The thought of Dave Dombrowski trading away 20-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers this summer keeps me up at night. Trading away prospects is what Dombrowski does. Since coming to the Sox in late 2015 he has made big moves for Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, and Chris Sale. It's tough to complain about the Kimbrel and Sale deals, but obviously the Pomeranz trade is a bad one. Still, I guess two out of three isn't bad, it's just that he's absolutely gutted the farm system and has left next to no resources to make upgrade the 2017 edition of this team, that is except for one...Rafael Devers.
Devers, a 20-year-old who was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2013, is the last big time prospect we have left. He entered this season ranked 18th in Baseball America's Top 100 prospects list. Since then he's only gotten better. Through 34 games in Double-A Portland this year Devers is slashing .325/.394/.569 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs. According to this FanGraphs piece Devers is having the third best Double-A performance (by wRC+) of any 20-year-old over the past decade.
So the Red Sox are in a unique position in regards to what to do with Devers this summer. The major league team has a huge hole at third base and if this were 2018 there would be no question that Devers would get the call up, but he's only had 137 plate appearances above A-ball. He's been very impressive this year in Portland but still has plenty to work on, including continuing to show more patience at the plate.
When you can hit for as much power as Devers can pitchers are going to naturally pitch around you. What then separates good hitters from the great hitters is the ability to lay off those pitches outside the strike zone, and to wait for the ones you can do damage with. With Devers beginning to develop a bit of a reputation in Double-A he's going to continue being pitched around. This is where you want him learning patience, not at the major league level.
So all this being said I think we see Devers in the majors this year. This could be in June so the Sox can see what they have in him, and whether or not they need to trade for a big league third baseman, or it could be in August if they've exhausted all other options. Dombrowski has proven to be aggressive with promoting prospects, such as last year when he called up both Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada despite minimal stays in Double-A. Each of these prospects should provide a lesson for Sox fans eager for a Devers promotion. Benny Baseball was great right away but Moncada's MLB debut showed the dangers of rushing a prospect. It seems one way or another Devers is coming to the majors soon, and I just pray it's going to actually be in a Red Sox uniform.