Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela has been named the South Atlantic League’s Player of the Week for April 11-17, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.
Rafaela, 21, has gotten his 2022 season with High-A Greenville off to scorching start. Over his last six games against the Asheville Tourists, the right-handed hitter has batted a ridiculous .433/.452/.900 (241 wRC+) with five doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs, 10 runs scored, one stolen base, one walk, and six strikeout across 31 plate appearances with the Drive.
Since the South Atlantic League season began on April 8, Rafaela ranks fourth among qualified hitters in batting average (.395), 21st in on-base percentage (.422), third in slugging percentage (.860), third in isolated power (.465), second in doubles (5), first in home runs (5), and first in RBIs (11), per FanGraphs.
The Red Sox originally signed Rafaela out of Curacao for just $10,000 in July 2017. The Willemstad native came into 2022 regarded by Baseball America as both the No. 22 prospect and top defensive outfielder in Boston’s farm system.
Initially signed as a shortstop five years ago, Rafaela has since become an extremely versatile player. The 5-foot-8, 150 pounder played six different positions (second base, third base, shortstop, left field, center field, and right field) with Low-A Salem in 2021 en route to being named the organization’s Minor League Defensive Player of the Year.
So far with the Drive this season, Rafaela has logged nine innings at short and 63 in center. Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham recently told The Athletic’s Chad Jennings that Rafaela will “be mostly confined” to those two positions in 2022, though he is still capable of playing anywhere.
That Rafaela, who turns 22 in September, appears to be in the midst of a breakout campaign at the plate should be an encouraging sign for both the player and the Red Sox. After the 2021 Rule 5 Draft was cancelled as a result of the lockout, Rafaela can once again become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter.
If the Sox would like to prevent that from happening, they would need to add Rafaela to their 40-man roster by the deadline in late November. As of now, the odds of Rafaela being added and receiving protection from the Rule 5 seem high.
(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)