Rafael Devers‘ torrid start to his major league career continued Saturday as the Boston Red Sox rookie third baseman belted his eighth home run in just his 20th career game. The Red Sox suffered a 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees, though, who moved to within four games of first place in the American League East.
The 20-year-old, who’s ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the game according to MLB.com, is the first player in major league history with eight-plus homers through his first 20 games before turning 21, per Elias. He’s also the first player since Babe Ruth (1915) to homer in three straight games against the Yankees at 20 years old or younger.
Devers’ solo homer Saturday, which was near the triangle in center field at Fenway Park, came off Yankees right-hander Adam Warren and brought the Red Sox to within a run in the seventh. He wasn’t the only rookie to homer in the game as Yankees designated hitter Tyler Austin hit a three-run home run off Chris Sale over the Green Monster in the second.
Entering Saturday, Devers was hitting .356/.420/.699 with 15 RBIs and four doubles through the first 81 plate appearances of his career. His 26 hits recorded in his first 19 games were the most by a Red Sox rookie since Johnny Pesky (26, 1942). Ron Swoboda was the only other player in major league history with seven-plus homers through his first 19 career games while with the New York Mets in 1965, per Elias.
Devers’ first home run in his frenzy against the Yankees was a go-ahead shot off Aroldis Chapman in a come-from-behind victory on Sunday Night Baseball last week. He then took Jordan Montgomery deep with an opposite-field home run in Friday’s win.
By Ryan Posner