August 13, 2016 at 5:35 PM
A teenager ranked third in the system and a veteran who has been with the organization for seven seasons have been selected by the SoxProspects.com community as Player and Pitcher of the Month. Third baseman Rafael Devers had 22 extra-base hits on his way to top player honors, while right-handed starter Keith Couch (pictured) turned in consecutive complete games to earn recognition as top pitcher.
Devers, 19, had gotten off to a slow start in the Carolina League with a .524 OPS on May 3. While his solid May and June began to ease worries that he poor April was anything more than short-term blip on his developmental track, a phenomenal July completely incinerated any such concern. Despite playing in Salem, one of the hardest-hitting environments in all of the minors, Devers hit .357/.408/.670 in 125 plate appearances, with 13 doubles, four triples, and five home runs. To put his outburst in perspective, only one other member of Salem has five home runs all season.
Couch was a 13th-round pick in the 2010 draft, one of only five players from that draft still in the Red Sox organization. Despite winning a number of awards during his trek through the minor leagues, including being named a SoxProspects.com All-Star in 2011 and 2012, this is his first selection as a Player of the Month. He began the month with back-to-back complete games, allowing one run against Hartford on July 2 before shutting out New Hampshire at Hadlock Field on the 7th. In six starts split between Portland and Pawtucket, Couch had a 1.31 ERA in 41 1/3 innings. He struck out 30 against only five walks.
Photo Credit: Keith Couch by Kelly O'Connor