, good for a share of second place in the Minors, and he's hitting .318/.385/.653 with 59 RBIs in 65 games this season.
MILB Video - Title: Chavis goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1550744783
"I had Michael last year. It's been really neat to watch him this year because prior to his [finger] injury that hampered him for the second half of last season, he started to turn a corner with his approach," May said. "The same thing that I'm seeing right now is what he was doing at the beginning of last year. So to see him progress and to see him mature and develop, it's been fun to watch."
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Wednesday
• No. 16 overall prospect Willy Adames (Rays' No. 1) went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and his fifth home run, a sixth-inning solo shot in Triple-A Durham's loss against Indianapolis. After batting just .230/.309/.344 during the first two months of the season, the 21-year-old shortstop has caught fire in June to post a .372/.459/.585 batting line with 11 extra-base hits in 25 games.
MILB Video - Title: Adames homers to left-center - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1550436283
• No. 27 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays' No. 1) and Bo Bichette (No. 99 overall, Blue Jays' No. 5) hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning in Class A Lansing's loss against Bowling Green. Bichette also hit a double in a 3-for-5 performance that improved his Midwest League-leading slash line to .402/.461/.638 through 62 games.
• No. 57 overall prospect Luke Weaver (Cardinals' No. 3) tossed six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks with six strikeouts, to improve to 7-1 in 11 starts for Triple-A Memphis. The 23-year-old right-hander has pitched to a 1.93 ERA in that span, with 60 strikeouts and 13 walks in 56 innings.
MILB Video - Title: Weaver flashes some leather - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1551066783
• Astros' No. 29 prospect Framber Valdez set a pair of career highs as he struck out 11 over eight innings in Class A Advanced Buies Creek's win over Carolina. He threw 66 of his 95 pitches for strikes in the outing, allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks. The 23-year-old lefty has given up two earned runs while striking out 20 in 16 2/3 innings (three starts) since returning from a spot start in Double-A.
• Brewers' No. 20 prospect Corbin Burnes took his first loss of the season in spite of posting another strong effort for Double-A Biloxi. He carried a no-hit bid into the fourth inning and finally allowed an earned run with two outs in the sixth, snapping a streak of 22 straight scoreless frames since being promoted from the Carolina League, where he was pacing the circuit in ERA (1.05), WHIP (0.88) and opponents' average (.181).
• Indians' No. 11 prospect Juan Hillman allowed one hit as he completed a career-high seven scoreless innings in a no-decision for Class A Lake County. The 20-year-old southpaw struck out eight, matching his career high, and walked two in what was his first scoreless outing in 14 turns in the Midwest League.
• Indians' No. 12 prospect Willi Castro stayed hot for Class A Advanced Lynchburg as he extended his hitting streak to six games with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate. The 20-year-old shortstop ultimately fell a single short of hitting for the cycle after recording a double, a triple and a home run in each of his first three at-bats. He finished the game with a season-high four RBIs.
• Padres' No. 5 prospect Jacob Nix tossed a two-hitter with a career-high 11 strikeouts for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore en route to his first professional shutout. The 21-year-old righty faced one over the minimum in nine innings, also generating nine ground-ball outs while throwing 75 of his 108 pitches for strikes. He has a 2.84 ERA with a 36-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 38 innings this season.
"I had a conversation with [our pitching] coordinator Mark Prior, and one of their big things for this year was that I wasn't going to really be on a leash like I was last year; they wanted to see how deep I could go into a game," Nix told MiLB.com. "They challenged me to throw seven, eight, nine innings in 100 pitches or so, and I've been trying to go as deep into games as possible. I've got to make up some innings here -- I'm a little behind my friends."
• Pirates' No. 26 prospect Eric Wood pounded out four hits (4-for-5), including a two-run homer, his ninth, and a run-scoring double to help lead Indianapolis past Durham. He's enjoying his best month of the season, with a .326/.370/.547 batting line, 12 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs over 22 games in June.
• Rockies' No. 5 prospect Ryan McMahon belted a solo homer and went 4-for-4, marking his fourth four-hit effort in 25 games since joining Triple-A Albuquerque. He's hitting a robust .440 with six homers and 26 RBIs in that span after slashing .326/.390/.536 with six homers over 49 contests in his second tour of the Eastern League.
MILB Video - Title: Watch: McMahon goes yard - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=1552236083
• Tigers' No. 17 prospect Matt Hall posted his second 11-strikeout game of the season for Class A Advanced Lakeland, only this time he did it over a career-best 8 1/3 scoreless frames. The 23-year-old lefty carried a perfect game into the eighth inning before allowing a pair of hits and departing the game after 109 pitches (75 strikes). Since giving up eight runs in 5 1/3 innings on May 23, Hall has rattled off five straight starts without allowing an earned run -- a dominant stretch during which he's compiled 33 strikeouts while allowing 19 hits in 31 innings.
"I had a sit-down talk with my manager and pitching coach after that game [in May]," Hall told MiLB.com. "We talked about changing my pitch sequences and varying speeds more. Things have been going great since then, and the guys have been playing great defense behind me."
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.