Triston Casas homers again in first career 3-hit game as Red Sox snap skid with 13-9 win over Orioles

The Red Sox put an end to a six-game losing streak with a much-needed win over the Orioles on Tuesday night. Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 13-9 to improve to 73-81 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his 22nd start of the year for the Sox, did not pitch particularly well. The veteran right-hander surrendered six runs on eight hits and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts over just 3 1/3 innings of work.

The Orioles drew first blood in their half of the first inning. After getting the first two outs rather easily, Wacha gave up a two-out double to Anthony Santander that was followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Ryan Mountcastle.

An inning later, the Sox responded on one swing of the bat from Triston Casas. Following a leadoff single from J.D. Martinez, Casas cranked a two-run shot off Orioles starter Kyle Bradish for his fifth home run of the season. It had an exit velocity of 110.5 mph, traveled 421 feet over the Green Monster, and gave Boston a 2-1 lead.

That newfound lead did not last long, though, as Wacha served up back-to-back homers to Adley Rutschman and the red-hot Santander in the top of the third. In the bottom half, the Red Sox pulled back even with the O’s when Bradish plunked Rob Refsnyder while the bases were loaded. Connor Wong also drew a bases-loaded walk off Bradish before Tommy Pham (two-run single), Xander Bogaerts (bases-loaded walk), and Alex Verdugo (sacrifice fly) drove in three more runs to cap off a six-run frame.

Wacha, however, was still not able to settle in. The righty came back out for the fourth and immediately surrendered a leadoff homer to Ramon Urias. Rougned Odor followed with another single and promptly scored all the way from first on an RBI triple from Austin Hays. After striking out Kyle Stowers, Wacha was pulled for Matt Strahm.

Strahm officially closed the book on Wacha’s night by allowing the runner he inherited to score on an RBI single from Cedric Mullins. The lefty also allowed the Orioles to tie things up at 8-8 by giving up another (two-run) blast to Santander.

Wacha, who finished with 70 pitches (45 strikes), did not factor into Tuesday’s decision. The 31-year-old hurler induced 10 swings and misses as his ERA on the season rose to 3.06. Strahm, meanwhile, earned the win by settling in with a scoreless fifth inning.

Before that happened, the Red Sox lineup erupted for five more runs in their half of the fourth. With no outs and the bases loaded, Wong reached on a fielding error to push across Casas from third. Pham was then hit by a Jake Reed pitch, which brought in Refsnyder. Rafael Devers greeted new Orioles reliever D.L. Hall by blooping a two-run single to right field. Bogaerts capped off the scoring by reaching on a fielder’s choice that allowed Pham to come in all the way from second and make it a 13-8 game in favor of Boston.

From there, the Red Sox bullpen was able to keep the Orioles bats in check. Strahm, as previously mentioned, kept the O’s off the board in the fifth before Zack Kelly retired the side in order in the sixth. In the seventh, John Schreiber gave up one run on two hits before Ryan Brasier worked his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise clean top of the eighth.

Matt Barnes made things interesting in the ninth by bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. But he rallied by getting Hays to ground into a game-ending, 6-4-3 double play to secure the 13-9 victory.

All told, the Red Sox tallied 13 runs on 11 hits, eight walks, and two hit batsman. Rafael Devers went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk, Martinez went 2-for-4 with a walk and run scored, and Casas put together the first three-hit game of his young career.

Next up: Hill vs. Kremer

The Red Sox will send veteran left-hander Rich Hill to the mound as they go for their second straight win on Wednesday night. The Orioles will counter with right-hander Dean Kremer.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Trevor Story could return for final series of season against Rays

If Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story plays again this season, it will come in the team’s final series of the year against the Rays at Fenway Park next week.

Story, who has been sidelined with a left heel contusion since September 11, continues to feel discomfort when he runs. The Red Sox originally thought it was a day-to-day injury, but later opted to place the veteran infielder on the 10-day injured list last Monday.

With time running out on the season, manager Alex Cora said Tuesday that Story would not play in this weekend’s series in Toronto because he does not want the 29-year-old running on the turf at Rogers Centre.

“We’re trying,” Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne). “He’s out there taking grounders. The running progression is the hard part. The moving around and the swinging the bat has been OK, but when he gets to that 70-75 percent, that’s when he feels it. We’re still working, and hopefully he can play a few games.”

Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million deal with Boston in March, has been limited to just 94 games this season due to two stints on the injured list. He missed more than six weeks of action earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist.

Upon returning from the IL in late August, the right-handed hitter put together a productive 13-game stretch before slipping on the first-base bag in Baltimore earlier this month. He has now missed each of the Red Sox’ last 13 games coming into play on Tuesday and will miss at least five more through the weekend.

When healthy, Story has batted .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 122 strikeouts in 396 trips to the plate. He has also posted five Defensive Runs Saved and 10 Outs Above Average in 813 2/3 innings at second base.

If Story is able to run without any sort of discomfort in the coming days, he should have the chance to end his first season in a Red Sox uniform on an encouraging note and — perhaps more importantly — on his own terms.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Victor Santos tosses 5 one-run innings in final start of season for Triple-A Worcester

Victor Santos ended his first full season in the Red Sox organization on a strong note Monday night.

In his final start of the year for Triple-A Worcester, Santos held the Rochester Red Wings to just one run on four hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

The right-hander very well could have pitched deeper into the game after only throwing 72 pitches (49 strikes) through five, but it was ultimately called in the top of the sixth due to rain in the Rochester-area. And so the WooSox came away with a 6-1 win over the Red Wings while Santos was credited with a complete-game victory.

Monday’s performance continued an encouraging trend for Santos that dates back to August 25. In his final six starts of the season for Worcester, the 22-year-old hurler posted a 1.91 ERA and 2.45 FIP with 39 strikeouts to just nine walks across 33 frames.

This comes after Santos initially struggled when he first made the jump from Double-A Portland to Worcester last month. The Dominican-born righty was tagged for 17 runs in his first three starts (10 2/3 innings) for the WooSox before turning things around in late August.

Prior to earning that aforementioned promotion, Santos had pitched to a 4.97 ERA and 4.78 FIP with 79 punchouts to 20 walks over 19 appearances (16 starts) spanning 101 1/3 innings for the Sea Dogs to begin the 2022 campaign.

The Red Sox originally acquired Santos from the Phillies as the player to be named later in the January 2021 trade that sent minor-league infielder C.J. Chatham to Philadelphia. He made his organizational debut in Portland last July.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 191 pounds, Santos throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph four-seam fastball that tops out at 93 mph, a low-90s sinker, an 82-84 mph split-changeup, and an 83-86 mph slider, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Although he has already reached Triple-A and does not turn 23 until next July, Santos is not currently regarded by any major publication as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. He is instead viewed by sites such as SoxProspects.com as a “potential solid organizational starter” who has the “ceiling of an emergency up-and-down depth arm.”

That being said, Santos can become Rule 5-eligible this winter. If left unprotected by the Red Sox, he could be scooped up by another team in December. Assuming he does not get picked up, though, Santos would seemingly be in line to return to Worcester’s rotation for the start of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Victor Santos: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox give up 5 home runs in lopsided 14-8 loss to Orioles

On a rain-filled Monday night at Fenway Park, the Red Sox gave up five home runs in a lopsided loss to the Orioles. Boston fell to Baltimore by a final score of 14-8 to extend its losing streak to six and drop to 72-81 on the season.

Connor Seabold, making his fifth start of the year for the Sox, allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits, two walks, and two strikeouts over two rain-shortened innings of work.

After throwing a first-pitch strike to the very first batter he faced, Seabold promptly served up a leadoff home run to Cedric Mullins on a hanging slider. It only went downhill from there as the rookie right-hander surrendered four more in the second inning.

Rougned Odor led off with a ground-rule double and advanced to third on a Kyle Stowers single. Odor scored and Stowers went from first-to-third on a Jorge Mateo RBI double. Mullins plated two more on a sharply-hit triple over the head of Abraham Almonte in center field. The speedster then scored from third on a failed pickoff attempt from Reese McGuire that ended up in left field.

The Red Sox got two of those four runs back in their half of the second. Matched up against O’s starter Jordan Lyles, Martinez led off by cranking a solo shot 420 feet over the Green Monster for his 13th home run of the season. Triston Casas, Rob Refsnyder, and Almonte each reached base with one out to bring Enrique Hernandez to the plate. Hernandez delivered by ripping an RBI single to left field that brought in Casas and cut the Baltimore lead to three at 5-2.

The bases remained loaded for Rafael Devers, who grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. The skies above Fenway then began to open up, prompting a rain delay that lasted exactly 100 minutes.

