5 issues to learn about Purple Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela after his call-up to MLB

Purple Sox

Rafaela is slashing .302/.349/.520 with 20 house runs and 79 RBIs over 108 video games within the minors this season.

Ceddanne Rafaela has stolen 36 bases this season.
Ceddanne Rafaela is batting .302 this season between Portland and Worcester. Ashley Inexperienced / Worcester Purple Sox

The Purple Sox gave one in every of their most promising prospects a call-up to the massive leagues on Monday afternoon.

Within the hours forward of Boston’s collection opener towards the Houston Astros at Fenway Park, the Purple Sox introduced that they referred to as up outfielder/infielder Ceddanne Rafaela from Triple-A Worcester.

The 22-year-old Rafaela is predicted to make his big-league debut on Tuesday, with extra reps in middle subject obtainable after Jarren Duran landed on the IL with a toe damage.

Rafaela is taken into account one of the intriguing prospects in baseball due to his versatile skillset, rating as Boston’s No. 3 prospect (and No. 77 in MLB) by MLB Pipeline, whereas The Athletic’s Keith Regulation tabbed him because the Purple Sox’ No. 2 prospect in his preseason rankings and the No. 48 prospect in baseball in his midseason replace.  

So what do the Purple Sox have in a participant like Rafaela? Listed below are 5 issues to know in regards to the Curaçao native.

1. Rafaela already has Gold-Glove potential in middle subject 

Rafaela’s path to the massive leagues has appeared all however inevitable for the previous couple of years, due largely to his sterling defensive capabilities. A flexible defender, Rafaela has made 84 begins this season in middle subject and 15 at shortstop throughout his stints with each Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester.

And although Rafaela is a plus-defender within the infield, his expertise shines whereas patrolling the outfield. His spotlight reels with each Portland and Worcester are affected by cases the place he has erased extra-base hits and runs off the scorecard by the use of diving grabs and fence-climbing snags.

“Defensively, he’s prepared proper now,” Worcester Purple Sox supervisor Chad Tracy instructed Alex Speier of The Boston Globe final week. “He may go up there and play pretty much as good or higher middle fielder than a lot of the guys which can be up there. I firmly imagine that.”

Rafaela, who was named the Purple Sox’ minor-league defensive participant of the 12 months in each 2021 and 2022, ought to be good for no less than an online gem or two for nonetheless lengthy he stays up in MLB this season.

“That is my twentieth 12 months within the group. I’ve by no means seen the man that you would put in two premier positions on the diamond and he performs at that elite standing. I’ve simply by no means seen something prefer it,” Sea Canines supervisor Chad Epperson instructed Speier in September 2022. “He will get to balls with ease and has a knack to play the infield, all the time answerable for hops … You hear coaches that you simply speak to on the opposite staff [say] he’s the most effective participant within the league.”

2. He’s drawn comparisons to a former Purple Sox star on the plate

Rafaela’s defensive abilities have been doubtless going to carve his path as much as the massive leagues sooner or later, even when he served as extra of a utility participant.

However his improved manufacturing on the plate has allowed him to soar up the Purple Sox farm-system rankings.

Up to now this season, Rafaela is slashing .302/.349/.520 with 20 house runs and 79 RBIs over 108 mixed video games between Portland and Worcester.

Regardless of the soar in competitors, Rafaela has really improved since getting referred to as as much as Triple-A again in late June. After slugging six house runs and driving in 37 runs over 60 video games with Double-A Portland, the Curaçao native has clubbed 14 house runs in simply 48 video games with Worcester.

Despite the fact that he’s not precisely essentially the most imposing determine on the plate (5-foot-9), Rafaela can generate loads of energy on the plate due to his fast arms and bat pace. From August 1-5, Rafaela homered in 5 straight video games for the WooSox. 

Given his capability to barrel the ball constantly with out a lot heft on his body, Rafaela has drawn a number of comparisons to a different smaller Purple Sox participant who packed loads of punch.

“I consider Mookie Betts actually after I see him,” Rafaela’s Portland teammate, David Hamilton, instructed Chris Smith of MassLive.com final 12 months. “He can do all of it. He can hit. He can subject. He can run. He can throw. So he’s an incredible participant.”

