Ceddanne Rafaela will start the 2023 season in Double-A Portland.
It’s a call that will come as a shock because the 22-year-old prime prospect emerged as a formidable defender when he moved from shortstop to the outfield final 12 months, and attracts comparisons to a younger Mookie Betts.
Rafaela skyrocketed to No. 3 within the Red Sox farm system, and completed the 12 months because the group’s Minor League Defensive Player of the Year. He additionally hit .299/.342/.539 with 32 doubles, 10 triples, and 21 dwelling runs, 82 runs scored, 86 RBI, and 28 stolen bases between High-A (45 video games) and Double-A (71 video games).
Added to the 40-man roster final November to guard him from the Rule 5 Draft, this was Rafaela’s first spring at main league camp. He appeared in 16 Grapefruit League video games, going 7-for-32 with no extra-base hits, 5 runs, 4 RBI, a stroll, and 6 strikeouts. He additionally went 1-for-3 in stolen-base makes an attempt earlier than the Red Sox optioned him to the minor leagues on March 13.
A small, however underwhelming pattern dimension.
However, a supply tells the Herald that the Double-A call shouldn’t be seen as an indictment of his spring. The group desires their prized defender to have the ability to give attention to sure areas of enhancements, together with plate self-discipline, with out concurrently having to regulate to the next, harder stage.
It’s simple to attach the dots to Jarren Duran’s demotion to Triple-A, which occurred on Tuesday afternoon. The 26-year-old centerfielder was competing with Raimel Tapia for the final outfield spot on the roster, and sources inform the Herald that the previous Blue Jay, who infamously hit an inside-the-park grand slam at Fenway final summer season, received out.
Unlike Duran, who has remaining minor league choices, Tapia was a non-roster invitee. The Red Sox should make a commerce, designation for project, or put somebody on the 60-day injured checklist with the intention to add Tapia to the 40-man roster.
Had Duran and Rafaela began the season on the identical stage, they’d’ve competed for enjoying time within the outfield. But the chance of overcrowding didn’t issue into sending the prospect to Portland, a call the supply stated the Red Sox remodeled every week in the past.
In Double-A, Rafaela will be capable of proceed honing his craft in an surroundings the place he’s already snug. There’s no rule that claims he has to remain there; MLB Pipeline lists his main league ETA as this 12 months.
The Red Sox have watched prime prospects flame out too many instances to depend, and that is somebody who’s already being talked about as a future Gold Glove defender.
Better protected than sorry.