Red Sox prospect steals SIX bases in one game

May 13th, 2023

Ceddanne Rafaela may have just swiped another bag for the Sea Dogs.

The second-ranked Red Sox prospect set a franchise record with six stolen bases for Double-A Portland in a 6-2 loss to Somerset at Hadlock Field on Saturday. The club set a team-high mark with nine total swipes on the day. The previous record was six, set 11 years ago.

Ceddanne Rafaela slides home to score Portland's second run on Saturday.Portland Sea Dogs

Rafaela was originally credited with seven stolen bases, but his final steal of third base in the ninth inning was changed by the official scorer after the game to defensive indifference. Still, the infielder with 60-grade speed tied a mark only held by four players in AL/NL history and was only matched once in the 21st century. Carl Crawford stole six bases for the Rays in a game against the Red Sox on May 5, 2009, and before that Eric Young Jr. did it for Colorado in 1996, Otis Nixon for Atlanta in 1991 and Eddie Collins did it twice for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1912.

"It's really just a team thing. We all want to be aggressive on the bases and try to get that bag," Rafaela said. "It's just part of my game, really. I always want to play aggressive, and today I had good jumps every time."

As the game was nearing its conclusion, the 22-year-old believed he had one more mad dash in him if given the green light by manager Chad Epperson.

"Standing on third at the end there [in the ninth with two outs], of course I wanted to try to steal home," he said, adding a chuckle. "My manager didn't let me do it. For me, I would have taken that one, too."

Fueled by confidence and an athletic ability to back it up, MLB's No. 75 overall prospect set a personal goal of stealing 30 bases this season. He is more than halfway there after entering action on Saturday with 10.

"Stealing bases has been part of my game since the day I was signed, so it's always something I'm working on every day," Rafaela said. "It's in my mind that I have to get 30. That's the goal. I was close last year, but I didn't get there. That drives me."

Rafaela stole 28 bases last season over 116 games with High-A Greenville and Portland. He's at 16 now through 27 games.

After punching a ground ball through the left side of the infield in the first, Rafaela took off for second base and made it with ease before stealing third after a walk to Niko Kavadas. He was promptly plated on a single by Chase Meidroth to open the scoring in the game.

In the third, the native of Curacao worked a one-out walk and then completed a successful double steal with Phillip Sikes to put two runners in scoring position for the Sea Dogs with one out.

Rafaela manufactured the Sea Dogs' only other run in the seventh. After reaching base on a two-out single, the 5-foot-9, 152-pounder stole second, then stole third and scampered home on a throwing error by the catcher.

In the final frame, Rafaela rallied from a 1-2 count to draw a six-pitch walk. He did not waste any time swiping second and took off for third after the base was left unmanned. He was left stranded 90 feet away from home to end the game.

"I always have my confidence up, I always believe in myself. I'm a big faith guy," he said. "So I always have this high level of confidence, but after a game like this it's always going to pump you up a little more to work a little harder and keep improving."

Rafaela's six stolen bases put him just one shy of a mark that an 18-year-old Ricky Henderson once achieved in the Minor Leagues in 1977. The previous Sea Dogs record for stolen bases in a single game was four by Jeremy Hazelbaker on July 22, 2012.