With that much time having passed, Seabold was done for the night and replaced by Tyler Danish when the game resumed at approximately 9:45 p.m. eastern time.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 54 (36 strikes), Seabold only managed to induce three swings-and-misses. The 26-year-old hurler was charged with his fourth losing decision of the season as his ERA rose to an unsightly 11.29.

Danish, meanwhile, yielded an RBI triple to Stowers in the third and kept the Orioles off the board in the fourth. The Red Sox made things interesting in the latter half of the frame after Baltimore had already swapped Lyles for Spenser Watkins.

With one out and the bases full, Hernandez scorched a two-run single down the left field line and advanced to second on. Devers then drove him in with a run-scoring single of his own to pull the Red Sox back to within one run at 6-5.

That is where the Orioles began to pull away. Danish issued a pair of walks and an infield single to begin things in the fifth. He was given the hook in favor of Zack Kelly, who gave up back-to-back run-scoring hits to Odor and Stowers to make it an 8-5 game. Kaleb Ort served up a pair of homers to Anthony Santander and Gunnar Henderson in the sixth, allowing the Orioles to re-establish a commanding 11-5 lead.

Frankin German got the first two outs of the seventh before issuing a walk and giving up the second home run of the night to Santander, who now has 31 on the year. Through three appearances to begin his career, German owns a 31.50 ERA.

In the bottom of the seventh, Martine and Casas each reached base before Rob Refsnyder took Logan Gillaspie 414 feet to dead center field for his sixth home run of the season. The 103.5 mph blast cut the deficit to five at 13-8.

But the Orioles tacked on another when Austin Hays took Eduard Bazardo deep in the eighth. Boston went down quietly from there as 14-8 would go on to be Monday’s final score.

All told, the Red Sox got multi-hit games from Hernandez, Devers, Refsnyder, and Almonte as they outhit the Orioles, 15-14. They also went 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base as a team.

Next up: Wacha vs. Bradish

The Red Sox will send right-hander Michael Wacha to the mound as they look to put an end to their six-game losing streak on Saturday. The Orioles will counter with fellow righty Kyle Bradish.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Reese McGuire and Anthony Santander: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Allan Castro takes another step forward in first season stateside

Allan Castro can no longer be called the reigning Red Sox Latin Program Position Player of the Year. That distinction now falls to infielder/outfielder Andy Lugo, who received the honor on Monday.

Castro, however, put together a strong first season in the United States after being named the organization’s Latin Program Position Player of the Year in 2021.

Following a 2021 campaign in which he posted a .756 OPS in the Dominican Summer League, Castro made the jump to the Florida Complex League for the start of the 2022 season. In 39 games with Boston’s rookie-level affiliate in Fort Myers, the switch-hitter slashed a respectable .279/.355/.451 with four doubles, four triples, three home runs, 17 RBIs, 19 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 13 walks, and 32 strikeouts over 141 plate appearances.

Though he may have been overshadowed by fellow outfielder Miguel Bleis, Castro still ranked 11th in batting average, 26th in on-base percentage, eighth in slugging percentage, ninth in OPS (.805), 11th in isolated power (.172), 13th in speed score (7.8), and 11th in wRC+ (122) among FCL hitters who made at least 140 trips to the plate this season, per FanGraphs.

Not long after the Florida Complex League season came to a close, Castro and several other Red Sox minor-leaguers earned a promotion to Low-A Salem. He registered just one hit in his first five games with Salem but ended the year by going 5-for-18 (.278) with a double, a triple, four RBIs, and five runs scored in his final five games.

“Castro took a significant step forward this season,” Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero told BloggingtheRedSox.com via email. “He’s continued to grow and gained a lot of strength. Additionally, he found ways to make his swing more efficient and started using the whole field more often.”

Between the two affiliates, Castro logged 232 1/3 innings in left field, 84 innings in center field, and 24 innings in right field. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder recorded four outfield assists and committed just one error all year.

“His athleticism is starting to show itself more on the field,” Romero said. “He is sort of a sleeper prospect who we expect will do more things in 2023.”

Castro, 19, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 53 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally signed the native Dominican for $100,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Santo Domingo in July 2019.

At that time, Castro was a middle infielder, but he has since made the transition to the outfield and figures to stick there moving forward. Taking into account that he does not turn 20 until next May, Castro is projected by SoxProspects.com to return to Salem for the start of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Allan Castro: Bryan Green/Flickr)

Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock undergoes successful hip surgery

Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock has undergone a successful right hip arthroscopy. The procedure was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, the club announced Monday.

