There’s no doubt that Scott Kazmir broke out in 2006. His strikeout rate was phenomonal and his walk rate improved considerably. Of course the problem was, he logged only 144 innings because of a bad shoulder. Scott Kazmir provides the Devil Rays with an “ace” quality pitcher for the first time in the franchise’s history.
That’s why the news that Kazmir threw a bullpen session for the first time and had no problems with his shoulder was very encouraging news. Kazmir even went to say that this was the strongest he’s felt in January in his career so hopefully the time off did him some good.
Toby Hall was one of my favorite Devil Rays for a while. The catcher never did catch fire like a lot of people thought he would but when he was traded along with Mark Hendrickson for a young catch named Dioner Navarro, I thought the Devil Rays had gotten the short end of the stick in yet another trade (the Devil Rays also got mediocre relief pitcher Jae Weong Seo). I started changing my mind as Mark Hendrickson struggled and while Dioner Navarro didn’t light it up, I saw some of the good things that the catcher brought to the table (namely 20 walks vs. only 33 strikeouts in limited time).
I really warmed up to Navarro when I read this. It seems Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA has a mini breakout planned for Navarro. While .269/.344/.410 (mean weighted average) isn’t anything to write home about, it’s not too shabby for a catcher. I especially like his breakout rate (65%) and improve rate (85%). Good stuff and there’s always the chance that he comes out closer to his 75 percentile (.286/.360/.447 and a 4.1 WARP). Maybe we didn’t get hosed on this deal after all.
Keith Law may have highlighted the Yankee’s farm system in his latest column at ESPN.com, but what he has to say at the end, when he lists his top farm systems, says it all. He concludes, that with studs like Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes, the Devil Rays have by far the best farm system in all of baseball.
Here’s Baseball America’s list of the Top Ten Devil Rays prospects. If you have a subscription, you can get at the scouting reports. And this list doesn’t even include guys like B.J. Upton, who are young but no longer minor leaguers.
In the latest Inside Dish at Sporting News, Mike Beranido talks about how the Devil Rays have been at least willing to talk about trading both B.J. Upton and Delmon Young. And while Delmon Young is the guy with the more publicized personal problems, the story goes on to say that it’s actually Upton who teams are more wary about. Both his attitude and his lack of a position were brought up as reasons.
The Devil Rays avoided arbitration with infielder Ty Wiggington and right handed pitcher Seth McClung by inking them to one year deals. Wigginton had a career year in his first season with the Devil Rays in 2006. He belted 24 homeruns and drove in 79, both of which were career highs.
Seth McClung had a pretty rough year in which he walked 68 versus 59 strikeouts in 103 innings. He had an ERA of 6.29 and a WHIP of 1.83, both of which are, um, bad. Oddly, he did it all. He started and even eventually closed games as Lou Pinella tried to find an answer to his pitching problems.
I no longer live in the Tampa area but I did make it down for a game and McClung started. Unfortunately, he got shelled.
In ESPN.com’s Hot Stove Heater series, Alan Shwarz talks about Delmon Young being one of the hottest rookies in 2007. No surprise here because Young has been at the top of most rookie prospects lists for over a year. In my opinion, the only other guy who is close is Royal’s Alex Gordon (yeah, the baseball card guy).
Young is done with the minors and we’ll get to see how special this kid is. If he can build on his late season cup of coffee, we should be talking about Young’s rookie of the year at this time next year.
The Devil Rays recently acquired outfield prospect Erold Andrus in this years Rule 5 draft and Andrus is showing his stuff in the Venezuelan Winter League. Andrus went through a tough stretch late in the winter league season but since the playoff started, he’s turned it on.
Andrus had a very rough year last year in High A when he was with the Twins organization and his last good year was way back in 2004 when he played Low A ball when he was still in the Yankees organization. If the Rays want to keep him, they’ll have to find a spot for him so it’ll be interesting to see what happens comes spring training.
Welcome to my little slice of the internet. My name is Jerry Farley, and I’ll be covering the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the Baseball Historians network of sites. In a lot of ways, I have the easiest job of any of my 29 counterparts because the Devil Rays really have no history. Not yet. The Devil Rays have never won more then 70 games and 2007 will be the teams tenth year of existance. So compared to someone who covers the Yankees or the Cardinals, I have an easy job. The problem is, I have to come up with something.
First and foremost will be covering the 2007 team. While I’m not optimistic about the teams playoff chances, I do think they might have a shot at breaking that 70 win mark. Then again, they play some of the best teams in baseball on a regular basis so who knows.
And when their isn’t breaking Devil Rays news, I’m going to go through the All Devil Rays Team over the past ten years. Should be interesting and it’ll let you see where this has come from. So hopefully you’ll stop by on occasion to check things out.
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