20 Under 25: Rafael Devers is knocking on the door of superstardom

Darren Hartwell

In August 2015, an 18-year-old Rafael Devers was taking his hacks on the Boston Red Sox' Single-A affiliate Greenville Drive.

Two years later, on Aug. 13, 2017, he drilled a game-tying, ninth-inning home run off fireballing closer Aroldis Champan at Yankee Stadium.

Exactly two years after that, he made history by going 6-for-6 with four doubles in the Red Sox' win over the Cleveland Indians.

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Such has been the meteoric rise of Devers, a 22-year-old Dominican Republic native who has gone from Single-A player to dark-horse American League MVP candidate in under five seasons.

Seriously: After Tuesday's mashfest, Devers now leads the AL in RBIs (93), doubles (43) and total bases (279) while ranking second in batting average (.325). Add in 24 home runs and a .947 OPS, and the hard-swinging third baseman is suddenly one of the most well-rounded hitters in the league.

There's room for improvement, of course. He still chases the occasional bad pitch and is one season removed from a 121-strikeout campaign in which he hit .240. Devers' fielding also has yet to improve, as evidenced by his 18 errors through 115 games that are the most among any third baseman in baseball.

But Devers has always had raw talent, and it appears he's already starting to put it all together. Just imagine where he'll be in August 2021.

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20 Under 25: Rafael Devers is knocking on the door of superstardom originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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