Rafael Devers entered the season as the top prospect in the Red Sox’ system. The 20-year-old wasn’t expected to see significant time at the big league level, other than a cursory look as a September call-up.
Over 86 games between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Devers slashed .311/.377/.578 with 20 homers and 60 RBI in 358 plate appearances.
Given the poor production that the Red Sox received from the third base position though and Devers’ massive success in the minor leagues, he forced their hand and earned a promotion in late July. He hasn’t stopped hitting since.
On Sunday night, against their rivals in New York, Devers etched his name into Red Sox lore.
With the club trailing by a run entering the ninth inning, Aroldis Chapman emerged from the Yankees’ bullpen throwing smoke. He fanned Hanley Ramirez on three pitches over 100 mph, the last of which touched 103.
After seeing a couple of pitches and falling behind in the count 1-2, the rookie third baseman clobbered an 102.8 mph offering 423 feet to the opposite field for a game-tying home run.
That’s extremely impressive for a variety of reasons, aside from Devers being a 20-year-old rookie playing in just his 15th game at the big league level.
It was the first home run that Chapman had allowed this season in 33 2/3 innings of work.
It was just the second home run that Chapman had ever allowed to a left-handed batter. The only other time the deed was done was by Luke Scott in June of 2011. He had gone 387 straight plate appearances against same-handed hitters without allowing a ball to leave the yard.
It was just the sixth home run that Chapman had ever surrendered in a two-strike count. Prior to Sunday’s game, Chapman had allowed an opposing slash of just .101/.187/.131 across 1106 plate appearances once the count got to two strikes.
At 102.8 mph, it was the fastest pitch that has ever been hit for a home run since the Statcast era began in 2008.
Mighty impressive indeed.
Devers has been remarkable thus far, slashing .328/.391/.586 with four homers and 10 RBI in his first 64 plate appearances.
He should be owned in all mixed leagues going forward and should be a staple at the hot corner for the Red Sox for the next decade.
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Giancarlo Stanton has been putting on a power display unlike many that the world has ever seen.
On Sunday Stanton homered in his fourth consecutive game, lining a 3-2 pitch over the wall in right field for his 42nd home run of the season. That total is significant, as it ties Gary Sheffield’s franchise record.
It was also the 250th home run of Stanton’s young career. He met that milestone in just his 941st career game, making him the sixth fastest in big league history to each that mark.
He is on an epic power binge at the moment, blasting 21 homers in his last 33 games. It took him 81 games to swat his first 21 homers of the season.
In the past 20 years, only four other players have hit 21 home runs or more during a 33-game stretch. That feat had only been accomplished by the likes of Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Shawn Green.
Stanton is completely locked in at the plate at the moment and is having a career year during his age-27 season. He’s slashing .281/.371/.635 with 42 homers, 88 runs scored and 90 RBI. The 42 long balls are already the highest total of his career and he should blow past the 105 RBI he had during the 2014 season.
Avoiding a Scare
Arenado was immediately lifted from the game and went into the clubhouse with the team trainer, but fortunately X-rays came back negative.
He has been diagnosed with a left hand contusion and is considered day-to-day.
The 26-year-old is in the midst of an MVP-caliber season, slashing .311/.361/.585 with 26 homers and 100 RBI.
Harper Dodges Bullet
On Sunday, the Nationals were able to breathe a sigh of relief when an MRI revealed that star outfielder Bryce Harper is just dealing with a bone bruise on his left knee, but did not suffer any structural damage.
General manager Mike Rizzo admitted that he was shocked there wasn’t any damage to the ligament after how horrible Harper’s fall looked on Saturday. "There is no ligament or tendon damage, which is pretty remarkable in my mind, just seeing the type of injury he had," Rizzo said. "We feel we've dodged a bullet a bit here."
He was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday where’s expected to remain for several weeks, though the Nationals do expect him to return before the end of the regular season.
Harper sustained the injury during Saturday’s game where he slipped on first base. Haper’s agent, Scott Boras, publicly blamed poor field conditions for the incident.
With the Nationals holding a massive lead in the National League East, there’s no reason to rush Harper back into action and they’ll take every precaution in his recovery. He should have no problem returning to full strength before the playoffs begin in October.
While Harper’s injury won’t hurt the Nationals’ chances of making the postseason, it could hurt his chance of taking home the National League MVP award. He is enjoying another outstanding season, slashing .326/.419/.614 with 29 homers, 87 RBI and 92 runs scored for a team that is running away with a division title. Missing several weeks of action though will hurt his chances.
In the short term, the club will rely upon Michael Taylor (who was activated from the disabled list on Sunday) to help fill the massive void that Harper’s injury has left in the Nationals’ lineup.
American League Quick Hits: Miguel Cabrera sat out Sunday’s game due to lower back stiffness… Ian Kinsler missed Sunday’s contest with swelling on his hand after being hit by a pitch on Saturday. Also, the window for him to be dealt after his waiver claim has expired and Kinsler will finish the season with the Tigers… Jason Kipnis missed another game with a minor right hamstring injury… David Price (elbow) threw without issue for the third consecutive day on Sunday… Greg Bird (ankle) is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday… J.A. Happ struck out eight over six innings of one-run ball to beat the Pirates… Whit Merrifield went 3-for-6 with a homer, triple and five RBI as the Royals routed the White Sox… Dallas Keuchel earned his first victory since returning from the disabled list, allowing one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings against the Rangers… Ken Giles recorded the final six outs against the Rangers to earn his 23rd save… Trevor Hildenberger got the last four outs against the Tigers to earn his first career save. He’s a name to keep an eye on for those speculating on saves… Manny Machado went 3-for-4 with a homer and a triple in a loss to the Athletics… Matt Joyce went 2-for-4 with a jack and a bag in a win over the O’s… The Astros acquired Tyler Clippard from the White Sox for a player to be named later of cash considerations. Clippard is the fifth late-inning reliever that the White Sox have traded in the past month.
National League Quick Hits: The Padres signed manager Andy Green to a contract extension that runs through the 2021 season… Travis Shaw sat out Sunday’s game after fouling a ball off his foot on Saturday. He’s expected to return for Tuesday’s series opener against the Pirates… Clayton Kershaw (back) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Wednesday in Los Angeles… Chad Bettis (cancer) will make his season debut on Monday against the Braves… Francisco Cervelli left Sunday’s game due to a recurrence of pain in his left hand… Brian Goodwin was pulled from the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader due to tightness in his groin… Chris Stratton fired 6 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out 10 as the Giants took the first game of Sunday’s twin bill from the Nationals… Paul DeJong clubbed his 18th home run in a losing effort against the Braves… Curtis Granderson homered and plated three runs in a victory over the Phillies… Cory Spangenberg homered twice and drove in three runs in a loss to the Dodgers… Justin Turner blasted a pair of home runs in a win over the Dodgers. He’s now slashing .346/.436/.573 with 17 bombs on the season and has two multi-homer games in his last six… Paul Goldschmidt belted his 28th home run in a losing effort against the Cubs… Kris Bryant went 3-for-4 with a homer, leading the Cubs to victory there… Max Scherzer fanned 10 over seven innings of two-run ball in a no-decision against the Giants… Howie Kendrick launched a walk-off grand slam in the 11th inning, leading the Nationals past the Giants in the nightcap of Sunday’s twin bill… Joe Panik made it through the concussion protocol without issue on Sunday after being tagged in the head while sliding into home plate. He’ll get a regularly scheduled day off on Monday but shouldn’t miss any additional time.