Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela hits for natural cycle in Greenville

Versatile Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela hit for the cycle in High-A Greenville’s 11-6 win over the Hickory Crawdads at Fluor Field on Tuesday night.

Batting third and starting in center field for the Drive, Rafaela went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, three runs scored, and one strikeout. The right-handed hitter singled in the first inning, doubled in the third inning, struck out in the fifth inning, showed off his speed while tripling in the seventh inning, and crushed his eighth home run of the season to cap off the natural cycle in the bottom of the eighth.

Following Tuesday’s performance, Rafaela became the first player in Drive franchise history to hit for the cycle. He is now batting .312/.353/.567 with 10 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 26 runs driven in, 28 runs scored, 10 stolen bases, seven walks, and 34 strikeouts across 32 games (150 plate appearances) for Greenville this season.

Rafaela, 21, was originally signed by the Red Sox for just $10,000 as an international free agent coming out of Curacao in June 2018. The Willemstad native is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he was named the organization’s Minor League Defensive Player of the Year.

So far this year, Rafaela has seen playing time at center field, second base, and shortstop. The 5-foot-8, 152 pounder has already logged 184 innings in center (his primary position), 60 innings at shortstop, and nine innings at second.

Because of his ability to play all over the diamond, Rafaela was identified by Baseball America as the top defensive outfielder in Boston’s farm system before the start of the season. He is currently regarded by Baseball America as the Sox’ 22nd-ranked prospect.

Considering the amount of success he has enjoyed in Greenville thus far, it seems likely that Rafaela — who turns 22 in September — could earn a promotion to Double-A Portland before long.

That Rafaela could advance a level this season is relevant when you consider the fact he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this December. The Red Sox would need to add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline if they would like to prevent that from happening.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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