What to expect from Ceddanne Rafaela in the majors

The special gauntlet will help a prospective player move up the minor league ranks. The improved bat on top of this glove will be hitting his ticket to the show.

The Red Sox called up prospect No. 77 overall Ceddanne Rafaela to the Majors on Monday. The move came before Boston’s crucial three-game series with Houston at Fenway Park. The Sox sit 4 1/2 games behind the Astros for the final AL Wild Card spot at the time of the call.

Rafaela’s promotion comes after fellow quarterback Willier Abreu was moved to the paternity list, but with the rosters expanded to 28 on Sept. 1, there is an opportunity for Red Sox No. 3 player, who was already on the 40-man roster prior to Monday. It could go on for a while longer once Abru returns.

The 22-year-old offers an immediate highlight defense worthy of Boston’s major league roster, and he’s a glove who can play at multiple points, especially at center field and shortstop. Rafaela has the extra speed that should help track balls anyway, but he doesn’t always need it because his instincts and reflexes off the bat are so exceptional that he’ll be in the right place at the right time no matter what the wheels are.

“Making those plays, for me, is huge because a lot of baseball players only think offensively,” Rafaela told MLB Pipeline in spring training. “They want to hit home runs and doubles and stuff. I like to make plays too. I think I like to make plays more than I do home runs. It doesn’t help me just because I help my teammate too, who’s the pitcher, and it makes me feel good because I help the team.” .

Since making his Triple-A Worcester debut on June 29, the 5-foot-9 prospect has made 41 of his 47 starts defensively at position with six more at shortstop. While Rafaela has previous experience at second, third and both corner positions, he’s only played those two elite positions in 2023. He will face the very exciting Adam Duvall to play at center while Trevor’s healthy story remains. A lock short, but it’s a safe bet that manager Alex Cora will appreciate Rafaela’s versatility off the bench.

A right-handed batsman, Rafaela showed impressive gains in the box which led to Monday’s promotion. 312/.370/.618 with 14 batters and six steals in 48 total games for Worcester. In addition to his six teammates and 30 steals from his previous stint with Double-A Portland, he’s one of only 14 20-20 players in the Minor League to this point in 2023, and one of only two repeat 20-20 players along with his senior teammate. . 100 Probability Ronnie Mauricio.

However, if you delve into those numbers, you’ll have reason to believe that Rafaela will be more than just an average power hitter in the Majors. Of the 151 balls he hit in play at Triple-A, 69 exceeded the hard-hit standard of 95 mph. That 45.7 percent strikeout rate would rank fourth among Red Sox hitters with at least 150 strikeouts happening in 2023 — right between Triston Casas (46.2) and Masataka Yoshida (41.5) — while his 106.4 maximum strikeout speed Miles per hour would be last.

Rafaela did a better job of lofting the ball on contact as he climbed the ladder for the Red Sox, but 25.9 percent of his fly balls ended up over the fence in Triple-A—a rate not expected to be sustainable in the majors, especially with the relative lack of pop. Raw.

What is worth watching closely is Rafaela’s aggressiveness at the highest level. He walked just 5.5 percent of the time with Worcester, the 11th-lowest BB average among 336 Triple-A players with at least 200 plate appearances in 2023. Rafaela swung 55.1 percent of the pitches he saw with the WooSox; The average major league swing rate in 2023 is 47.3 percent. He especially tends to expand the area in the inner third of the plate, up and over the area, and that’s a level of aggression that major league pitchers can take advantage of in ways their Triple-A counterparts haven’t.

No matter how the bat plays when he arrives, Rafaela brings energy through his gloves and speed to Fenway at a time when Boston should mount an all-out deck attack heading into the postseason. The green monster and the middle right triangle have a new protector.

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