5 Red Sox prospects who should make fans more grateful to Dave Dombrowski

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Boston Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela speaks with the media ahead of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 26, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Boston Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela speaks with the media ahead of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 26, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Ceddanne Rafaela of the Boston Red Sox
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 26: Boston Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela speaks with the media ahead of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on September 26, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Ceddanne Rafaela – signed 2017

Ceddanne Rafaela was by far the biggest breakout prospect of the year, and his big-league debut can’t come soon enough.

Now the No. 3 prospect in the system, Rafaela put himself on the map when he moved from the infield to the outfield this year. His defensive prowess stunned the baseball world, with his manager in Portland even saying that he “runs circles” around Mookie Betts at that point in his minor-league career. The 22-year-old also brings plus defense at shortstop and third base and has played all over the diamond.

Rafaela doesn’t just seem like a perennial Gold Glover in the making; he also led the Sox system with 63 extra-base hits. He needs to work on drawing walks and lowering his strikeout rate, but it’s clear he’s going to be someone special for this organization. If he continues to play well in the early months next season, expect him to move up quickly; MLB has 2023 as his big-league ETA.

Eddinson Paulino – signed 2018

When the Sox signed Eddinson Paulino on July 2, 2018, it wasn’t just the first day of the international signing period opened, it was also his 16th birthday.

Still only 20 years old, Paulino is probably at least two years away from a potential debut, but he had an impressive season with Low-A Salem. Over 114 games, he hit .266/.359/.469 with 66 walks and105 strikeouts. He collected 123 hits, including 35 doubles, 10 triples, and 13 home runs, the second-most extra-base hits behind Rafaela, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that Salem’s ballpark is notoriously unfriendly for hitters.

The Sox’ No. 13 prospect is considered more of an offensive talent than a defender, but he’s also displayed impressive speed on the basepaths, stealing 27 bases in 32 attempts this season. Red Sox assistant GM Eddie Romero calls him a “dynamic” player who “can impact the game in several ways.”