Boston Red Sox Prospects: Ceddanne Rafaela’s newest talent
Boston Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela continues to improve his game
It’s been *checks watch* almost 45 minutes since I mentioned Ceddanne Rafaela, so clearly I need to change that. The Boston Red Sox prospect has enjoyed a ridiculous breakout year that’s seen him shine in nearly every category.
Playing all over the diamond at a high level is something Rafaela’s always been able to do. He’s shown he could win a Gold Glove at shortstop while also playing elite defense at third and second base. His instincts and abilities in the outfield are next-level, though.
Meanwhile, through August 17, the right-handed hitter is slashing 303/.352/.546 with 28 doubles (career-high), seven triples, and a career-high 18 home runs across 95 games between High-A and Double-A. He’s driven in 64 runs, also a career-high, scored 71 times, and stolen 25 bases, another new personal best. That’s right, he needs just two more homers to reach the 20/20 mark.
It’s nearly impossible to find true weaknesses in his game. If you want to point to anything that could be improved a bit, it’s his pitch selection at the plate. Rafaela’s a bit of a free-swinger. With that combination of power and speed, it’s not all that surprising. He can hit the ball extremely far, and when he barely gets the bat on the ball there’s a chance he’s beating out the throw anyways.
However, this is something that if he worked on could make Rafaela unstoppable. And it looks like that’s something the 21-year-old has recognized.
On August 4, Rafaela went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He saw 17 pitches in those four at-bats combined. And only two were looked at for balls. His first two at-bats were three-pitch strikeouts.
Clearly, he wasn’t a fan of how that game went. The next day Rafaela saw just 13 pitches in four plate appearances. However, one was a one-pitch HBP. Another was a four-pitch walk. In another one of the at-bats, he took two balls. It was a step in the right direction, as he followed it up with a five-game hitting streak. That includes two doubles, a home run, and four walks. Clearly, the new, patient approach is working for your favorite prospect’s favorite prospect.
It’s not even necessarily about drawing walks. It would be great if he brought that number up a lot and got on-base so he could steal more bases and set up more runs, but it’s also about getting himself in favorable counts. The Portland Sea Dogs game on August 11 was a perfect example: Rafaela went 2-for-4 with a home run. He didn’t draw a walk but he worked counts, and it helped a lot.
In his first at-bat, he worked a 3-1 count before finding a pitch he liked. It resulted in a fly-out to right, but it was a good swing (no one is going to get a hit every time). The very next at-bat saw Rafaela work a 3-0 count, and with a green light, he disfigured a baseball – hitting a mammoth home run.
If this is the newest talent for Ceddanne Chipper Nicasio Marte Rafaela, pitchers should be terrified. The Sox prospect was already a dangerous bat. If he learned the ways of patience and pitch selection at the plate, then shoutout to Jadakiss because pitchers are in for some Pain & Torture.