In his first season with the Cubs in 2021, Rafael set career marks in games played (103), average (.291), hits (86), runs (44), doubles (14), triples (2), home runs (11), RBI (33), stolen bases (12), OBP (.360) and slugging (.463)... Has appeared in 246 career major league games over parts of five seasons with five organizations (Colorado, Los Angeles Angels, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago)... Owns a career .255 (180-for-706) average with 28 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs and 66 RBI... Since debuting in 2008, has played in 1,121 minor league games, batting .292 (1,125-for-4,199) with 208 doubles, 67 triples, 72 home runs and 486 RBI... Rafael has appeared in all three outfield positions in his major league career; 94 games (67 starts) in left field, 87 games (71) in center, and 51 games (31) in right... Recorded a career-high, 18-game on-base streak from July 28-Aug. 15, 2021, including a career-high-tying eight-game hitting streak, July 29-Aug. 6... Aug. 1, 2021 in Washington, tallied the Cubs' first three-homer game since Kris Bryant (May 17, 2019)... Became the first Cubs left-handed hitter to turn the trick since Brant Brown, June 18, 1998, vs. Philadelphia... Owns a career .381 average (16-for-42) with five runs, four doubles, one homer and eight RBI as a pinch-hitter... In the first start of his 2019 season with Atlanta, hit a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning off the Dodgers Dustin May on Aug. 18... The home run snapped a streak of 246 consecutive major league at-bats without a home run .. his only previous home run was on May 25, 2016, off Texas' Shawn Tolleson... He appeared in four games off the bench for Atlanta in their 2019 Division Series against St. Louis... Appeared as a pinch-hitter in three games, going 0-for-3, while scoring a run as a pinch-runner in Game 2... Rafael is one of three active players to hail from El Tigre, Venezuela ... the others are Minnesota's Tomas Telis and Philadelphia's Mauricio Llovera... There have been seven players from El Tigre to make it to the majors ... prior to the previous three listed, the others to appear are Luis Aponte, Giovanni Carrara, Jean Machi and Jose Tabata... He was signed by Colorado as an international free agent in 2008.
In 2021, Rafael played in 103 games for the Cubs, setting career marks in games played, average (.291), hits (86), runs (44), doubles (14), triples (2), home runs (11), RBI (33), stolen bases (12), OBP (.360) and slugging (.463)... His 86 hits were the fourth-most on the team, while he was one of nine Cubs to hit 10-plus homers (11)... Hit .321 (80-for-249) with 11 homers and 33 RBI vs. right-handed pitching, compared to .128 (6-for-47) with no homers and no RBI vs. left-handed pitching... Recorded two of the four Cubs game-opening homers, Aug. 1 at Washington and Sept. 30 in Pittsburgh... Owned the highest batting average among major league qualifiers from July 17-Aug. 18, batting .394 (39-for-99) during that stretch... Recorded a career-high, 18-game on-base streak from July 28-Aug. 15, including a career-high-tying eight-game hitting streak, July 29-Aug. 6... Aug. 1 in Washington, tallied the Cubs first three-homer game since Kris Bryant (May 17, 2019)... Became the first Cubs left-handed hitter to turn the trick since Brant Brown, June 18, 1998 vs. Philadelphia... Became the Cubs first leadoff hitter with at least four hits and five RBI in a game since Alfonso Soriano, on Sept, 6, 2008 at Cincinnati... Notched his first career walk-off hit and homer Aug, 23 vs. Colorado, a two-run blast in the ninth inning... Finished the season by hitting .400 (14-for-35) with two doubles, a homer, an RBI, a .523 OBP and a 1.066 OPS in his last 11 games.
Rafael spent the entire season with the Atlanta Braves at their Alternate Training Site and did not appear with the major league club.
Began the season with Triple-A Gwinnett and played in 111 games with the Stripers…Had his contract selected on 8/13 and spent the rest of the year with Atlanta...At the time of his selection, was leading the International League in doubles (34), extra-base hits (58) and runs (83)...Played in 34 games with the Braves and hit .205 (18-for-88) with two home runs and 10 RBI...His two home runs were twice as many as he had in his first three major league seasons, totaling 109 games between Colorado (2012), Los Angeles-AL (2016) and Miami (2018)...Started 18 games for the Braves, and Atlanta went 14-4 (.778) in those contests…Hit .250 (10- for-40) in his first 10 starts with a .318 on-base percentage…Went 4-for-27 (.148) in his final eight starts with one extra-base hit...In his first start with the Braves (fifth overall game), hit a go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning off the Dodgers' Dustin May on 8/18…The Braves, who trailed 3-1 at the time, won, 5-3...The home run snapped a 246 at-bat homerless streak in the majors…His only previous big league homer was on 5/25/16, as a member of Los Angeles-AL, off Texas' Shawn Tolleson...Played all three outfield positions with the Braves and did not have an error…Made 20 appearances in left field (16 starts, 156.1 inn.), six in right field (one start, 20.2 inn.) and three in center field (one start, 19.0 inn.)...Named by the organization as Gwinnett's Player of the Year…Hit .285 (123-for-431), while leading the club in total bases (226), doubles (34) and runs scored (83)…His 123 hits were second most...Hit a single-season career high 21 home runs with the Stripers…Prior to 2019, hit 47 home runs in 994 career minor league games, 14 of which came across parts of five seasons at the Triple-A level.Made his first career postseason roster… Appeared in four games off the bench, pinch hitting three times and pinch running once…Went 0-for-3 with one run scored. Career Highlights
Split the season between Miami and the organization's Triple-A club in New Orleans...Collected 10 triples with New Orleans to set the club's single-season record...Began the year with the Baby Cakes, before the Marlins selected his contract on 8/10…Remained with Miami for the remainder of the season, appearing in 41 games and making 30 starts in the field (19 in right field, 11 in left field)...Made his MLB season debut on 8/10 vs. NYM, his first action at the big league level since 2016...Collected three outfield assists...Played all three outfield positions at Triple-A.
