This little-known Red Sox prospect is leading pro baseball in extra-base hits

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The player with the most extra-base hits in pro baseball right now is a 5-foot-8 middle infielder in the Red Sox’ minor league system.

Introducing: Ceddanne Rafaela.

The Rob Refsnyder story

With another home run Thursday, Rafaela now has 42 extra-base hits on the season, one ahead of Rafael Devers and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. Rafaela is a clear top-10 prospect in the Red Sox system and rising fast.

The Red Sox signed him out of Curaçao in 2017, due to his high energy and magnetic charisma, reports Alex Speier of the Globe. At the time, Rafaela weighed just 130 pounds. Most clubs considered him too small and fragile to warrant an opportunity.

But the Red Sox brought Rafaela to their Dominican academy and signed him for $10,000. Five years later, he’s showing he was well worth the investment. In high-A Greenville, Rafaela slashed .330/.368/.594 with nine home runs and 36 RBI in 45 games. He’s been even better since being promoted to Portland earlier this month.

Rafaela is hitting .305/.333/.712 in 15 games with five homers. His rise has been meteoric.

Through the first two months of 2021, Rafaela was hitting a modest .225/.302/.317 with just one home run. But then he made some adjustments to his stance, and finished with a .266/.306/.484 line over the final three months to go along with nine homers.

This week, outfielder Rob Refsnyder said on The Bradfo Sho that the Red Sox “go above and beyond” in preparing players for the major leagues. Rafaela’s incredible improvemet, and subsequent success, shows that to be true.

He’s playing himself right in line for a spot in the Futures Game, where his power would be on display for the whole baseball world to see.