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Red Sox Phenom Rafael Devers Is Taking over AL Pennant Race at Just 20 Years Old

Rafael Devers' official nickname is "Carita," the Spanish word for "baby face."

For the Boston Red Sox, though, he might as well go by "The Difference."

The 20-year-old third baseman didn't make his major league debut until July 25. Yet, he's already made the leap from a well-regarded but untested prospect to one of Major League Baseball's hottest hitters, not to mention the main driver of Boston's surge in the American League pennant race.

Devers owns a .350/.416/.700 slash line across 21 games. He collected his eighth home run on a hard shot to the deepest part of Fenway Park on Saturday, which MLB Stat of the Day and Elias Sports highlighted as a history-making dinger:

For the Red Sox, it amounts to a dream solution to what had been a nightmare problem. 

Whether it was Pablo Sandoval, Josh Rutledge or Deven Marrero manning the position, third base was an offensive black hole through the season's first four months. Making matters worse were the many reminders of what the Red Sox were missing.

Former Boston third baseman Travis Shaw was mashing for the Milwaukee Brewers while the guy the Red Sox traded him for, reliever Tyler Thornburg, recovered from season-ending surgery. Yoan Moncada, the elite infield prospect at the center of the Chris Sale trade, was thriving in the Chicago White Sox's farm system. And then, despite rumors about him going to Boston, the White Sox spurned the Red Sox by trading veteran slugger Todd Frazier to the New York Yankees.

It was fair to read the promotion of Devers—who was the youngest player in the majors up until the Atlanta Braves called up Ozzie Albies—as an act of desperation that could easily backfire. The Red Sox risked setting his development back and thus changing the setting on their third base problem from "Short Term" to "Long Term."

Instead, Devers has been exactly as advertised.

Devers was liked by scouts when the Red Sox signed him as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He was a top-100 prospect by 2015 and entered 2017 as a top-20 prospect.

Then he really took off, putting up a .955 OPS and hitting 20 homers in 86 games for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. In summing up his offensive profile, Jeffrey Paternostro and Ben Carsley of Baseball Prospectus wrote words that now sound awfully prescient:

"Rafael Devers may have the best overall offensive tool set in the minors right now. He can get pull-happy at times, and he takes his hacks, but he can cover just about everything including premium velocity. The power plays to all fields and is potential plus-plus in games in short order."

That last part sure checks out. Courtesy of, here's what it looks like when all of Devers' 2017 hits are put in a single spray chart:

His doubles and home runs have gone to all fields. If those hits were soldiers on a battlefield, he'd have the enemy surrounded.

With six homers to the left of center field, the left-handed swinger has mostly favored going the other way since he's gotten to the majors. That's a hell of a way to make a living at Fenway Park, where one need not crush the ball to get it off or over the Green Monster.

Yet Devers' capacity to put a charge into the ball must not be underestimated. He went into Sunday in a prominent spot on the MLB exit velocity leaderboard:

Rank Player AVG Exit Velo (MPH)
1 Aaron Judge 95.2
2 Joey Gallo 93.4
3 Nelson Cruz 93.1
4 Miguel Sano 92.8
5 Khris Davis 92.6
6 Rafael Devers 92.4
7 Paul Goldschmidt 91.7
T7 Manny Machado 91.7
T8 Ryan Zimmerman 91.7
10 Giancarlo Stanton 91.6

Some of this is due to how Devers picks his battles. He's not on Joey Votto's level, but his above-average walk rate is a testament to an approach that doesn't feature too many swings at bad pitches.

Mostly, though, Devers' thump stems from his ability to get the barrel to the ball regardless of the pitch. Nothing illustrates that like the time he took a 103-mile-per-hour Aroldis Chapman fastball for a long ride at Yankee Stadium:

That's at least the fastest pitch hit for a homer since 2008, and quite possibly the fastest pitch ever hit for a homer. FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan has a terrific piece that shows how it was made possible by adjustments Devers was making on the fly as he squared off against Chapman.

Regardless of the specifics, Devers is faring about as well against good velocity as Paternostro and Carsley teased he would. The average fastball is 92.2 mph. Fastballs clocked at 93 mph and above are leaving his bat at an average of 100.9 mph, helping to earn him a 1.143 slugging percentage.

