Boston Red Sox Prospects: 2022 will be the year of Ceddanne Rafaela

Sep 23, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; A general view of Fenway Park before the Boston Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; A general view of Fenway Park before the Boston Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /
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2022 will be the year of Boston Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela

We all knew this one was coming. In my eyes, very few prospects are as exciting as Boston Red Sox utility-man Ceddanne Rafaela. The Curacao native enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021 and proved he could be useful to a team in so many different ways.

Whether it’s his speed, elite defense, ability to play multiple positions, or promising bat – Rafaela has something for everyone to get hyped about.

What makes 2022 so special for the prospect though? A few things. He has the potential to truly breakout in terms of recognition and rising up the ranks. We could see some promotions, an uptick in power, and more insane defense.

Rafaela spent the entire 2021 season in Low-A with the Salem Red Sox. I was really hoping he’d get a promotion near the end of the year, but at the same time it made sense to let him keep putting it all together in Low-A for entire time.

The right-handed hitter finished the year with a .251/.305/.424 slash line. That might not seem all that great but there’s a lot to unpack here.

First of all, Rafaela’s slugging percentage was pretty solid. He roped 20 doubles, nine triples, and 10 home runs. Eight of those home runs came after July 23. He hit a solid chunk of his doubles and triples after that date as well.

Rafaela also stole 23 bases in 26 attempts. He has a ton of speed and that adds a lot to his game. It gives the team an extra weapon and a major spark. There was a play last season where he scored from first on a failed pickoff attempt.

Meanwhile, it’s the defense that really makes him a star. Rafaela is listed as a shortstop – and he plays Gold Glove type defense there. But he also spent time at second base, third base, and all three outfield spots. And he was a Gold Glover there too. Phenomenal arm, great range, incredible instincts, good footwork and glove work. It’s all there.

In fact, Rafaela won the Red Sox 2021 MiLB defensive Player of the Year award. Taking that away from Ryan Fitzgerald isn’t an easy feat, but he definitely deserved it.

The 21-year-old did it all for Salem in 2021. He’ll be 21 for basically the entire 2022 season (turns 22 on September 18). So expect it to be another year of excitement, but more growth and development as well.

We saw last season that Rafaela had some sneaky pop in his bat. Could he add to that a little bit? Maybe we see a few more walks, leading to more steal opportunities? And of course a whole lot of elite defense.

A .260/.330/.440 slash line could be possible. Add a few more homers, more walks, a handle of extra steals, and plenty of flashing of the leather.

2022 will likely see Rafaela start the year in High-A. Even if he doesn’t though, it probably won’t be a long road to get promoted. Expect to see some numbers jump even despite playing at a higher level. Could we even see a promotion to Double-A? It might not be super likely but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibilities.

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Rafaela is an absolute dude though. And that’s why 2022 is going to be such a great year for him. It will be the year that he plays at a higher level. And it will get a lot more eyes on to him. And once more people see just how electric Ceddanne Chipper Nicasio Marte Rafaela is, they’ll fall in love. The prospect with the best name in baseball will finally start to get some of the hype that he deserves.