June 24, 2024

The Red Sox are getting ready for the 2024 season, and it will be intriguing to watch how they perform following a comparatively quiet off-season. The idea was that the team will spend some money in free agency to improve their team after placing last in the American League East in 2023, but that hasn’t generally happened.

At first glance, Boston’s 2024 roster appears to be worse than their 2023 team, which is noteworthy given how awful they were the previous season. Their farm system has improved in recent seasons, which is positive, and they may benefit this year from some of their top prospects after not making many trades throughout the winter.

The success of the Sox this season is largely dependent on the ability of some of their prospects to reach the main leagues and subsequently provide significant contributions. Let’s look at the guy who might make the Opening Day roster even though not all of their top prospects are ready for the big leagues. He could join the major league team as soon as Spring Training, so let’s see why he might.

Ceddanne Rafaela is a Red Sox prospect who may be added to the Opening Day roster.

Ceddanne Rafaela made his big league debut for a brief 28-game stint last season, so this may be a little unfair, but it’s not like he’s a lock to make the squad. Rafaela may have benefited from more minor league experience as he only played 48 games at Triple-A with the Worcester Red Sox prior to being promoted to the major leagues.

However, Rafaela might start the season in the top leagues. Rafaela’s rise through the Boston minor league ranks in recent years has been remarkable due to his special combination of defensive power, quickness, and positional adaptability.

He has a good chance of making the Opening Day roster because there aren’t many other impact bats on the roster.

Rafaela was promoted to Triple-A, where he somehow performed even better than where he had started the season in Double-A with the Portland Sea Dogs (.294 BA, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 30 SB,.773 OPS). Rafaela’s wild hitting in the minors caught Boston’s attention, and at the end of the season, he received a brief call-up to the majors (.241 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB, and.666 OPS).

There are many things to appreciate about Rafaela’s game and how it could transition to the majors, despite the fact that he struggled a little in the majors, which was to be expected. Rafaela, who is only 5’9,” has a lot of pop in his bat for his size, and his style of play is similar to that of former fan favorite Mookie Betts, who rose quickly through the minor leagues before emerging as one of the league’s greatest hitters.

Rafaela has a very similar playing style to Betts, so this isn’t to say he will ever be as brilliant. Rafaela is a player that can hit between.250 and.270 and might finish the season with 30 home runs and 40 stolen bases.

Rafaela has every chance to be a Red Sox player who is an All-Star for years to come if he can just work on making better contact and cutting down on strikeouts.

The fact that Rafaela and Betts are versatile players on defense is another striking resemblance between them. Before being moved back to second base with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, Betts was originally assigned to the outfield. Rafaela has experience in the lower leagues at shortstop and third base in addition to being an outfield player. Last season, he played center field for the majority of his time with Boston, while he also saw some action at shortstop and second base.

Alex Cora knows has a plan for Ceddanne Rafaela longterm

Although the Red Sox usually know who will start at first base, there is still a chance that a guy with Rafaela’s kind of ability may make an impact right away. Rafaela is a valuable utility player to have at your disposal, even if he spends most of his time on the bench. Since giving him a starting role would be a bit too much, that might be the best approach to develop him.

Rafaela is likely to begin the season in Triple-A in order to receive more at-bats; however, if he does well in Spring Training, there is no reason to send him back to the lower leagues.

Rafaela can make the Opening Day roster if he continues to hit well in February and March, as he has already demonstrated his ability to rake at Triple-A.

 

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