In the midst of a breakout season, Ceddanne Rafaela has entered Baseball America’s top-100 prospect rankings. Previously unranked, Rafaela is now regarded by Baseball America as the No. 84 prospect in all of baseball.
The Red Sox at present have five of the top 100-prospects in the game, as Rafaela joins the likes of shortstop Marcelo Mayer (No. 14), right-hander Brayan Bello (No. 24), first baseman Triston Casas (No. 29), and second baseman Nick Yorke (No. 50). Outfielder Jarren Duran was previously in the top-100 but has since graduated from his prospect status.
Boston’s reigning Minor League Defensive Player of the Year, Rafaela began the 2022 season with High-A Greenville. After posting a .729 OPS with Low-A Salem last season, the 21-year-old batted a stout .330/.368/.594 in 45 games with the Drive (he also hit for the cycle on May 17) before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland on June 7.
Since then, the right-handed hitting Rafaela has slashed a steady .287/.331/.574 to go along with six doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 19 RBIs, 21 runs scored, five stolen bases, five walks, and 23 strikeouts across his first 28 games (125 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs. Among Eastern League hitters who have made at least 120 plate appearances to this point in the season, Rafaela ranks 13th in batting average, second in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.905), third in isolated power (.287), second in speed score (8.8), and 16th in wRC+ (141), per FanGraphs.
On the other side of the ball, Rafaela has continued to impress defensively while playing several positions. So far in Portland, the versatile 5-foot-8, 152 pounder has logged 36 innings at shortstop and 197 innings in center field. He showed off his athleticism by robbing Mets prospect Brandon McIlwain of a game-tying home run in the fifth inning of Portland’s 7-4 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Friday.
Rafaela, who turns 22 in September, has come a long way from a development standpoint since signing with the Red Sox for just $10,000 as an international free agent coming out of Curacao in July 2017. Taking that into consideration, the Willemstad native is all but a lock to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster this fall in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.
Both Rafaela and Bello, who also signed with Boston in 2017, will be representing the Red Sox organization in next weekend’s All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. Bello, of course, may not be able to attend if he is still on the big-league roster.
(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)