Spent season with Triple-A El Paso in San Diego's system. ..Tied for Pacific Coast League lead with 26 steals, and was seventh in doubles (31)...Ranked 13th in PCL with .317 batting average, was tied for 14th in on-base percentage (.383), and was 18th in hits (133)...Had career-best 16-game hitting streak from June 3-19, batting .328 (22x67) with 13 runs scored, four doubles, two triples, two home runs, and nine RBI ...Hit .327 (36x110) against left-handed pitching, compared to .314 (97x309) against right-handers...Appeared in 37 games (35 starts) in center field, 34 games (31) in left field, and 32 games (31) in right field... Hit .402 (49x122) when playing left field, compared to .302 (32x106) in right field and .260 (40x154) in center field...Posted sixth career season with double-digit outfield assists (10); had five from center, three from left, and two from right...Finished season with 108 career outfield assists in 10 Minor League seasons (115 including MLB)...Most common spot in batting order was first, where he hit .309 (54x175) in 42 games...Had three 30-hit months: May (31), June (33), and August (33). Turned in season-best monthly average of .371 (33x89) in 26 games in August; had .456 OBP that month.
Appeared in career-high 66 games over three separate stints with Los Angeles-AL in 2016...Had first career home run on May 25 at Texas, a three-run shot off of Shawn Tolleson...Had seven outfield assists (six in left field, one in right field) for Angels; also had 10 while at Triple-A Salt Lake...Hit .324 (12x37) with runners in scoring position... Set his MLB high for hitting streaks with six-game run from April 20-27, batting .450 (9x20).
Played in 131 games with St. Louis' Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, batting .286 (125/437) with 22 doubles, six triples, two home runs and 42 RBIs... Also scored 66 runs and stole 17 bases in 23 attempts... Led the Redbirds in games, hits, total bases (165) and stolen bases. After opening the year batting .192 (10/52) in April (17 G), went on to bat .299 (115/385) over the final five months of the season (113 G). Played all three outfield positions (88 G in CF, 22 G in LF and 16 G in RF), fashioning a .985 fielding percentage... Paced the PCL in outfield assists, throwing out 15 would-be baserunners.
In 2014 with Double-A Springfield, his 16 outfield assists ranked second in the Pacific Coast League... Claimed off waivers by the Cardinals from the Rangers, Jan. 6, 2014.
Played in 42 games for Tulsa (AA), starting 39 in centerfield, before season was cut short due to a leg injury in June... Recorded 10 multi-hit games including four consecutive multi-hit efforts from May 29-June 1... Tallied a season-high four hits vs. Springfield (5/16)... Batted .308 (8-26) with runners in scoring position and .308 with RISP and two outs (4-13)... Scored a run in 19 of 42 games.
Played in 116 total games with all coming at Double-A Modesto except for two...made his Major League debut on 9/30 at Los Angeles (NL) going 2-for-3 with a walk and stolen base while starting in center field. While at Modesto, batted .283 (140-for-495) in 114 games with 23 doubles, eight triples, eight home runs, 60 RBI and 81 runs scored to go along with 36 stolen bases...led the Nuts in stolen bases and triples, was second in runs scored and third in doubles and RBI. Went 15-for-44 (.341) in 10 April games and 39-for-122 (.320) in 28 May games...hit .286 (66-for-231) in the first half of the season. Led off in 108 of his 112 games at Modesto and played in 111 games in centerfield. In the offseason played for Tiburones de La Guaira of the Venezuelan Winter Leagues where he went 24-for-80 (.300) in 41 games.
Made the jump to Low-A Asheville, where he spent the entire season as the starting center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Tourists...set career highs in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs and RBIs...was second on the Tourists with a .294 batting average, a mark that was also ninth-best in the South Atlantic League...led Asheville and tied for third in the SAL in triples and also led the Tourists with his 32 stolen bases and 141 hits...after the first month of the season, his average never dropped below .250.
Spent his first season in the States with Rookie Level Casper, where he was named a Pioneer League Mid- and Postseason All-Star...led the Ghosts in average, games, at-bats, runs, hits, stolen bases and starts in the outfield...also led the Rockies system and was fourth in the Pioneer League in average while his 23 stolen bags, 69 runs and 103 hits were second-most in the PL.
Played his entire second professional season with the DSL Rockies as the everyday center fielder...was named to the DSL All-Star team as an outfielder for hitting .324 (83-for-256) with seven doubles, eight triples and 39 stolen bases...his 39 steals were the fourth-most in the DSL, while his .324 average was the seventh-best in the league...played the majority of the season as an 18-year old, and finished with more walks (32) than strikeouts (23)…his .809 OPS was the best on the club.
Spent his first professional season with the DSL Rockies as one of the club's regular outfielders...led the Rockies with 17 stolen bases and 38 runs scored...drew as many walks (20) as he had strikeouts (20)...his 20 walks were the second-most on the club...hit .296 (37-for-125) over the season's final two months.