The obligatory words of warning are that 21 games isn't a large sample size and that pitchers are bound to find a weakness in Devers' game and look to exploit it. This is the way of things.

Great hitters, however, are able to adjust back. And all the evidence on the table right now sure suggests Devers is on his way to being a great hitter.

As it is, he's already transformed Boston's offense. Before he arrived, it had a .735 OPS and was averaging one homer per game. Since he arrived, it has an .800 OPS and has averaged 1.3 homers per game.

Although his bat is far ahead of his glove, Devers has even pitched in on defense as well. Never more so than when he started a triple play against the St. Louis Cardinals last week.

"He's very special. He's been doing everything you possibly can do," Boston center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said this weekend, per Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. "What more can you ask for? He's been able to step up in big situations, and he's handled it like he's a veteran."

The club's fortunes have changed accordingly. The Red Sox are 16-6 since Devers debuted. Their lead in the AL East has gone from two games to five games. Their deficit behind the Houston Astros for the American League's best record has gone from 12 games to 4.5 games. And, according to FanGraphs, their odds of making the World Series are now about as good as any AL team's.

Hence, the nickname their young third baseman ought to have.


Data courtesy of Baseball ReferenceFanGraphs, Baseball Savant and

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Rangers Teammates Joey Gallo, Matt Bush in Concussion Protocol After Colliding

An infield collision between Texas Rangers teammates Matt Bush and Joey Gallo caused both players to leave the game early and enter the concussion protocol, according to

The incident took place on an infield pop-up in Sunday's game against the Chicago White Sox. Neither player will travel with the team for Monday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Fox 4 captured the play, which was an easy catch for the third baseman Gallo:

Bush, who began his career as a shortstop, also went for the ball and ended up colliding with him. The relief pitcher also injured his knee while Gallo suffered a bloody nose.

Gallo has been one of the top power hitters in the majors in his first full season. The 23-year-old is hitting just .205, but he has 35 home runs to lead Texas and rank third in baseball behind only Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

It has also been a solid season for Bush, who has a 3.04 ERA after making one out Sunday. The former No. 1 overall draft pick has re-established himself as a pitcher and has come through with 10 saves and seven holds on the season.

With the Rangers still competing for a wild-card spot in the American League—they are 2.5 games back after the loss to Chicago—losing two key players could be extremely damaging.

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Bartolo Colon Becomes 18th Pitcher to Defeat All 30 MLB Teams

The Minnesota Twins' 12-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sunday's matchup was more than just another regular-season game in the dog days of summer; it was history for Bartolo Colon.

According to Jonah Birenbaum of The Score, the 44-year-old became just the 18th pitcher to notch a victory against all 30 Major League Baseball teams since the league expanded in 1998.  


This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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MLB Umpires Drop Wristband Protest, Agree to Meet with Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball umpires have agreed to end their white wristband protest after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to a meeting to address their concerns.

"Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based," the umpires said in a statement. "We appreciate the Commissioner's willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting."

Umpires began their protest Saturday, wearing white wristbands as a sign of solidarity over what they feel is unfair treatment from players. The issue most bothersome to the umpires was MLB's decision to fine but not suspend Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who made critical comments about umpire Angel Hernandez.

"The Office of the Commissioner has failed to address this and other escalating attacks on umpires," the umpires said in a statement Saturday. "The player who denigrated Hernandez publicly said he thought he would be suspended. Instead [he] got far more lenient treatment—a fine. He shrugged that off and told reporters he has 'no regrets' about his offensive statements calling for an end to Hernandez's career.

"The Office of the Commissioner's lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It's 'open season' on umpires, and that's bad for the game."

Kinsler said he was unaffected by the umpires' decision to wear the wristbands.

"I really don't think too deeply into it," Kinsler told reporters. "I hope they wear the white wristbands for the rest of their careers. I don't care. I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, that's their problem."

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Kinsler's fine was the largest he has ever seen for a player. Ausmus spent 18 seasons in MLB as a player and has been the Tigers' manager since 2014.

