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Rookie Leading Red Sox Recent Hot Stretch

Entering June, the Boston Red Sox sat at 29-29. It was a familiar position for the franchise, who have hit the .500 mark 18 times this season. It seemed farfetched that Boston could string together a consistent and elongated run of wins. But once the middle of the month arrived, the Red Sox were ready to push for it. Thankfully for the club, so was its youngest player. Boston has won eight of its last nine contests entering Friday’s matchup with the Cincinnati Reds. And rookie Ceddanne Rafaela is leading the Red Sox’s recent hot streak. 

Ceddanne Rafaela Leading Red Sox Recent Hot Stretch

With how Rafaela has performed in the last week, it’s hard to believe he was batting .210 with a sub-.600 OPS eight days ago. The 23-year-old is in the midst of the hottest stretch of his professional career. Rafaela is on a seven-game hitting streak, including six multi-hit contests. He’s raised his average significantly and is producing at a dominant level for someone hitting the bottom of the lineup. During Rafaela’s streak, he’s batting an astonishing .615 with 16 hits, four RBI, two walks, and a home run. Boston won all but one of those contests.


The hot stretch began against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 12. In an 8-6 victory, Rafaela had two hits and scored a run. He had another two-knock day in a series-clinching win over Philadelphia. A change of opponent didn’t matter much to Rafaela, who continued raking against the AL-leading New York Yankees. After securing one hit in the first contest of a three-game set, the Curacao native went 6-8 with two three-hit matchups against the Bronx Bombers. As the nine hitter, Rafaela was getting on in a big way for the top of the lineup. He exited the home series against New York with a .238 batting average for the year. 

The bat stayed hot when the Red Sox traveled across the border to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Rafaela hit his first home run of the month on June 17 with a towering shot. He ended the day with two hits and a walk. The next day, he recorded three knocks and four total bases. Despite receiving an off-day in the final game of the series, where the Sox swept the Jays, Rafaela’s damage was felt. He touched nine bases in two games and raised his season average to .251. 


Rafaela’s recent games are also making Boston history. He became the first Red Sox player batting ninth in the lineup to ever reach base three or more times in four straight games. Rafaela can extend that record to five when Boston plays Cincinnati on Friday night.


Zooming Out On Rafaela’s 2024 Season

Despite the recent hot stretch, it wasn’t always a positive year for Rafaela. The 23-year-old struggled out of the gate. Splitting time between shortstop and center field, Rafaela was batting just .186 at the end of April. It seemed like he had a tough time fully adjusting to MLB pitching. Rafaela’s average stayed below .200 until May 5. His low OPS of .515 painted an even grimmer picture. But his last 30 games have revived his season.

Over Rafaela’s last 30 appearances, he’s batting a strong .309 with a near-.800 OPS. It’s been a massive blessing for Boston’s lineup, with the right-handed hitter scoring 18 runs from the nine-hole during that stretch. Rafaela recorded almost half of his hits over that time period in his last seven games. 


Although he’s had some shaky batting averages over the season, Rafaela’s RBI production is the one constant. In 73 games, he has driven in 41 runs. Over his 28 contests in 2023, he had just five RBI. It’s been an obvious stark difference in 2024, so much so that he is ahead of major superstars in the category. Rafaela currently leads all rookies in runs batted in and ranks 32nd overall. He ranks above Mookie Betts, Marcus Semien, Yordan Alvarez, and Matt Olson. That’s pretty impressive for an inexperienced 23-year-old.

He’s also been strong defensively as of late. Since the emergence of shortstop David Hamilton, Rafaela has spent more time roaming the outfield for Boston. He does so with elegance, smartness, and skill. Although it’s nearly impossible to match his hitting production on defense, Rafaela is trying his hardest. The rookie is becoming an all-around playmaker in 2024. It just had to take some time for Rafaela to fully break out. 



Main Photo Credits: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports


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