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March 13, 2023 at 8:00 AM

2023 Countdown to Spring Training: Nick Yorke and Ceddanne Rafaela

We've made it through the bulk of the offseason and spring training is here! To celebrate the return of baseball, we'll be counting down by posting our scouting reports for the players on our Top 60 from February 13 until March 15—not coincidentally, the same day the SoxProspects brass arrive in Fort Myers for the start of games in minor league camp. 

2022 Teams: Greenville
Final Stats: 373 PA, .231/.303/.365, 10 2B, 11 HR, 8.8 BB%, 25.2 K%
2023 Projected Level: Portland

Scouting Report
Physical Description: Sturdy frame. Filled out for his age. Thick lower half. Lost 25 pounds between his draft year and first full pro season. Some remaining projection, mainly in his upper body, and could stand to add some strength.

Hit: Typically has started open with his hands by his chest. In 2022 Arizona Fall League, experimented with starting with his hands up and bat pointed behind him before getting to the same load position. Utilizes a slight leg lift timing device. Advanced hit tool. Strong feel for hit. Has bat speed and a very fluid, compact swing. Two-handed finish. Good barrel control. Advanced approach for his age. Willing to use all fields, but did get pull happy in 2022 at times as he tinkered with his mechanics. Good separation in his swing. Makes good swing decisions and rarely expands the zone. Consistently makes solid contact. Has shown the ability to turn on velocity up in the zone already. Potential plus hit tool.

Power: Average raw power. In-game power is still developing, but should get to fringe-average at least. Has shown the ability to impact the baseball. Power potential is somewhat limited by swing path, which is more designed for hard line drives.

Run: Fringe-average speed. Plays faster than his raw speed due to baserunning instincts. Could get slower as he ages.

Field: Fringe-average range, but has soft hands. Can be robotic at times and a little stiff. Comfortable charging the ball and throwing on the run. Has a chance to stick at second base but will never be a standout defender. Played shortstop in high school but moved to second base after signing. Potential fringe-average defender.

Arm: Fringe-average arm strength.

Career Notes: Mother was a four-time All-American softball player at Fresno State. First came onto the system's radar because of Fresno State connection between his mother and scout Josh Labandeira. Brothers Joe and Zach play college baseball at Cal Poly-SLO (after transferring from Boise State when that school cut its baseball program) and Grand Canyon University, respectively. Had shoulder surgery before his junior year and was limited to DH duty that spring while his shoulder healed. Selection in the first round surprised many and defied public draft rankings, but Red Sox amateur scouting department was convinced both that he would have been more generally regarded as a first-round talent but for the cancellation of the spring season and that he would not have been available with the team's next pick, in the third round. Was added to the Club Player Pool very late in the 2020 season, impressing with quality at-bats against much older competition in about a week-and-a-half at the Alternate Training Site. Participated in the 2020 Fall Instructional League. Participated in the 2021 Fall Performance Program. Participated in 2022 Winter Warm-Up. Entered the 2022 season as a consensus top-50 prospect. Struggled through multiple injuries in 2022, missing roughly a week-and-a-half in May/June with turf toe, two weeks in June due to back stiffness, and another two weeks in July with left wrist soreness that briefly popped up during the Arizona Fall League, costing him about another week. Unclear to what degree the injuries contributed to his down season at the plate, but certainly contributed somewhat.

Summation: Potential bat-first utility type. Ceiling of an everyday regular. 2022 was a step back, but could partially be attributed to injuries. At his best, he has one of the most advanced hit tools in the system and one of the most polished in all of minor league baseball. Outstanding makeup and work ethic. Does not project to add much value defensively. Bat would be more valuable at second base, but will potentially play pretty much anywhere if he is unable to stick there. Injury history is somewhat concerning, and will need to be monitored after an injury-plagued 2022.

2022 Teams: Greenville and Portland
Final Stats: 522 PA, .299/.342/.539, 32 2B, 10 3B, 21 HR, 5 BB%, 21.6 K%
2023 Projected Level: Portland

Scouting Report
Physical Description: Small, athletic. Very twitchy. Has grown since he entered the organization, but still is relatively slight of frame. Does not have a frame to add significant weight, but is sneaky strong for his size.

Hit: Starts slightly open and utilizes a short, leg lift timing device. Stance, load, and swing are visually reminiscent of Mookie Betts. Gets his foot down and gets through with his hands. Quick hands, plus bat speed. Good bat control and contact skills. Aggressive approach that needs considerable refinement. Does not walk much and expands the strike zone often, but has the bat control to put the ball in play, leading to a lot of weak contact on pitches outside the zone rather than the strikeouts that might otherwise result from a similar approach. Will expand the zone particularly often against breaking balls. How his approach develops will determine where his hit tool ends up. Potential fringe-average hit tool.

Power: Produces average exit velocities. Will show above-average power in batting practice to all fields. In-game power is more noticeable to the pull side. Potential average in-game power.

Run: Plus speed. Speed plays both on the bases and in the field. Needs to improve baserunning instincts.

Field: Versatile, standout defender. Has shown the potential to be a plus defender all around the diamond. Best position is center field, but organization has also continued to get him reps at shortstop. In the outfield, has really good instincts. Takes really efficient routes and has plus-plus range. Routinely makes highlight reel plays. After exclusively playing the infield in 2018 and 2019, he began playing the outfield in 2021 and immediately showed plus defensive ability there. Named farm system's 2021 and 2022 Defensive Player of the Year.

Arm: Plus arm. Quick release. Throws have good carry.

Career Notes: Played in the Little League World Series for Curacao in 2012. Was scouted by former Red Sox pitching prospect Dennis Neuman. Participated in the Fall Instructional League in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Participated in the 2021 Fall Performance Program. Participated in 2022 Winter Warm-Up. Named to the 2022 MLB Futures Game. Finished the 2022 season ranked as a top 100 prospect by some outlets. Was named SoxProspects.com Player of the Year in 2022. Worked out with Team Netherlands at its Kingdom Series in November 2022, signaling that he may be considered for the team at the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Added to the 40-man roster in November 2022 to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Participated in 2023 Rookie Development Program. Entered 2023 as a consensus top 100 prospect.

Summation: Potential bench utility player. Ceiling of an everyday regular who adds considerable value on defense and also contributes some at the plate. Defensive ability and versatility and speed give him a high floor. Could be a plus defender at every position except catcher and first base. Bat lags behind, but has improved considerably in 2022. Approach is what holds him back now and will determine his ultimate value at the plate. Needs to cut down on chasing pitches out of the zone and improve swing decisions and quality of contact.

Photo Credit: Nick Yorke and Ceddanne Rafaela by Kelly O'Connor.

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.