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Mike Trout Joins 2 Players to Have Six 25-Homer Seasons Before Age-26 Season

Fact: Mike Trout hit his 25th and 26th home runs of the year on Saturday, his sixth 25-homer season before his age-26 season. He joins Frank Robinson and Eddie Mathews as the only players to accomplish this in MLB history. 

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Facts of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: @MLBStatoftheDay

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Mike Trout Joins 2 Players to Have Six 25-Homer Seasons Before Age-26 Season

Fact: Mike Trout hit his 25th and 26th home runs of the year on Saturday, his sixth 25-homer season before his age-26 season. He joins Frank Robinson and Eddie Mathews as the only players to accomplish this in MLB history. 

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Facts of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: @MLBStatoftheDay

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Manny Machado Joined 3 Orioles Players to Have Multiple 3-Homer Games

Fact: Manny Machado hit three home runs in the Baltimore Orioles' 9-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night, his second such game in his career. He joins Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, Goose Goslin and Chris Davis as the only players in franchise history to have multiple three-homer games. 

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Facts of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: B/R Insights

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Manny Machado Joined 3 Orioles Players to Have Multiple 3-Homer Games

Fact: Manny Machado hit three home runs in the Baltimore Orioles' 9-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night, his second such game in his career. He joins Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, Goose Goslin and Chris Davis as the only players in franchise history to have multiple three-homer games. 

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Facts of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: B/R Insights

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Clayton Kershaw Expected to Make Rehab Start Next Weekend, Says Dave Roberts

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said ace Clayton Kershaw is expected to make a rehabilitation start with either Tulsa or Oklahoma City next weekend, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

He is also scheduled to throw three innings of a simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA.

Kershaw, 29, has been out of action since July 23 with a back issue. That interrupted another phenomenal season from the three-time Cy Young Award-winner, as he was 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 168 strikeouts in 141.1 innings.

The Dodgers (87-34) are within reach of finishing the season with an MLB-record 117 wins, but the health of Kershaw is the most important storyline for the team as it seeks to win its first World Series title since 1988. No player is more important to the team's championship hopes and, for that reason, the Dodgers have remained patient with his rehab.

"I think it just makes sense for us to be cautious," Roberts said on Aug. 9, per "We just don't want to put ourselves in any situation where there's a setback. The calendar's on our side. I know that Clayton resists that. But I think as an organization it's best for him and best for all of us to err on the side of caution."

Barring a major collapse, the Dodgers will secure the top overall seed in the NL postseason. So playing it safe with Kershaw's return makes sense. The ultimate goal is having Kershaw to pair with Yu Darvish and the rest of the team's excellent starting staff come October.

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Aaron Judge Breaks Record for Most Consecutive Games with Strikeout

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge set an MLB record Saturday by striking out in his 36th consecutive game.

According to's Bryan Hoch, Judge broke the record previously set by Montreal Expos pitcher Bill Stoneman in 1971:

Judge took sole possession of the dubious distinction when Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale struck him out swinging in the top of the fifth inning.

Judge previously broke the record for most consecutive games with a strikeout by a position player on Wednesday against the New York Mets, surpassing Adam Dunn.

Despite his recent struggles, Judge is having a spectacular season that will almost certainly net him the American League Rookie of the Year award and warrant AL MVP consideration as well.

He is hitting .286 with 37 home runs and 80 RBI, and he is among the biggest reasons the Yankees currently hold the AL's top wild-card spot.

Judge hit .329 with 30 homers and 66 RBI in the first half of the season, but entering Saturday's game, he was hitting just .181 with seven home runs and 14 RBI in 33 second-half games.

The 25-year-old is second in the American League in strikeouts behind only Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano, and he is projected to finish with 218.

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Tom Koehler Traded to Blue Jays for Minor League Prospect Osman Gutierrez

The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired right-handed pitcher Tom Koehler from the Miami Marlins.

The Blue Jays announced the deal that sends minor league pitcher Osman Gutierrez to the Marlins for Koehler.


This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Cody Bellinger Suffers Ankle Injury During Dodgers vs. Tigers

Los Angeles Dodgers star rookie Cody Bellinger left Saturday's game against the Detroit Tigers in the seventh inning after suffering an apparent ankle injury.

