More reinforcements are set to join the Boston Red Sox for the final month of the 2023 regular season.
MLB rosters will expand from 26 to 28 players on Sept. 1. With 4.5 games separating the Red Sox from the third and final American League wild-card spot, the front office should look to promote players who can make a significant impact down the stretch. We could also see a certain top prospect, who's been red-hot as of late in the minors, get his first taste of the big leagues.
MORE RED SOX COVERAGE
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Boston sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Here are five candidates to join the Red Sox when rosters expand on Friday.
Note: Outfield prospect Wilyer Abreu recently replaced Jarren Duran (10-day IL, sprained toe) on the active roster and will likely remain with the club when/if Duran returns.
Ceddanne Rafaela, CF/SS
Rafaela, the No. 4 ranked prospect in the system (SoxProspects.com), has been tearing it up at Triple-A Worcester. The 22-year-old has tallied 20 homers this season between Worcester and Double-A Portland, including eight this month.
While his recent power surge is encouraging, Rafaela's speed and elite defense are what make him such an intriguing prospect. The Curaçao native has 36 stolen bases through 108 games and consistently makes spectacular plays like this one in the field:
The Red Sox may opt to let Rafaela finish the year at Triple-A, but he undoubtedly appears ready for a call to The Show. At the very least, he would be a tremendous defensive upgrade from every other outfielder currently on Boston's roster.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m. ET): The Red Sox are promoting Rafaela to the active roster, MLB.com's Ian Browne reported Monday afternoon.
Bobby Dalbec, INF
Dalbec hasn't been needed on Boston's roster with rookie first baseman Triston Casas living up to the hype and veteran Justin Turner becoming the club's most consistent offensive player. However, with the 38-year-old Turner nursing a heel injury, Dalbec's presence could relieve him from having to play the field when Casas sits. Dalbec also presents an additional option to hit against left-handed pitching.
Through 99 games with the WooSox this season, Dalbec is slashing .275/.386/.585 with 31 homers and 70 RBIs.
David Hamilton, SS
Hamilton, Boston's No. 22 ranked prospect, joined the big-league club earlier this season when there was a revolving door at the shortstop position. He didn't impress much at the plate or in the field, but his speed is undeniable. He could earn a spot on the roster as a pinch runner who can shore up the club's middle infield depth.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m. ET): The Red Sox also are calling up Hamilton, per Browne. Boston is sending Pablo Reyes to the injured list and Wilyer Abreu to the paternity list to make room for Rafaela and Hamilton.
Brandon Walter, LHP
The Red Sox could use another southpaw out of the bullpen to join Chris Murphy, who's the only other left-handed reliever currently on the roster. Murphy was recalled after the club placed fellow lefty Brennan Bernardino on the COVID-19 injured list.
While Walter's Triple-A numbers don't jump off the page (4.75 ERA with Worcester), the No. 13 ranked Sox prospect was solid during his brief cameo with the big-league club earlier this year. He posted a 3.07 ERA in 14.1 innings (six appearances).
Joe Jacques, LHP
Jacques is Boston's other left-handed relief option if Walter isn't called up. The 28-year-old struggled in 17 MLB appearances this season (5.85 ERA in 20 innings), but he has been lights out since being sent back to Worcester with zero runs allowed through 7.1 innings.