Rob Refsnyder injury paves way for Red Sox prospect's chance at Opening Day roster

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Yet another Boston Red Sox player has found his way onto the already-crowded injured list before the regular season begins.

Rob Refsnyder has been diagnosed with a fractured pinkie toe after taking a pitch to his foot in Boston's March 13th game against the Cardinals.

Refsnyder entered the game in place of Tyler O'Neill and remained in the game for an inning after being hit. After manager Alex Cora noticed his limited movement, Refsnyder was pulled. Scans have revealed a crack in his pinkie toe, and it is yet unclear what his recovery timeline will be.

Even in Refsnyder's absence, Boston's outfield is crowded. But there are two prospects gunning for a roster spot, and now there's another place open.

Ceddanne Rafaela and Wilyer Abreu have been battling all spring for the final slot in the Red Sox's pastures. Now, the club may not have to choose between them for Opening Day.

An injury to Rob Refsnyder gives both Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela a chance to make the Opening Day roster

Tyler O'Neill, Jarren Duran and Masataka Yoshida are Boston's other outfield options, but manager Alex Cora already stated that the majority of Yoshida's at-bats will come out of the designated hitter slot. With him as DH and Refsnyder out of commission, there's room for one prospect in the starting lineup and one on the bench. And one of them is off to a clear lead for the starting job.

Rafaela has been smashing expectations set out for him in Grapefruit League play and, unfortunately, Abreu hasn't touched his production from his short stint in the big leagues last year.

Rafaela has greatly increased his plate production and has posted some better-than-anticipated numbers. In 36 at-bats, he's posted nine hits, three doubles and three home runs, and seven RBI. Rafaela is known to be a free-swinger, and it shows in the 10 strikeouts he's collected, but he's also worked four walks to show an improvement in his eye.

Abreu has not been sharing the same success. He's batting .125 and he's only logged four hits in 32 at-bats. Almost half of his at-bats have resulted in strikeouts, as he's been fanned 14 times. He's worked eight walks though, which is promising since he's far from consistently putting the ball in play.

Abreu's numbers from his 28 major league games show his ability to get on base with more consistency. He posted a .316 batting average, 24 hits, eight went for extra bases, and 14 RBI. He also struck out 23 times, but he whiffed at a much lower rate last season than he is now.

With Refsnyder out of the lineup and both Rafaela and Abreu likely destined for the Opening Day roster, Abreu needs to find himself. His potential is greater than he's showing this spring — Red Sox Nation has seen it.

Hopefully, Refsnyder's injury can wake Abreu's bat, because a lot is riding on young players' shoulders this season.

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