With Brian Anderson recently placed on the injured list and Miguel Rojas getting a rest in the midst of the Marlins’ grueling road trip, José Devers made his major league debut Saturday night as Miami’s starting second baseman against the Giants. At the age of 21 years and 138 days, he became the youngest Marlins player to appear in a regular season game since José Fernández in 2013.
Expectations for his performance were understandably modest. Devers has been rushed to The Show under unusual circumstances—he isn’t yet fully developed. His only professional experience above the High-A level has come during the Arizona Fall League and Grapefruit League.
However, Devers is ready to contribute defensively. He was tested immediately in the bottom of the first inning. Giants leadoff hitter Tommy La Stella grounded a ball up the middle with an exit velocity of 91.4 miles per hour that found Devers after being deflected by Pablo López. The highly regarded prospect calmly completed the play.
His next fielding chance came in the sixth and had a much greater degree of difficulty. Ranging to his right on another La Stella grounder, he showed off his quick release. Although the throw arrived to first base in plenty of time, Devers yanked it, pulling Jesús Aguilar off the bag. Infield single.
From there, Devers’ glovework was smooth. He atoned for the La Stella single by handling Wilmer Flores’ sharp grounder to finish off a scoreless sixth. Then in the seventh, he was the pivot man on a 5-4-3 double play.
Meanwhile, in the batter’s box, Devers was outclassed by Kevin Gausman (and to be fair, so were most of his teammates). He struck out in all three plate appearances against the veteran right-hander, chasing several pitches that were way outside the strike zone. For context, Devers never recorded a “hat trick” at any point during the 2019 minor league season.
Another José Devers K his second time up pic.twitter.com/teXnLAW69M— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 25, 2021
Miguel Rojas replaced Devers in the top of the ninth as a pinch-hitter.
There’s no guarantee that Devers will get another start during this initial cup of coffee in The Show. The Marlins would like for him to play regularly down on the farm once the Minor League Baseball season gets underway May 4. In the meantime, he profiles as an occasional late-inning substitute.
Regardless, it must’ve been a thrill for him to contribute to a much-needed Marlins win.