According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Bellinger rolled his ankle while making a catch in right field in the sixth inning.

Plunkett added that Bellinger was diagnosed with a mild right ankle sprain and is considered day-to-day.

Yasiel Puig pinch hit for Bellinger in the seventh with the game tied 0-0.

The 22-year-old Bellinger is in the midst of a spectacular season that should net him the National League Rookie of the Year award, as well as NL MVP consideration.

He is hitting .274 with 79 RBI, and his 34 home runs are second only to Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton's 44 in the National League.

Bellinger has also been valuable to the Dodgers due to his versatility in the field. He has primarily played first base but also has seen action in left field and right field.

With Adrian Gonzalez healthy and able to play first, Bellinger may be used more often in the outfield down the stretch provided his injury isn't serious.

If Bellinger does have to miss some time, L.A. has solid depth in the outfield, including Puig, Chris Taylor and the newly acquired Curtis Granderson.

The Dodgers entered play Saturday with an MLB-best 86-34 record, and a 19-game lead in the NL West.

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Aroldis Chapman Removed as Yankees Closer Following 4 Straight Poor Outings

As Aroldis Chapman continues to struggle, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi sounds like he is open to a closer by committee. 

Per's Bryan Hoch, Girardi said prior to Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox he will use Chapman "at any point" during games and the team does "not necessarily" have a predetermined closer. 

Chapman returned to the Yankees in the offseason, signing a five-year deal after the team dealt him to the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline in 2016. 

The 29-year-old left-hander has struggled this season, missing one month earlier this season due to rotator cuff tendinitis. Chapman has the highest ERA (4.29), lowest strikeout rate (12.6 per nine innings) and highest hit rate (8.1 per nine innings) of his career. 

Since the All-Star break, he has been particularly ineffective. He owns a 5.40 ERA with 12 hits allowed and 10 walks in 15 innings and has given up at least one earned run in each of his last four appearances. 

The Yankees added quality depth to their bullpen at the trade deadline, acquiring David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.

New York is five games behind the Red Sox in the American League East and can't afford to give up anymore games if it wants to win the division to avoid playing in the one-game wild-card playoff. 


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MLB Umps Wear White Wristbands to Protest Increased Verbal Attacks by Players

The World Umpires Association, which represents MLB umpires, issued a statement Saturday saying its members will wear white wristbands "to protest escalating verbal attacks on umpires and their strong objection to the Office of the Commissioner's response to the verbal attacks." 

The complete statement can be viewed below: 

The WUA also relayed a photo of umpire Joe West donning the white wristband: 

Comments from both umpires and players have forced Major League Baseball to take disciplinary action in recent weeks. 

The first incident involved West, who was suspended three games for calling Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre the game's biggest complainer. 

"Every pitch you call that's a strike, he says, 'Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!'" West told USA Today. "I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, 'That ball is outside.'"

The second incident involved Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler and umpire Angel Hernandez. 

Still fuming after he was ejected from Monday's game against the Rangers in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes, Kinsler unloaded during a postgame meeting with reporters. 

"No, I'm surprised at how bad an umpire he is," Kinsler said, per the Detroit News' Chris McCosky. "I don't know how, for as many years he's been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to re-evaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line.

"If I get fined for saying the truth, then so be it. He's messing with baseball games, blatantly."

Kinsler was subsequently fined by Major League Baseball but avoided a suspension. 

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Dodgers’ Yu Darvish Placed on 10-Day DL with Back Injury

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Saturday that starting pitcher Yu Darvish will be placed on the 10-day disabled list with a back injury, according to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA.

Roberts also told Rizzo that the injury isn't serious, and Darvish is scheduled to pitch on Aug. 27 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Darvish left the Dodgers' 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday due to back tightness after pitching six innings.

The Dodgers acquired Darvish from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline. The right-handed starter added more high-impact depth to a rotation that leads Major League Baseball with a 3.18 ERA.

In three starts for the Dodgers, Darvish is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 11 strikeouts per nine innings.