Whitlock, who was shut down from throwing last week, has been hampered by hip issues throughout the season. The right-hander spent more than a month on the injured list earlier this summer because of right hip inflammation and had been walking with a noticeable limp during the second half of the year.

While the Red Sox initially tried to manage the issue by carefully limiting Whitlock’s workload, they reached a point where shutting him down and opting for surgery became the best option available as they continued to slide out of contention.

Despite any discomfort he may have felt on the mound, Whitlock still put together a productive season. The 26-year-old hurler posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.30 FIP to go along with 82 strikeouts to 15 walks over 31 appearances (nine starts) spanning 78 1/3 innings of work.

After spending the first few weeks of the 2022 campaign in the bullpen, Whitlock moved to Boston’s starting rotation in late April. The righty produced a 4.15 ERA (3.61 FIP) across 39 innings as a starter before moving back to the bullpen on July 15. As a reliever, he pitched to a 2.75 ERA with 44 strikeouts to just six walks over 39 1/3 frames.

Whitlock, who was originally acquired from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, signed a four-year, $18.75 million contract extension with the Red Sox back in April. That deal includes club options for an additional two years, so Whitlock is under club control through the end of the 2028 season. It also comes with escalators that would increase the value of the contract if he accumulates a significant number of innings as a starter.

Because of that, the Red Sox will have an important decision to make this winter when it comes to determining if Whitlock is better suited to be a starter or a reliever in the long-run. The club does expect Whitlock to be ready for the start of spring training in February.

In the meantime, Whitlock’s spot on the major-league roster has been taken by fellow righty Connor Seabold. If they so choose, the Sox could elect to transfer Whitlock to the 60-day injured list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Red Sox announce winners of 2022 minor-league awards: Niko Kavadas, Brayan Bello, Ceddanne Rafaela all recognized

First baseman Niko Kavadas has been named the Red Sox’ 2022 Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, the club announced Monday.

In 120 games between Low-A Salem, High-A Greenville, and Double-A Portland this season, the left-handed hitting Kavadas batted .280/.443/.547 (170 wRC+) with 25 doubles, one triple, 26 home runs, 86 RBIs, 71 runs scored, one stolen base, 102 walks, and 152 strikeouts over 515 plate appearances.

Among qualified Red Sox minor-leaguers, Kavadas ranks second in home runs, second in RBIs, first in walks, second in on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, first in OPS (.990), second in isolated power (.267), and first in wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Kavadas, who turns 24 next month, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of last year’s draft out of the University of Notre Dame. He is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

For a second consecutive season, Brayan Bello has been named the Red Sox’ Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. Bello, 23, posted a 2.33 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) and 85 innings pitched between Portland and Triple-A Worcester before making his major-league debut in early July.

The Dominican-born right-hander has since pitched to a 4.39 ERA and 2.97 FIP in 12 outings (10 starts) spanning 53 1/3 innings of work with Boston. That includes a 1.65 ERA and 2.72 FIP with 27 strikeouts to 10 walks in his last five starts (27 1/3 innings) dating back to the beginning of September. Since Bello surpassed the 50-inning mark on Sunday, he has technically graduated from his prospect status.

Like Bello, the versatile Ceddanne Rafaela was also named the Red Sox’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. The 22-year-old broke out in a big way in 2022 and is now considered a top-100 prospect in all of baseball.

In 116 games between Greenville and Portland this season, Rafaela saw playing time at second base, shortstop, and center field and proved capable of making highlight plays at each position. He was named Baseball America’s 2022 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year last week.

“I truly believe this: You put him in the big leagues right now, he wins the Gold Glove as an outfielder,” Red Sox infield coordinator Darren Fenster told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier recently. “He’s not there yet as an infielder, but talent-wise and with some more reps and some more polish, he has Gold Glove potential as a shortstop as well. It’s wild the talent that this kid has.”

Speaking of speedy prospects, David Hamilton has been named the Red Sox’ Baserunner of the Year. Acquired from the Brewers in the December trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee and Jackie Bradley Jr. to Boston, Hamilton stole 70 bases in 119 games with Portland this season. The 24-year-old’s 70 steals set a new franchise record for Portland and were tied for third most in the minors.

