Bill Baer

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Rafael Devers becomes sixth player since 1903 to hit postseason home run before turning 21

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Through the first two games of the ALDS, the Red Sox never held a lead against the Astros. No surprise, then, they entered Sunday’s Game 3 down two games to none. The universe seemed to be bending towards a series sweep when the Red Sox fell behind 3-0 after the third inning.

Rafael Devers had other ideas. The Sox scored once in the second and plated another run in the third. Hanley Ramirez then tied the game with an RBI single, plating Mitch Moreland. That brought up Devers, who was hitless in five at-bats entering the action Sunday. Facing lefty reliever Francisco Liriano, Devers fouled off a fastball before slugging an 87 MPH slider out to right-center field for a lead-changing two-run home run.

Devers turns 21 years old on October 24, so he’s 20 years and 349 days old. The only players to hit a postseason home run at a younger age, dating back to 1903, according to Baseball Reference:

  • Miguel Cabrera: four home runs in 2003 playoffs, age 20 and 172 days to 20 and 187 days
  • Manny Machado: Game 3 of 2012 ALDS, 20 years and 96 days
  • Bryce Harper: Game 5 of 2012 NLDS, 19 years and 362 days
  • Andruw Jones: two home runs in 1996 playoffs, 19 years and 177 days; 19 years, 180 days

Mickey Mantle was slightly older than Devers when he homered in Games 6 and 7 of the 1952 World Series, age 20 and 352-353 days. These six are the only players to hit a postseason homer before turning 21.

Devers lived up to the hype as a highly touted prospect, batting .284/.338/.482 with 10 home runs, 30 RBI, and 34 runs scored in 240 plate appearances in the regular season after making his major league debut on July 25. The Red Sox are hoping he has plenty of postseason homers left in his bat.