Red Sox Prospect Ceddanne Rafaela is electric, it’s time you know him
If you’ve been reading the Boston Red Sox Prospect Watch this year, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to get some passengers on the Ceddanne Rafaela hype train. It’s about time I gave everyone a little more information on the prospect so they can understand the reasoning behind the hype.
The Red Sox have a lot of elite-level prospects. Triston Casas has the makings of a star, as does Jarren Duran and Jeter Downs. Gilberto Jimenez could be the best of the group, but he has a little ways to go still. Bryan Mata looks like an ace, and so do Chris Murphy and Brayan Bello. Do you really need me to keep going, because you know I can talk about this for days?
There’s one name that might not be as familiar to many and that is Ceddanne Chipper Nicasio Marte Rafaela. He’s a 20-year-old shortstop playing in Full-A with the Salem Red Sox at the moment.
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Well, I say shortstop because that’s what he’s listed as. In reality though, the Curacao native does it all in the field. In 2021, Rafaela has spent time at shortstop, second base, third base, and in center field. Funnily enough, shortstop is where he has seen the second-least amount of time – only logging 15 innings there so far (only has seven innings at second base). Meanwhile, he has 69 innings logged at third base in 2021 and 106 in center field.
What is most impressive about all of that is, Rafaela plays them all very well. He looks great in center field, with his speed and athleticism allowing for him to make plenty of great plays and look smooth while doing so.
At the moment, Rafaela is listed as the 30th overall prospect in the Red Sox system, according to MLB. They grade him as an average hitter (45 out of 80 grade) with slightly-below average power (40) but slightly above average fielding (55), speed (55), and arm (55).
Personally, the only thing I agree with there is the power. He is not completely void of it. But listed at 5’8″, 152 lbs, you shouldn’t expect Rafaela to be blasting home runs left and right (although he did just hit his first of the year on Sunday). Power: 40.
Outside of that, I’m giving Rafaela a better grade in all the other categories.
As of June 8, Rafaela is slashing .244/.298/.349 with two doubles, two triples, and one home run. He’s driven in nine runs and scored 16 more. Meanwhile, he’s walked seven times and struck out 12 (in 95 plate appearances). Finally, he’s a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen base attempts and has just three errors on the year (two at third base and one at shortstop).
So let’s unpack all of that. The average is not phenomenal. But Rafaela is a 20-year-old playing in Full-A and he’s not striking out. That’s all very impressive if you ask me. Hit: 55.
Next we’ll look at the speed. Nine steals in nine attempts this early into the season is pretty telling. Not only does Rafaela have speed, but he’s already smart on the base paths. That’s not the only indicator though. You can see it when he’s in the field too, there’s just that extra gear that he has. And in Tuesday’s game, Rafaela singled – then went from first to home after a failed pick-off attempt by the pitcher. Speed kills and he has plenty of it. Speed: 65.
Now let’s look at his arm because admittedly there isn’t as much to say here. Rafaela has a strong arm and from what I’ve seen he’s very accurate with it no matter the position. That gives it a slight bump for me. Arm: 60.
Finally, there’s fielding. The 55 rating they gave is very solid, nothing to be upset with. But Rafaela in the field is like Morray’s new album STREET SERMONS- there are no skips. Absolute fire, every track. And Rafaela is absolute fire no matter where he is on the field, you don’t want to miss it. The fact that he can play so many different positions makes him worthy of a 55. The fact that he can play so many different positions so well (and at just 20)? Well that’s worthy of a higher grade. Fielding: 65.
I’ll be honest with you. I flirted with a 70 grade for both speed and fielding. However, that seemed a little premature. Grades can fluctuate with age. As Rafaela matures, those grades could go up (or down). So there’s no reason to jump the gun, let’s just be as honest as possible with the scouting report.
Ceddanne Rafaela is a Red Sox prospect that you should absolutely keep an eye out for. If you have the ability to catch any Salem Red Sox games, he’s definitely worth a watch (oh and Gilberto Jimenez, Nick Yorke, Matthew Lugo, Aldo Ramirez, and a few others are also on the squad).
However, I also completely understand if you don’t want to keep up with a 20-year-old in Full-A that is still a few years away from Fenway Park. That’s where I come in. I’ve got you covered, don’t worry – plenty of updates will be coming. Don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up though. One of the most exciting players to watch in the entire organization. It’s time to give Rafaela his flowers as one of the most intriguing (and promising) prospects that the Boston Red Sox have.