Versatile No. 3 prospect highlights Sox's 40-man adds

November 16th, 2022

BOSTON -- The Red Sox added five players to the 40-man roster on Tuesday to protect them from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, a group headlined by center fielder/shortstop Ceddanne Rafaela, the team’s No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline who took a huge leap last season.

Lefty starters Brandon Walter and Chris Murphy -- ranked No. 7 and No. 11 in the farm system, respectively – were also added along with speedster David Hamilton (70 stolen bases at Double-A Portland in ’22) and outfielder Wilyer Abreu, one of the prospects acquired in the August trade that sent Christian Vázquez to the Astros.

Hamilton is the only player added who is not in Boston’s Top 30 prospects, but his speed could become a bigger factor in the coming years with MLB encouraging stolen bases by increasing the size of the bases.

The Sox acquired Hamilton last December along with fellow Minor Leaguer Alex Binelas in the trade that sent Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers and brought Jackie Bradley Jr. back to Boston until he was designated for assignment in August.

To make room for the new additions to the roster, righty Jake Reed and catcher Caleb Hamilton were designated for assignment.

There were several players in Boston’s Top 30 list who were left unprotected, including infielder/outfielder Eddinson Paulino (No. 13), righties Wikelman Gonzalez (No. 14) and Thad Ward (No. 15) and shortstop Brainer Bonaci (No. 16)

The 22-year-old Rafaela broke out in 2022, hitting .299 with an .880 OPS, 32 doubles, 10 triples, 21 homers and 28 stolen bases in 116 games between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland.

Murphy, 24, was named the Pitcher of the Year for Portland in 2022, notching a 2.58 ERA in 15 outings. He was promoted to Triple-A Worcester for his final 15 starts, over which he went 3-6 with a 5.50 ERA.

Walter, a late bloomer at age 26, was limited to 11 starts due to neck and back issues, but he dominated when he pitched, notching a 0.90 WHIP and 11.71 strikeouts per nine innings. He struck out 75 and walked seven over nine starts for Portland and two for Triple-A Worcester.

Abreu, a left-handed hitter, scored 106 runs to go along with 29 doubles, 19 homers and 31 stolen bases in 129 games at Double-A.

Along with his 70 stolen bases, Hamilton added 16 doubles, nine triples and 12 homers for the Sea Dogs.