Franklin German, who began the season with Hamilton in Portland, has been named the organization’s Relief Pitcher of the Year. The 25-year-old righty posted a 2.72 ERA and 3.04 FIP with 64 strikeouts to 19 walks over 43 relief appearances (49 2/3 innings) between Portland and Worcester, prompting a big-league call-up earlier this month.

Fellow reliever Zack Kelly was the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, given annually to “a Red Sox minor-league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the Major League team.” Since being recalled on August 29, Kelly has allowed just three runs over 9 2/3 innings.

Finally, infielder/outfielder Andy Lugo and right-hander Eybersson Polanco have been named the Latin Program Position Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Lugo, 18, batted .318/.368/.414 (114 wRC+) while leading the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Blue in total bases (91) and stolen bases (21). Polanco, 19, produced a 1.78 ERA and 2.96 FIP in 12 starts (50 2/3 innings) for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Red. The right-hander held opponents to a .179 batting average against and did not give up a single home run.

Each of these eight award winners were selected by the Red Sox baseball operations department and minor-league roving instructors. The recipients will be honored during a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park prior to Monday’s series opener against the Orioles.

(Picture of Niko Kavadas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox place Trevor Story on injured list with left heel contusion, recall Bobby Dalbec from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed second baseman Trevor Story on the 10-day injured list with a left heel contusion. In a corresponding move, first baseman/third baseman Bobby Dalbec was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees.

Story has not played since September 11, when he banged his left heel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of a 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. At that time, it was not believed that the 29-year-old would be sidelined for long.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had said several times over the last 11 days that Story could be back in the lineup soon, but that timeline kept getting pushed back to the point where a trip to the injured list became necessary.

Since his stint on the injured list was backdated to Sept. 19, Story will first be eligible to be activated one week from Thursday. The Red Sox will have just seven games remaining on their schedule at that point, so they could very well elect to shut down the veteran infielder for the remainder of the year.

Story, who is in the first year of a six-year, $140 million contract, spent more than six weeks on the injured list earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist. Upon returning from the IL, the right-handed hitter batted .340/.389/.500 with five doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, four runs scored, three stolen bases, four walks, and 17 strikeouts across 13 games (54 plate appearances) before injuring his heel two Sundays ago.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Story has slashed .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 132 strikeouts over 94 games and 396 trips to the plate. He has also been one of the better defensive second baseman in the American League when healthy.

With Story out of action for the time being, Christian Arroyo, Enrique Hernandez, and Yu Chang figure to see the lion’s share of their playing time come at second base. Chang will be making his second start there for Boston on Thursday.

Dalbec, meanwhile, returns to the Red Sox after being sent down on Sept. 4, when fellow first baseman Triston Casas was called up from Worcester. From the time he was demoted, the 27-year-old slugger appeared in 13 games for the WooSox and went 12-for-48 (.250) with five home runs and eight runs driven in.

At the big-league level this season, Dalbec has struggled to a .211/.282/.362 slash line to go along with nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, 38 runs scored, three stolen bases, 29 walks, and 113 strikeouts in 111 games (340 plate appearances). He is not in Thursday’s starting lineup.

(Picture of Trevor Story: G Fiume/Getty Images)

Ceddanne Rafaela named Baseball America’s 2022 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year

Ceddanne Rafaela was named Baseball America’s Red Sox 2022 Minor League Player of the Year on Tuesday.

That should come as no surprise. Rafaela, who just turned 22 over the weekend, entered Baseball America’s Top 100 rankings back in July and is now regarded by the publication as the No. 81 prospect in the sport

Between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland this season, Rafaela batted .299/.342/.538 (134 wRC+) with 32 doubles, 10 triples, 21 home runs, 86 RBIs, 82 runs scored, 28 stolen bases, 26 walks, and 113 strikeouts over 116 total games (522 plate appearances). The right-handed hitter slashed .278/.324/.500 (119 wRC+) with 12 homers, 50 runs driven in, 45 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 71 games (313 plate appearances) with the Sea Dogs upon being promoted in early June.

On the other side of the ball, Rafaela saw the majority of his playing time this season come at either shortstop or center field. In Portland in particular, the versatile 5-foot-8, 152-pounder logged 103 innings at short and 498 2/3 innings at center while making highlight reel plays at both positions.

