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

Purple Sox

Rafaela is slashing .302/.349/.520 with 20 residence 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 large leagues on Monday afternoon.

Within the hours forward of Boston’s collection opener in opposition to the Houston Astros at Fenway Park, the Purple Sox introduced that they known 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 discipline accessible after Jarren Duran landed on the IL with a toe damage.

Rafaela is taken into account some of the intriguing prospects in baseball because of his versatile skillset, rating as Boston’s No. 3 prospect (and No. 77 in MLB) by MLB Pipeline, whereas The Athletic’s Keith Legislation 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 here are 5 issues to know concerning the Curaçao native.

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

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

And though Rafaela is a plus-defender within the infield, his expertise shines whereas patrolling the outfield. His spotlight reels with each Portland and Worcester are plagued 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 advised Alex Speier of The Boston Globe final week. “He might go up there and play pretty much as good or higher middle fielder than many 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 yr in each 2021 and 2022, needs to be good for at the very least an internet gem or two for nonetheless lengthy he stays up in MLB this season.

“That is my twentieth yr 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 Canine supervisor Chad Epperson advised Speier in September 2022. “He will get to balls with ease and has a knack to play the infield, at all times answerable for hops … You hear coaches that you simply speak to on the opposite staff [say] he’s the perfect participant within the league.”

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

Rafaela’s defensive skills have been seemingly going to carve his path as much as the large 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.

To this point this season, Rafaela is slashing .302/.349/.520 with 20 residence runs and 79 RBIs over 108 mixed video games between Portland and Worcester.

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

Though he’s not precisely probably the most imposing determine on the plate (5-foot-9), Rafaela can generate loads of energy on the plate because of his fast fingers and bat pace. From August 1-5, Rafaela homered in 5 straight video games for the WooSox. 

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

“I consider Mookie Betts actually once I see him,” Rafaela’s Portland teammate, David Hamilton, advised Chris Smith of MassLive.com final yr. “He can do all of it. He can hit. He can discipline. He can run. He can throw. So he’s an important 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 large leagues?

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

“Swing choices, 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 subsequent 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 vulnerable to chasing pitches and difficult no matter choices are thrown to him. 

To this point 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 terms of Rafaela’s progress.

As Alex Speier famous earlier this yr, the Purple Sox even restricted Rafaela to only one swing per at-bat throughout spring coaching with a view to drill down the objective 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 in opposition to MLB pitchers.

“Even the perfect hitters on this 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 sort of hovers round what the common of what the remainder of the league does.

And if we try this, together with your potential, your bat-to-ball expertise, then unexpectedly 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 critical injury.”

4. Rafaela set a Sea Canine report 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 Might.

Throughout a 6-2 loss in opposition to the Somerset Patriots on Might 13, Rafaela stole six bases for the Sea Canine en path to a brand new franchise report. Rafaela was initially credited with seven stolen bases, along with his closing 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 in opposition to the Purple Sox on Might 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 advised Speier final July. “It’s exhausting to venture guys, however I believe he’s gonna be fairly good, man. I believe he’s gonna be higher than what individuals assume. I believe he’s actually gonna be a celebrity participant. I actually imagine that.”

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

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

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

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