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Double-A Portland manager Carlos Febles: Rafael Devers is way more advanced than Yoan Moncada was in 2016

Ryan Hannable
July 10, 2017 - 11:23 am

Double-A Portland manager Carlos Febles has managed several great young players in the last few years, including Yoan Moncada last year and now Rafael Devers this year.

According to Febles, the 20-year-old Devers is more advanced than Moncada (who many say is the top prospect in baseball) was last year.

“[Devers is] way [more] advanced,” said Febles, via Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. “Moncada was kind of a free swinger who would swing and miss a lot. That’s not Devers’s case. He has the ability to spread the field. When he’s at his best, he’s driving the ball all over the park, especially the other way. Moncada was basically one-dimensional. He had the ability to hit the ball the other way, but had a tough time recognizing pitches, especially the changeup. He couldn’t recognize the changeup. Devers is the other way around."

“The other thing is his defense. I think [Devers] would not struggle defensively. I think he’s a more refined defender than Moncada,” added Febles. “I know that he has things to work on defensively, but he’s not far away. That’s a guy that comes in, works hard, doesn’t like to make errors. If you’re hitting groundballs to him, he doesn’t like to bobble balls. He gets mad. He doesn’t just want to be another player. This guy wants to be great. He has the tools to do so.”

In 45 games with Portland last year as a 21-year-old, Moncada hit .277/.379/.531 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs. In 77 games with Portland this year, Devers is hitting .294/.352/.479 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs.

Both played in MLB's Futures Game for Team World on Sunday. It was both players' second appearance in the game. Devers appeared in 2015 in Cincinnati, but was clearly overmatched as an 18-year-old.

It wasn't the case this year, which he credits to the work he has put in over the last few seasons.

“I’ve been working really hard to put up the numbers I’ve had. It’s not by accident,” Devers said through a translator. “I don’t just want to get to the big leagues to get there. I want to get there and stay. My main focus is to learn the game and whenever that opportunity comes, I’m hoping to be ready. [The timetable is] out of my hands. I will let the front office make that decision. Whenever they feel I’m ready, I will pack my stuff and be there. Until then, I’ll just keep working.”

It would appear Devers has the inside track to be the Red Sox' starting third baseman in 2018.