Ceddanne Rafaela is such an exciting player. The Red Sox shouldn’t rush him.

Ceddanne Rafaela has been tearing it up out in Worcester since his call-up earlier this season, and has taken the lead in the clubhouse of best Red Sox prospect, non-Marcelo Mayer division. =
WORCESTER - Worcester   s Ceddanne Rafaela celebrates his lead-off home run against the Syracuse
WORCESTER - Worcester s Ceddanne Rafaela celebrates his lead-off home run against the Syracuse / Rick Cinclair/Telegram & Gazette /

I love going to the movies. It’s one of my favorite things to do in my spare time, and luckily for me, the movies are so back. We’ve made it through the dire pandemic-affected days of cinema, and we’ve come back around to new movies being actual must-see events. The other week, I went and took in Christopher Nolan’s new masterpiece Oppenheimer, and a line that occurs multiple times in the movie kept sticking out to me: “Theory can only get you so far.”

The context of this line obviously serves differently in the movie than its potential application in day-to-day life (no one I know is building an atomic bomb), but it's a good thought experiment to have. You can spend hundreds of hours, physically and mentally preparing yourself for any given outcome of a situation, yet none of it matters until your theory is put into practice, and you truly understand the feeling and weight of the situation. And there's a certain 22-year-old in Worcester that this idea applies to a lot more than most currently.

Keep Ceddanne Rafaela in the minors... for now

Ceddanne Rafaela has been an absolute beast for the WooSox since his call-up at the end of June from Double-A Portland. In his first 29 games in Worcester, Rafaela has a .322/.377/.678 slash line, with 10 home runs and 26 runs batted in, along with staying error-free across starts at both shortstop and center field. His rise through the ranks in the minors has really helped the Red Sox create one of the top farm systems in the Majors (thank you, Chaim Bloom). Between the showcase of his talent and Bloom not trading Rafaela away at this year's trade deadline, it's clear that Rafaela is going to be a part of the Red Sox going forward beyond 2023, but I don't see a reason to rush Rafaela to the Majors.

First things first, there's the current build-up of outfielders in Boston already. Jarren Duran has shown this year that he can be a consistent contributor to the Red Sox, Masataka Yoshida is making a push for Rookie of the Year, and the rest of the guys (Alex Verdugo, Adam Duvall, and Rob Refsnyder) are being platooned around by Alex Cora, so it seems like things are set for the rest of this season. When it comes to the off-season, we'll have to watch things like extension talks for Verdugo, if we re-sign Duvall after his deal is up, and if the lefty killer sticks around with Boston.

Rafaela has also played shortstop throughout his minor league career, but that also is not feasible currently, as Trevor Story is going to be coming back into the lineup very soon, and with Yu Chang, Pablo Reyes, and newly-acquired Luis Urias also being able to play up the middle, Rafaela would have a tough time finding game time this way. I also worry a little bit about Rafaela's eye at the plate. I know his hitting stats are phenomenal right now, and that should be the main focus, but I think it's important to note that he is striking out at a rate of just under 25%, which I would want to see drop a little before exposing Rafaela to Major League-level pitching.

The Red Sox have a star for the future in Ceddanne Rafaela: he can hit for contact and power, he can steal bases, and he can flash the leather in the field. When he makes it to the Majors, I don't think he's going to struggle big time with any sort of adjustment period or become a bust of a prospect. I would just rather see the organization play it smart and keep him in the Minors for now, where he can keep building up confidence, and then once there is a clear path for Rafaela to plug in and get some consistent playing time with the Red Sox, call him up then. He could contribute to the Red Sox right now in theory, but theory can only get you so far.