Promising Red Sox youngster is worth every penny of extension

promising red sox youngster is worth every penny of extension

Ceddanne Rafaela.

Ceddanne Rafaela, who signed long-term with Boston earlier this season, is slowly becoming one of the most versatile and fun-to-watch young players in the entire MLB. After signing with the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2017, Rafaela quickly surged up the club's farm system and MLB’s prospect rankings. In 116 games in 2022, splitting time between AA and A+, he slashed .299/.342/.538 with 63 extra-base hits (21 HR) and 28 stolen bases.

After posting similarly impressive numbers in AAA through the beginning of 2023, Rafela was called up and made his long-awaited major league debut. In 28 games (89 PA) to finish off the year, he slashed .241/.281/.386 and hit two home runs. Although those numbers don’t jump off the page, the Red Sox front office saw enough positives and inked him to an eight-year, $50 million extension with an option that goes until 2032.

Immediately following the deal, however, Rafaela’s performance at the plate began to wane. His batting average dipped significantly, and his power numbers also declined. From the day he signed the extension on April 11 through May 16, he slashed .204/.229/.372. His strikeout rate increased and his walk rate dipped.

As of recently, however, Rafaela appears to be righting the ship. Since May 17, he is slashing .321/.345/.472. And over his last seven games, Rafaela is hitting .615 with an astounding OPS of .1489.

He is one of the hardest players in baseball to get out right now, and all the signs point to this version of Rafaela sticking around (maybe he won’t hit over .600, but even half of that is pretty good).

In addition, he is showing much more fielding versatility than he was during last season and before April 10 of this season. This year, he has played four positions, including center field, shortstop, second base, and third base. And because of how well he plays shortstop, he saved the Red Sox from having to look elsewhere to replace Trevor Story.

The Rafaela extension was a great move for the Red Sox, as it secured the future of a dynamic and versatile player with tremendous potential. Rafelas's ability to adjust and overcome adversity early in his career is very promising. Additionally, his exceptional defensive skills all around the diamond ensure he can be a cornerstone in the field.

By locking him into a long-term deal, the Red Sox not only stabilized a key position with a high-ceiling talent, but also potentially saved on future costs as Rafaela's value continues to rise. This extension also demonstrates the organization's commitment to developing and retaining homegrown talent, which is crucial for sustained success.

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