“I truly believe this: You put him in the big leagues right now, he wins the Gold Glove as an outfielder,” Red Sox infield coordinator Darren Fenster told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier recently. “He’s not there yet as an infielder, but talent-wise and with some more reps and some more polish, he has Gold Glove potential as a shortstop as well. It’s wild the talent that this kid has.”

The Red Sox originally signed Rafaela for just $10,000 as an international free-agent coming out of Curacao in July 2017. Shortly after the five-year anniversary of his signing passed, the Willemstad native represented Boston in the All-Star Futures Game in Los Angeles.

On the heels of such an impressive minor-league season, Rafaela is a sure bet to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster this fall in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft. He is also slated to play winter ball in Puerto Rico for he Criollos de Caguas, who are managed by Red Sox first base coach Ramon Vazquez.

Alex Cora, who previously managed the Criollos and spends his off-seasons in his hometown of Caguas, told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) last week that he was looking forward to getting to know Rafaela better this winter.

“We’re going to be able to enjoy it,” Cora said. “Just try to meet him, know who he is as a person. That’s something that I’m looking forward to. We had that opportunity with Jarren (Duran) a few years ago, but it was limited because of the whole pandemic and the restrictions. But now that we can actually interact with others, it would be fun just to have him around, bring him to the house and talk to him and embrace him.”

In the meantime, Rafaela will look to lead the Sea Dogs to an Eastern League title. After winning 17 of its last 20 regular-season games, Portland opens a best-of-three playoff series against the Somerset Patriots at Hadlock Field on Tuesday night.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Brian Abraham on Nick Yorke playing in Arizona Fall League: ‘He’s continued to improve in the second half, and this would be an opportunity to continue that’

Second baseman Nick Yorke will be among the 12 youngest prospects to play in the Arizona Fall League this year, according to Baseball America.

Yorke, 20, was one of eight Red Sox prospects named to the Scottsdale Scorpions’ preliminary roster this past Friday. He is slated to the join the likes of right-handers Aaron Perry, Thaddeus Ward, Jacob Webb, and Ryan Zeferjahn, catcher Stephen Scott, first baseman Niko Kavadas, and outfielder Wilyer Abreu in Arizona next month.

Originally selected by Boston in the first round of the 2020 draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, Calif), Yorke entered 2022 as a consensus top-100 prospect after earning Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year honors in his first full professional season.

Journeying back to High-A Greenville to kick off the 2022 campaign, Yorke got off to a slow start. The right-handed hitting infielder batted .245/.319/.361 (89 wRC+) with just nine extra-base hits in his first 34 games before being placed on the injured with turf toe towards the end of May.

Yorke returned to the Greenville lineup on June 7, going 1-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts in a 6-3 loss to the Asheville Tourists. He then missed an additional two weeks because of back stiffness.

From June 21-July 3, Yorke went 7-for-39 (.205) at the plate with 13 strikeouts and three walks. His next in-game appearance did not come until after the All-Star break, as the native Californian was experiencing left wrist soreness that the Red Sox wanted to be cautious about.

From July 22 through the end of the season, Yorke was a regular in the Drive lineup who appeared in 35 of their final 40 games. He hit just .224 over that stretch, though he did slash a more respectable .320/.414/.480 (148 wRC+) in six September contests.

Put it all together, and it was a sophomore slump of sorts for Yorke. In 80 real games, he posted a .231/.3o3/.365 line to go along with 10 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 45 runs driven, 48 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 94 strikeouts across 373 total trips to the plate.

Although his 84 wRC+ indicates he was a below-average hitter this season, internal metrics show that Yorke was better than the numbers suggest, according to Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham.

In a recent conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings, Abraham revealed that the motive behind sending Yorke to Arizona simply goes back to getting him more at-bats after an injury-plagued season that did not yield great results.

“We have some things we were working with him on that we want to see through in the Fall League,” said Abraham. “He’s continued to improve in the second half, and this would be an opportunity to continue that.”

Yorke, who committed just one error in 593 1/3 defensive innings at second base this season, will be competing with other infielders such as the Braves’ Cal Conley, the Angels’ Kyren Paris, and the Orioles’ Cesar Prieto for playing time at the keystone position. It also helps that he will have direct access to Triple-A Worcester assistant hitting coach Michael Montville, who will be a member of the Scorpions’ coaching staff.

The 2022 Arizona Fall League season begins on October 3 and concludes with the championship game on Nov. 12 at Scottsdale Stadium, which is where the Scorpions will play their home games.

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive)