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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Ceddanne Rafaela looks to run into our hearts

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He’s an exciting player, and a type that the Red Sox have developed.

Ceddanne Rafaela
Kelly O’Connor; sittingstill.smugmug.com

We are just about at the end of this list as we have just a couple of spots left to fill. The bottom of our top-30, which of course has been extended due to the lack of baseball and thus things to really talk about, has been filled with lower-minors players who are more potential than big-time production at this point. That continues here, although the player we’re discussing today hasn’t exactly been dormant at the plate. Coming in at number 28, grabbing 39 percent of the vote, is Ceddanne Rafaela.

Rafaela was part of the 2018 international class, which was a big one for the Red Sox as it was the first time in a couple of years that they were really able to spend on players. Rafaela, however, was not really on the radar at that point. Amid some big signings including Daniel Flores, Danny Diaz and Antoni Flores, Rafaela quietly came aboard from Curacao for a modest $10,000 signing bonus. That is not to say that he was a brand new name to people, however, as he had been in a bit of a national spotlight as a child having represented team Curacao in the Little League World Series back in 2012.

Back then, and really even extending to today, however, he never really jumped out unless you were looking for him. Rafaela is not exactly an intimidating presence on the field, coming in listed at just 5’8”, 145 pounds. He plays bigger than that, though, and has been solid for the Red Sox. The small infielder made his professional debut in 2018 and spent that entire summer in the Dominican, hitting .271/.326/.379 while playing both third base and shortstop for that team. It wasn’t a standout performance, but it was very solid and earned him a bump up to the the GCL the following season.

Rafaela would show off even more versatility last year, adding second base to his repertoire and moving seamlessly around the diamond while maintaining a solid presence at the plate. That achievement is nothing to sneeze at for an 18-year-old kid playing in the States for the first time. Just as the previous summer went, Rafaela didn’t dominate the GCL by any stretch, but he was solid with a .248/.329/.425 line that earned him a late-season promotion to Lowell as well. The batting average doesn’t look great, but he made contact and was just hurt by a low .269 batting average on balls in play.

Rafaela was not quite on the radar last summer, but he has started to gain a little buzz over the last six months or so and is certainly a name to watch for some helium if they do end up having a minor-league season in 2020. Rafaela is certainly undersized, but from Mookie Betts to Andrew Benintendi all the way back to Dustin Pedroia, Boston has had some success finding big-time talent from small players. That’s not to say Rafaela is on that track, but just not to write him off. He remains a far ways away, but there’s a path here for a solid major leaguer.

Rafaela makes a lot of contact, and he has the athleticism to turn some of that contact into extra bases. What really opened up some eyes last year, though, was the surprising power. Rafaela isn’t going to win any home run titles, but he showed off legitimate pop in 2019. Given how his speed and contact can produce some extra doubles, even double-digit homer power would give him a really solid slugging profile to go with the speed he brings on the bases. In the field, Rafaela has graded out solidly all across the infield, which gives him some other bonus points as a guy who can play all around the dirt off the bench in the (frankly, likely) event that his bat doesn’t quite play up to a starter’s production.

Rafaela, as alluded to above, figured to be a name to watch in the low minors in 2020. That is obviously in jeopardy. If there is somehow minor-league ball this summer, the 19-year-old would be expected to head to Lowell to play short-season ball again with a chance at a late-season taste of Greenville.

Here is our full list so far:

1. Jeter Downs

2. Triston Casas

3. Bobby Dalbec

4. Bryan Mata

5. Noah Song

6. Gilberto Jimenez

7. Jay Groome

8. Jarren Duran

9. Thad Ward

10. Tanner Houck

11. Matthew Lugo

12. C.J. Chatham

13. Connor Wong

14. Nick Decker

15. Cameron Cannon

16. Marcus Wilson

17. Aldo Ramirez

18. Brayan Bello

19. Ryan Zeferjahn

20. Chris Murphy

21. Chih-Jung Liu

22. Bryan Gonzalez

23. Antoni Flores

24. Durbin Feltman

25. Brainer Bonaci

26. Pedro Castellanos

27. Brandon Howlett

28. Luis Perales

29. Ceddanne Rafaela

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number two. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...