Predicting top Red Sox outfield prospect Ceddanne Rafaela’s timeline to the majors
When will Ceddanne Rafaela make his Boston Red Sox debut?
In a short span, Boston Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela has gone from a little-known international signing to one of the top outfield prospects in all of baseball.
Due to that, it feels like he’s working on an accelerated timeline. What is a realistic scenario for his Major League debut though?
If you were paying attention to him in 2021, you might have spotted the potential. Ceddanne Rafaela was showing elite defense at multiple positions, and an intriguing bat with all the offensive tools.
Then came 2022, and a true breakout for Rafaela. Between High- and Double-A, the right-handed hitter slashed .299/.342/.538 with 32 doubles, 10 triples, and 21 home runs. He drove in 86 runs, scored 82 more, and stole 28 bases over 481 at-bats.
Rafaela did all of that while playing some of the best defense you’ll see from any prospect. Centerfield became his main position, but he was given a chance to shine at shortstop a decent amount as well. Both spots have gold glove potential. If that’s not exciting enough for you, he has shown the ability to play second base, third base, and the corner outfield spots at high levels as well.
Where does that monster season put Rafaela in terms of a Major League debut though? The simple answer is “close”.
Rafaela spent all of 2021 in Low-A, starting the 2022 season in High-A. He only appeared in 45 games there though, accumulating 197 at-bats. That was all the Red Sox needed to see before promoting him to Double-A.
The centerfielder got more time in Portland, playing in 71 games and getting 284 at-bats. Although the numbers weren’t as dominant at the higher level, Rafaela more than held his own and continued to play elite defense while doing so.
This sets him up perfectly for 2023. If he starts the year in Double-A, it will likely be a one-month (at most) stint before getting the call-up to Triple-A. The Red Sox will want Rafaela to get some experience there. But if he’s in Worcester by mid-May, that gives Boston a lot of time to evaluate him and set him up for a debut at some point in 2023. Possibly even around the All-Star break.
There have been a lot of talks about Boston’s outfield being a weak point as we creep closer to the start of the year. An infusion of defense, speed, and pop wouldn’t hurt. Enter Ceddanne Chipper Nicasio Marte Rafaela.