Rafael Marchan was born in San Cristóbal, Táchira, Venezuela, on February 25, 1999. His early role model was Venezuelan shortstop Omar Vizquel.
He grew up playing baseball, particularly as a shortstop, a popular position among Venezuelan adolescents wanting to get into professional baseball.
A number of scouts pushed him to try catching shortly before his 16th birthday in the hopes of increasing his chances of being drafted by a Major League Baseball (MLB) team.
During the summer of 2015, he made his catching debut at an under-15 baseball tournament in Mexico, which drew the attention of a number of foreign MLB scouts.
Marchan was eventually signed as an international free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball in July 2015 for a signing bonus of $200,000.
Marchan was one of several Phillies prospects invited to practice at an alternate training site in Allentown, Pennsylvania, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season.
He was available for a major league call-up if something happened to Phillies catchers J. T. Realmuto or Andrew Knapp. Marchan was brought up between games 1 and 2 of a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins in September when Realmuto began to feel hip soreness.
The next day, he made his Major League Baseball debut, hitting his first major league hit with a single in the third inning. He currently earns $700,000 per year.