Could rising Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela be the next Mookie Betts?


The Boston Red Sox have had a lot of young players develop in their system, but Ceddanne Rafaela may turn out to be one of the best.

Rafaela is batting .312 with 16 home runs and 19 stolen bases through 74 games between A+ Salem and Double-A Portland this season. The 5-foot-8 prospect is also learning a new position in center field.

Red Sox Assistant General Manager Eddie Romero and Rafaela himself both recently talked with Rob Bradford for the latest episode of The Bradfo Sho.

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“It goes without saying that he’s put himself into a really good position with the work he’s put in over the past few years,” Romero said (8:22 in player above). He’s gotten significantly stronger.

“I think one thing that separates Ceddanne from a lot of players are his instincts. He was born into a baseball-playing family and I think it was just a matter of time and some adjustments that he made with his swing to unlock some power. He’s got ridiculous hand-eye coordination. He’s got an incredible sixth sense for the game, for positioning. He sees things happen before they do. Those are the things that really help elevate his skill and his talent already to what has so far been a really good season.”

Romero credited Dennis Neuman, the organization's area scout, with identifying Rafaela as a teenager in Curaçao. He only weighed 135 pounds as a 16-year old, but the Red Sox saw something in Rafaela and it’s paid off so far.

“We’re gonna take a risk here because there’s so much to like. And the intangibles put him over the top … We knew that this kid was gonna do everything not only on the field but he was gonna – he knew that he needed to get better, get bigger, and he told us that.”

As soon as the Red Sox got Rafaela in their academy, the youngster walked the walk. He was doing workouts on his own, Romero said. Even during the pandemic, when the team couldn’t see the players much, Rafaela came back even stronger after working out on his own in Curaçao.

Rafaela is a special talent, one that people within the Red Sox organization haven’t seen come through their system in quite some time. He’s drawn some comparisons to Mookie Betts due to his size and versatility, and Rafaela may not mind that.

The prospect said that he looks up to guys like Betts, Ronald Acuña Jr, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers.

“Xander, I talked to him in Spring Training, he gave me advice just work hard, play hard every game,” Rafaela said. “Seeing those guys in Spring Training and having a chance to play with the big team and Cora giving me advice was motivation for me.”

The comparisons to Betts may not be fair to the 21-year-old Rafaela, but his talent and instincts have him rising up the prospect charts.

Rafaela is just going to continue to do what he does. He described his game in one way: “play hard.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Portland Sea Dogs