3 prospect takeaways from the Worcester Red Sox’ game on Thursday

Red Sox

Multiple highly-touted prospects played during Thursday’s game.

Ceddanne Rafaela is one of the best prospects the Red Sox have. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
  • Washington's Jeter Downs slides across home plate to score.

    Chris Sale can’t get through the 5th inning as Nationals top Red Sox 10-7

  • ‘We want the best for him’: Alex Cora expressed support for Jarren Duran

The Worcester Red Sox lost 2-1 on Thursday to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But the major league club still has a lot to look forward to.

Over the course of this past season, the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate and its players have made massive strides. They currently sit at third place in the International League, and are just one game short of the top. Some of the best prospects in Boston’s farm system are lighting it up at Worcester, and many of them did so during Thursday night’s game. 

What can the major league team expect from their affiliate to the west? What have we learned from Worcester, both on Thursday and over the past season?

Ceddanne Rafaela’s swing decisions are getting better.

Ceddanne Rafaela can do it all. His defense is already major league-ready, his blistering speed leaves fielders and bases in the dust, and his sheer power has made him one of the league’s most viral minor league players over the past few weeks. The third-ranked prospect in the Red Sox’ system (per MLB Pipeline) is truly great at everything except for his swing decisions.

Perhaps the only knock on Rafaela’s game is that he sometimes chases pitches that he should be taking. His over-aggressiveness is the one thing holding him back from a shot at the major leagues at the moment, which we have discussed already on Boston.com. But this seems to be changing.

Rafaela is starting to make better decisions at the plate, and that showed on Tuesday. He only struck out once in his three ABs and registered a walk in the fourth inning. We noticed that Rafaela was extremely careful at the plate, much more than he had been at Portland. He didn’t swing too much, only hitting the ones he knew he could hit. One of those hits was a game-tying home run—his 13th so far in Triple-A—that he mashed in the 7th inning on a 1-1 count.

Since being promoted to Worcester, Rafaela has been awesome. And if his swing decisions keep improving, we may not be seeing him there for much longer.

    Brandon Walter could have a real role in the major leagues.

    Walter has stayed in the bullpen during his stints in Boston, but he was drafted as a starter and is used that way in Worcester. He started on Thursday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was nothing short of excellent. Walter may have allowed a home run from Andres Chaparro to open the game, but he only allowed one more runner to reach scoring position after.

    Walter finished his five innings on Thursday with one earned run, two walks, two strikeouts and three hits. He forced plenty of weak contact during this game, as he caused six groundouts with the help of Worcester’s infield defense. 

    The southpaw is Boston’s 24th-ranked prospect, but he is easily one of its most MLB-ready. And dominant games like Thursday’s proves how capable of a pitcher he can be at the big-league level.

    Wilyer Abreu can really hit.

    Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Mitch Spence had an amazing performance on Thursday. He pitched six scoreless innings and notched six strikeouts in his dismantling of Worcester. There was nothing that the WooSox bats could do against Spence, as he only allowed two hits in his entire outing.

    Who had those two hits? None other than Wilyer Abreu.

    The same Wilyer Abreu who was recently named International League Player of the Week. He was the only WooSox player on Thursday to give Spence a hard time. And those weren’t just lucky hits. One of Abreu’s hits against Spence was a sixth-inning double.

    But this is nothing new for Abreu. In his first season in Triple-A, he has splits of .272/.386/.531 with a .917 OPS. He has 21 home runs so far and 61 RBIs, and has walked 55 times. The Red Sox slugger and their 17th-ranked prospect is in the midst of the best season in his career, and it looks like he will only get better.

Originally posted 2023-08-18 15:58:47.