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5 stats that show Rafael Devers is enjoying one of best starts in Red Sox history

Alex Reimer
August 21, 2017 - 3:50 pm

When the Red Sox called up Rafael Devers July 25, they were in the midst of a public relations crisis. Two days earlier, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy published an expose on David Price’s ugly airplane confrontation with beloved Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Even though the Red Sox were in first place, negative stories continued to surround the team. It didn’t seem like a pennant run was in the club’s foreseeable future.

Roughly one month later, the Red Sox’ fortunes have changed. They’ve gone 15-6 since Devers was called up and now own a five-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East. The rookie sensation has done more than stabilize third base. He’s helped save the season. 

Devers, 20, broke into the Red Sox’ record book within his first week in the big leagues. He collected four hits against the Indians July 31, becoming just the fourth player in team history who’s 20 years old or younger to have four or more hits over the last 100 years –– joining Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Dalton Jones and Tony Conigliaro. 

From there, he’s only gotten more impressive. Through 21 games, Devers is batting .350 with eight home runs and an 1.116 OPS. The high point of his young career came Aug. 14, when he smacked a game-tying 103 mile per hour fastball from Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman into the left field stands. 

Devers continued to pound the Yankees over the weekend, smacking two home runs in three games. Boston took two games against the Bombers to win the series. 

As the Red Sox inch closer to October, Devers will likely continue to put himself in rarified company. He’s enjoyed one of the best starts to a career in Red Sox history, and the five feats below prove it:

First player to hit three home runs in three straight games against the Yankees since Babe Ruth

Ruth homered in consecutive contests against the Yankees in 1915. More than 100 years later, Devers accomplished that Saturday, when he blasted a solo shot off reliever Adam Warren. Devers’ previous two home runs against the Yankees were to the opposite field.

Only player to ever hit as many as eight home runs in first 20 games before turning 21 (Rob Bradford

Many all-time greats have debuted at young ages: Jimmie Foxx (17), Mel Ott (19), Alex Rodriguez (18), Mickey Mantle (19). None of them displayed the power that Devers has.

Devers is closer in age to all kids in Little League World Series than he is to Dustin Pedroia (@CespedesBBQ

Pedroia is 34 years old; Devers is 20. He has the baby face to prove it.

Only Red Sox hitter in last 100 years to hit safely in 17 of first 20 MLB games (Rob Bradford)

The only other players to accomplish this feat before turning 21 are Roberto Clemente (1955) and Ivan Rodriguez (1991). Both are in the Hall of Fame.

Devers has hit more than half as many home runs as Pablo Sandoval hit in 2.5 seasons with Red Sox (Jared Carrabis

It took Sandoval 620 plate appearances to hit 14 home runs. Devers has already smacked eight in 89 PA’s. But, he’s still waiting to break his first belt. At least Sandoval has him beat there. 

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