Darvish also provided the Dodgers with some insurance for Clayton Kershaw, who was placed on the disabled list on July 24 due to a back injury with no definite timetable for his return.

For all of the things that have gone right for the Dodgers in 2017, injuries to the starting rotation have been a problem. Brandon McCarthy has spent time on the disabled list due to a blister problem. Scott Kazmir hasn't pitched at all due to a hip injury. Alex Wood missed one start in May due to a shoulder injury. 

The addition of Darvish, who has 170 strikeouts in 155 innings, was supposed to give Roberts more versatility with his starters. 

The Dodgers will coast into the postseason with the best record in MLB and a 19-game lead in the National League West, which gives them the luxury of allowing Darvish to spend some time on the DL, even if his injury isn't significant. 

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Joc Pederson Optioned to Triple-A After Dodgers Trade for Curtis Granderson

The MLB-leading Los Angeles Dodgers optioned outfielder Joc Pederson to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday, according to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA.

The move came after the Dodgers acquired veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson from the New York Mets in a trade Friday for cash considerations and a player to be named later.

Pederson had been struggling mightily this season to the tune of a .215 batting average, 11 home runs and 33 RBI.

He hit 26 home runs as a rookie in 2015 and was named to the National League All-Star team, but a massive second-half slump resulted in him hitting .210 that season.

Pederson bounced back in 2016, however, to hit a career-best .246 with 25 homers and 68 RBI.

The 25-year-old had been starting fairly regularly for the Dodgers in center field this season, but they have a number of options at their disposal.

Yasiel Puig is a fixture in right field, the surprising Chris Taylor plays both left and right, NL Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Cody Bellinger plays left when he isn't at first base, and utility man Enrique Hernandez can play all over the field.

Granderson's arrival gives the Dodgers a ton of outfield depth, and Pederson's struggles mixed with his general lack of positional flexibility made him expendable.

A trip to the minors should allow Pederson to work on his swing, and it is likely he will be back in the big leagues before long with rosters set to expand on Sept. 1.


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Curtis Granderson Traded to Dodgers for Player to Be Named Later or Cash

The Los Angeles Dodgers traded for New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson on Friday, the Dodgers announced.

The Mets will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations. 

Granderson, 36, has continued to be productive well into his 30s.

In 2016, he hit .237 with 30 home runs, 59 RBI and 88 runs scored, his third straight season with at least 20 homers. While he's never hit for a particularly high average and he's no longer a threat on the basepaths, Granderson continues to provide solid pop from the outfield. 

This season, Granderson has slashed .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs, 52 RBI and a solid .815 OPS. 

Granderson's departure represents another shakeup for the Mets outfield, as Jay Bruce was traded this month. As things stand, Granderson is earning $15 million in the final year of his contract before he hits the open market this winter, per Spotrac

Adding Granderson is a win-now move for the Dodgers. The deal is a signal that Los Angeles is attempting to fortify its bench with additional power bats in advance of the postseason. 

The Mets are still loaded in the outfield, meanwhile, with Yoenis Cespedes in left and a platoon of Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares in center. That made the veteran Granderson expendable and will clear some playing time for the team's other outfield options.

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Know How To Write? We’re Hiring

So… whatever regulars that are still around might have noticed: content is thin these days. The reasons for this are long and potentially boring, but maybe one day I’ll write my memoirs and delight you guys on the best way to run a website into the ground. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little fight left in me, and I’ve decided it’s time to hire someone to write for OhGizmo! again.

It won’t pay much, but you’ll be read by a quarter million readers monthly. There’s a contact form right here (and up on the nav bar too, if you bother to look), where you can submit your candidacy, and I’ll be reviewing applications. You need to be able to write well and be interested in tech; I’m assuming if you’re reading this in the first place you already have part 2 nailed down. Past writers have gone on to become fully employed writers at legit professional publications, like Gizmodo and IEEE, so who knows where you might end up. Either bored or a millionaire… or somewhere in between.

We’ll discuss compensation when you apply, but don’t expect to buy a yacht with this money. But hey, if you’re finding yourself browsing the web all day and occasionally think “Geez, this OhGizmo! site sure could use some of my talent.”, then why not try it out and make a few bucks in the process?