For five seasons we’ve watched Rafael Devers develop at the big league level. And while he’ll likely rake for years to come, today is a bit of a milestone: Devers’ 25th birthday.
The Red Sox signed Raffy Devers as an international free agent in 2013 when he was just 16 years old. After 399 minor league games, he made his Major League debut on July 25, 2017, playing all 13 innings of a road game at Seattle.
Power Right From the Start
Devers’ first hit—a home run—came the next day when he was 2-for-4 in a win over the Mariners. Batting ninth that Wednesday afternoon, he became the first Boston batter with a home run in his first two career games since Daniel Nava on June 12, 2010 (also a No. 9 batter) and the first to do it in a road game since Kevin Youkilis on May 15, 2004.
Devers was just the sixth Red Sox ever (and the 48th in American League history) to club a home run from the No. 9 spot in the order within his first two career games, and the second ever to do that in a road game, matching Tom Winsett on April 14, 1938 in New York against the Yankees.
Too Much To Count
Capturing all that Devers has accomplished so far is practically impossible. There are too many accolades to list. But here are some real standouts that have made Raffy Devers one the game’s premier offensive forces.
Since his debut season, no American Leaguer has more plate appearances (2344) and games played (548) than Devers. He’s second in baseball for both categories only to the Braves Ozzie Albies (2440 PA, 560 G).
Of baseball’s youngest stars, Devers shines brightly.
- Since his debut, Devers’ 598 hits were the most of any AL player before turning 25 years old. He topped that list of players for career doubles (145), home runs (112) and RBI (367). His total walks (179) are 2nd-most in the AL only to former teammate Andrew Benintendi (200).
- He is the only player ever to hit 8+ home runs in his first 20 MLB games, all before turning 21.
- In 2018, Devers became the youngest Red Sox batter ever to go 5-for-5 or better in a game, as he did on June 30 against the Yankees.
- In 2019 Devers set the club’s single-season record for doubles by a player under 25, tying Dustin Pedroia (in 2008) with 54 two-baggers. That year Devers’ .916 OPS was 5th-best single-season mark in club history for a player under 25.
- Devers was one of just 30 MLB players ever with at least 70 HR and 100 doubles prior to turning 24 years old. The only other Red Sox to do that has Hall of Famer Ted Williams.
- Since 2017, among MLB players with at least 1500 plate appearances before 25, Devers’ .279 career AVG is the best in the AL and 3rd-best in baseball after Juan Soto (.304) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (.281).
In The Red Sox Record Book
This season Devers became the 33rd player to hit 100 home runs with the Red Sox, but only the 3rd to do so before turning 25, joining Willams (127) and Tony Conigliaro (124). Devers (in 2019 and 2021) and Williams (in 1939, 1941 and 1942) are the only players in club history with multiple 30-HR seasons before turning 25.
Among all-time Red Sox under 25, Devers ranks 2nd for career home runs and extra-base hits (263) after Williams (127 HR, 314 XBH), 3rd for doubles (145) and RBI (367), 4th for total bases (1091), 5th for runs scored (355), 6th for games played, 7th for hits (598) and times on base (791), and 12th for walks (179).
With his extra-base hits Devers joined Williams (314), and Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr (260) as only Red Sox with 250+ XBH before turning 25.
In 2021 Devers’ 38 home runs were 2nd-most in franchise history after 39 by Hall of Famer Jim Rice in 1977.
At the same time, and perhaps owing to his place in this generation of players, Devers had the most strikeouts of all Red Sox before turning 25. His punch out tally ranked 16th-most in Major League history among players as young, with all but five of the players with more such strikeouts appearing in games after 2001.