July 2nd Report & Video: Rafael Devers
This story originally published on ScoutingBaseball.com
Dominican 3B Rafael Devers
Dominican 3B Rafael Devers
National Baseball Analyst
Posted Mar 24, 2013


Kiley brings us video and a scouting report on Red Sox July 2nd target 3B Rafael Devers.

Background

Devers is a 6’0, 195-pound Dominican third baseman that hits lefty and throws right handed. He is from Samana, a rural area on the east side of the island that isn’t especially known for producing players. I was told before the events I attended on the island in January that he was the best hitter in this class and I got a chance to confirm this at the Perfect Game World Showcase in early January in Fort Myers. Devers faced mostly high school seniors and acquitted himself well, making hard contact and pushing one at bat I saw to 13 pitches against professional level velocity. Devers has an October 24, 1996 birthday, making him roughly an average age amongst this year’s class.

Offense

Devers is a confident left-handed bat most notable for his exaggerated leg kick as a timing mechanism. Most trainers wouldn’t teach that to prospects as it’s a turn off for teams when raw hitters still developing have higher maintenance swings but Devers is much closer to a finished product at the plate than any of his peers. He loads his hands in a good place to create power and bat speed without sacrificing contact. Devers has a wide base and loose handsy swing, showing bat control in game situations. He also normally keeps his finish lower to allow his bat path to stay in the zone longer. Whoever signs him will likely tone down the leg kick but not eliminate it as it’s part of a successful rhythm swing.

Devers power is fringy right now but he can hit the ball with authority to all fields and his power already shows up in game situations. This type of power ages well and while he doesn’t have physical projection, Devers is young enough that he’ll add some good weight and drop some bad weight. Higher contact, all-fields power that comes at a young age can play up in gam situations so average or even above average power can be expected, which translates to 15-20 bombs annually.

Speed

Devers ran a 7.08 in the 60 yard in the Dominican and a 7.00 at PG world, both in the average to slightly below range. Speed isn’t a big part of Devers game and he’s already pretty maxed-out physically. It isn’t uncommon for players like this to slim up and gain a step as they age, but Devers speed, while a 45 on the 20-80 scale now, should never be more than 50 and will likely settle in at maturity at 40 or 45.

Defense

Devers has a solid-average arm that’s fine for third and his feet are quicker rather than fast, allowing him to play the hot corner with below average timed speed. He’s got solid instincts and will need to work to keep flexible and lean enough to play third but has a good chance to figure that out.

Outlook

Devers is a little different than most top July 2nd prospects in that he lacks projection and has now hitting ability. It isn’t a surprise that some teams would gravitate to this profile and it sounds like the Red Sox have jumped to the front of this line with rumors that they’re hot on Devers trail for a seven figure bonus other teams are unlikely to top. I had pegged Devers for a high six figure bonus, possibly as much as $1 million and anything $1.5 million or lower would be in the reasonable realm for Devers.

Devers upside is as a solid everyday third baseman and there’s risk with most of his value coming from the bat as a 15 year old but lower than most given his present ability. .275+ batting average with 15-20 homers and average defense is what the team that signs him will be counting on.

Video

I sat down the first base line and behind home at the events I attended that Devers played in, as most of the top hitters were right handed and I wanted to watch the pitchers, so I didn't get a ton of video from his open side. Luckily, Perfect Game and Baseball Prospectus' Nick Faleris take a lot of video at showcases, so below is my video from the Dominican and theirs from PG World.

Batting Practice at MLB Showcase in Dominican Republic

An At Bat at PG World

Taking Batting Practice at PG World

Taking Infield at PG World

Running the 60 yard dash at PG World



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