Predicting which Red Sox prospects will finish the season in Boston

Red Sox

The Red Sox will soon be able to add an additional pitcher and position player, as well as an official replacement for Jarren Duran.

Red Sox top prospect Ceddanne Rafaela already seems to have friends in the Boston Red Sox’ clubhouse. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The Boston Red Sox will have some pretty important decisions to make in the coming days.

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On Friday, the Red Sox will be able to add two more players to their roster. One of these two extra spots will go to a pitcher, and the other will go to a position player. But outfielder Jarren Duran’s season-ending toe injury has opened up another roster spot, which has been held by prospects Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela.

Abreu and Rafaela are currently still on the major league roster, with Abreu on paternity leave until Friday at the latest. But they’re not the only prospects who have been recently called up. With Pablo Reyes on the 10-day injured list, infielder David Hamilton is on the Red Sox’ roster and has since suited up for the club.

Unlike Duran’s, Reyes’s injury does not appear to jeopardize his season. This means that as of now, there will be two position spots up for grabs, but there will be some stiff competition.

“Boston views it right now as three candidates (Abreu, Rafaela and David Hamilton),” said MassLive’s Christopher Smith, “For two positional spots throughout September when Reyes is back, according to an industry source.”

The Red Sox can go a variety of ways with these spots, as well as their pitcher spot. They could keep two of Abreu, Rafaela and Hamilton for their position spots. They could call someone up from Triple-A Worcester, such as Enmanuel Valdez or Bobby Dalbec, and they will likely do so with their pitcher. They could even claim one of the many names placed on waivers, such as Lucas Giolito or Harrison Bader.

The only certainty is that at least one of Abreu, Rafaela or Hamilton will be sent down by the time Reyes returns to action. But outside of that, we don’t know what the Red Sox are going to do before Friday.

Here are our predictions for who will take these three roster spots.

Ceddanne Rafaela

Rafaela was promoted to the Worcester Red Sox in June, and he has since taken the minor league world by storm. He has batted .312/.370/.618 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs and has showcased his elite power, speed and MLB-ready defense. And once Abreu entered paternity leave, the 22-year-old received the call to Boston, earning his first opportunity at the big league level.

Even though Abreu will not be out for much longer, since rosters expand when Abreu returns, Rafaela’s spot doesn’t seem to be in danger. He will play a massive role in the future of Boston, and the Red Sox like calling up their top prospects near the end of the season to acclimate them to the major league level. They did the same thing with Triston Casas last September.

Rafaela’s positional versatility also makes him valuable to have on this roster. Rafaela can play both the outfield and shortstop, making him a very good replacement to have in case someone needs an off-day or gets hurt. But that’s not why the Red Sox called him up. They did so because they know they have a future star on their hands. And now that he’s here, it would be a surprise if he goes anywhere.

Wilyer Abreu

Abreu has had the month of his life. He started his August by winning the International League Player of the Week Award for the week of Aug. 7-13, thanks in large part to his 6 home runs and .591 batting average. A few weeks later, he was called up to Boston and recorded his first hit and home run against the Houston Astros, the organization that traded him away in August 2022. And on Monday, Abreu and his wife welcomed their first child into the world. 

Now that Duran will not play again this season, it’s almost certain that at least one of these three spots will go to an outfielder. Abreu was the first player they chose to replace Duran, and it’s likely the Red Sox don’t regret that decisiom. He has shown tremendous command of the strike zone and legitimate power while in the majors so far. Like Rafaela, he could also be a major part of the Red Sox’ plans going forward, especially as Adam Duvall’s future with the Red Sox appears uncertain. Getting him accustomed to major league pitching this season could help him better prepare for a greater role down the road.

Chris Murphy

Murphy has been on and off the Red Sox’ throughout the season, and he’s currently in the middle of a slump. But it’s clear that manager Alex Cora trusts him, and he has shown flashes of legitimate dominance in a relief role. He has proven to be one of the better lefties within the organization, and he put talent on display at various points in the season.

If Murphy is chosen to finish September with the Red Sox, it won’t happen on Friday. He was optioned to Triple-A Worcester on Monday, and the MLB rules state that any player optioned to the minor leagues must remain there for at least 10 days. The Red Sox will still call up a pitcher, whether it be Brandon Walter, Nick Robertson or another member of the organization. But we believe that this spot will eventually go to Murphy, even if it will take some time. The Red Sox are keen on second chances, and if there’s anyone who deserves an opportunity to overcome a slump, it’s Murphy.