3. His plate self-discipline nonetheless wants work

Given Rafaela’s already polished defensive play and manufacturing on the plate, why has it taken him till the ultimate week of August to earn a long-awaited call-up to the massive leagues?

All of it comes right down to plate self-discipline, which has been an everyday hurdle for the promising prospect to beat throughout his years within the minors.

“Swing selections, for positive,” Tracy mentioned of Rafaela’s major focus throughout an interview with Boston.com earlier this season. “We knew he was a gifted man. We knew he was going to have the ability to hit, defend, all that . However the swing determination half was the following piece of the puzzle that wanted to proceed to enhance.”

A few of Rafaela’s manufacturing has been a results of his aggressive habits on the plate, with the outfielder liable to chasing pitches and difficult no matter choices are thrown to him. 

Up to now this season, Rafaela has struck out 103 occasions and walked solely 26 occasions in 444 at-bats between Portland and Worcester. 

Bettering plate self-discipline has been a long-standing directive issued by the Purple Sox growth employees in relation to Rafaela’s progress.

As Alex Speier famous earlier this 12 months, the Purple Sox even restricted Rafaela to only one swing per at-bat throughout spring coaching as a way to drill down the aim of not chasing pitches.

Rafaela has made strides relenting off of pitches outdoors the zone, prompting his call-up on Monday. It’s a directive that he might want to proceed to comply with, given the challenges that await towards MLB pitchers.

“Even the most effective hitters on the planet are gonna chase typically,” Tracy defined to Boston.com. “They’re gonna chase up or down, they’re gonna chase out of the zone. The purpose for him is — let’s hone it again into an space that type of hovers round what the typical of what the remainder of the league does.

And if we do this, together with your capability, your bat-to-ball abilities, then swiftly we’re eliminating 15 p.c of the balls that we’re swinging at that we don’t actually have an opportunity to barrel. We hone these in after which let’s see what number of extra balls now hit the barrel of your bat, which lets you do severe harm.”

4. Rafaela set a Sea Canines document for steals in a sport

Rafaela’s protection and pop on the plate have allowed him to develop right into a promising asset in Boston’s prospect pipeline. However his pace and aggressiveness on the basepaths additionally add one other factor to his repertoire that Boston will look to make the most of this season.

Rafaela has stolen 36 bases in his 108 video games between Portland and Worcester this season, headlined by a record-setting efficiency again in Could.

Throughout a 6-2 loss towards the Somerset Patriots on Could 13, Rafaela stole six bases for the Sea Canines en path to a brand new franchise document. Rafaela was initially credited with seven stolen bases, along with his remaining steal of third base within the ninth inning modified by the official scorer after the sport to defensive indifference.

Rafaela’s six steals in a single sport have solely been achieved by 4 gamers in AL/NL historical past and have been solely matched as soon as within the twenty first century. Carl Crawford stole six bases for the Rays in a sport towards the Purple Sox on Could 5, 2009.

“He’s very toolsy. He just about has all of it. He can hit, hit for energy, he can throw, he can run,” Purple Sox outfielder coordinator Corey Wimberly instructed Speier final July. “It’s laborious to undertaking guys, however I feel he’s gonna be fairly good, man. I feel he’s gonna be higher than what folks assume. I feel he’s actually gonna be a celebrity participant. I actually imagine that.”

5. Rafaela’s household have been clearly enormous Atlanta Braves followers

As noted by Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, Rafaela’s full identify is Ceddanne Chipper Nicasio Marte Rafaela. 

Positive sufficient, Rafaela was partially named after former Braves third baseman Chipper Jones as a result of his mom, Rechilena, was a giant fan. As was the case with many baseball followers rising up in Curaçao, the Braves have been a simple staff to root for with Curaçao’s personal Andruw Jones on the staff. 

Nonetheless, Rafaela did admit to Chris Smith of MassLive.com that he all the time appreciated the Purple Sox rising up, with Manny Ramirez standing as his favourite hitter and Dustin Pedroia his favourite defender.