Chris Sale understandably stole the headlines in Portland on Sunday afternoon, but it was Devlin Granberg who ultimately played the hero for the Sea Dogs in their 6-5 walk-off victory over the Harrisburg Senators at Hadlock Field.
As part of a 3-for-5 day at the plate, Granberg reached base on a fielding error in the third inning and ultimately came into score on a two-run home run off the bat of Tyreque Reed, laced an RBI single in the fifth that at the time gave the Sea Dogs a 5-3 lead, and came through with the hit of the game in the bottom of the 10th.
There, with no outs and the automatic runner at second base to begin each extra inning in a 5-5 contest, Granberg wasted no time in sending that runner home.
Matched up against Senators reliever Jhon Romero, the right-handed hitter ripped the game-winning single to right-center field that drove in Pedro Castellanos and sealed a 6-5 win for the Sea Dogs to mark their third straight walk-off victory.
In racking up three more hits on Sunday, Granberg bumped his batting line on the season with Portland up to an impressive .345/.363/.564.
Granberg, 25, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2018 amateur draft as a senior out of Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas.
The 6-foot-2, 225 pound first baseman/outfielder opened the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Greenville and tore the cover off the ball, slashing .326/.416/.642 (178 wRC+) to go along with seven doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 21 runs scored, 29 RBI, one stolen base, 12 walks, and 16 strikeouts over 27 games (113 plate appearances) for the Drive before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland on June 16.
Sunday marked Granberg’s 28th game with the Sea Dogs, and the level of production the soon-to-be 26-year-old put up while in Greenville has hardly dropped off at all since he moved up the minor-league ladder.
As previously mentioned, the Hudson, Colo. native is now hitting .345/.363/.564 with seven doubles, one triple, five homers, 21 runs scored, 22 RBI, three stolen bases, three walks, and 22 strikeouts as a member of the Sea Dogs. In the month of July alone, he has posted a slash line of .370/.395/.616 and has hit four of his five home runs within the last 25 days.
To put it simply, Granberg is enjoying a breakout season of sorts in his second full year of pro ball. He may not be regarded as one of the top 30 or so prospects in Boston’s farm system, but he has caught the attention of some within the industry, such as FanGraphs‘ David Laurila.
In a conversation with Laurila earlier this month, Granberg delved into several aspects of his approach at the plate, including his unique swing that SoxProspects.com describes as short and compact as well as very direct to the ball.
“I’ve got one of the more interesting swings out there,” Granberg said. “It’s not very conventional. I would say it’s pretty rotational, yet not totally rotational. It’s kind of like those combo swings — not too crouched, maybe a little bit open, and then I stride into it. I’m trying to hit the ball middle/opposite field most of the time.”
Granberg, who turns 26 in early September, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline.
(Picture of Devlin Granberg: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)