Rafael Devers is having a breakout year, no doubt about it, 503AB / 167H / 27HR / .332BA, and a new milestone of 101 RBI. Devers could be something new and big for the Red Sox and their future, if they can hold onto him. Crazily, we are comparing his first three years in the league with that of Ken Griffey Jr.'s. Of course we are comparing their batting, not fielding because one was a center fielder and one is a third baseman. That's just a whole different discussion for a different time. So here it is: Carita vs The Kid.
Ken Griffey Jr: The Kid
Ken Griffey Jr, that's virtually it. The Kid was one of baseball's most exciting players during his tenure in the league. Getting his name from his 2x World Series Champion father, Ken Griffey, the Kid had high expectations.
In his first three seasons, he was 1989 AL Rookie of the Year, 2x All Star, and finished in the top 20 players that were considered for AL MVP. Griffey Jr's first three years in the league, his average rose every season. .264, .300, and .327(career high), which totals to .297. He had a total of 60 home runs and 478 hits from 1989 to 1991.
Griffey Jr. would go on to have a Hall Of Fame career, with a total of 2781 hits, 630 home runs, and an average of .284. The Kid would also win the Gold Glove Award 10 times, the Silver Slugger Award 7 times in his career, and play in the All-Star Game 13 times, with a MVP award from 1997. Ken Griffey Jr. would be inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2016.
Rafael Devers: Carita
If you told me at the beginning of this season that this would be Rafael Devers' year, I would believe it, Devers had a great 2018 postseason. And it was a prelude to something bigger.
We are already half way through the 2019 MLB regular season, and Devers has been consistent and pushing himself throughout this season. There are numbers to prove it, he has an average of .332, 27 home runs, and 167 hits. We are in the early stages of Devers' baseball career, and so far he has shown us an average of .288, 58 home runs, and 338 hits. When you compare the two players, you can see that Devers' average and home runs are similar to Ken Griffey Jr's after three years. Carita leads the entire league in hits, RBI, and extra base hits.
"He's a grown man-child, you see him go about his business and you’re like, look at that little 6-year-old. Then he swings and you’re like holy (expletive)."Red Sox 2nd Baseman Michael Chavis on Rafael Devers
The awesomeness of Rafael Devers has laid dormant for the past two years, but every volcano erupts at some point.
What's To Prove?
You might think I'm crazy comparing a 7x Silver Slugger, 13x All-Star, 1999 MVP, and MLB Hall of Fame outfielder to a 22 year-old third baseman who is having a breakout year. What's to prove for Rafael Devers? Easy, everything.
The fact that young Rafael Devers is being noticed as an option for 2019 AL MVP is amazing:
The entire Red Sox team is speechless in what Rafael Devers is doing:
"I'm running out of stuff to say about him."Red Sox 1st Baseman Mitch Moreland on Rafael Devers
Even Alex Cora is praising the rising star:
"The kid, he keeps working. He's not taking anything for granted."Red Sox Manager Alex Cora on Rafael Devers
Devers is only 22, and his numbers are on the road towards Ken Griffey Jr. Just last week, Rafael Devers went 6-6 with 4 doubles and 3 RBI in a 7-6 win against the Indians. For a team that has been struggling with their games, pitching, defense, offense, the entire year, Rafael Devers has been the reason the Red Sox continue to fight for their chance in October.