Stuart Steinberg stopped by to check out how the Rays were doing yesterday. He got called out on why the Rays didn’t make any grabs for free agents, but with the prospects coming up, it’s hard to argue with him when it comes to saving money. This is on the heels of the Rays first spring training game, which will take place against the Yankees on Friday. Most of the other teams kick their spring seasons off either today or tomorrow.
Baseball America recently interviewed Devil Rays pitching prospect Jacob McGee. The left hander tore up Low A last year and struck out 171 batters in 134 innings. Keep an eye on McGee as he progresses to High A in 2007. Kevin Goldstein had some nice things to say about him in his Top Ten Devil Rays Prospects column as well.
The interview touches on everything from why McGee thought he dropped to the fifth round in the 2004 draft to the 40 pounds (good weight) he’s added since he graduated from high school.
I thought this was an interesting profile on Devil Rays prospect Elijah Dukes. There’s no doubt Dukes has had his share of issues and while it looks like the Devil Rays outfield is set, Dukes would make a nice option as a fourth outfielder. He had a very good season in Durham where he hit .293 but more importantly, he walked 44 times versus only 47 strikeouts so Dukes would make a very nice table setter. He also has some pop and he hit 10 homeruns and 15 doubles in 283 at bats.
This success also carried over into a solid Arizona Fall League. There he hit .313/.425/..488. So Dukes is ready and I think it’s time to give him his chance.
Rather then rehashing all of the details, I’ll defer to Cubs blogger Aaron Maxwell, who detailed the Devil Rays/Cubs trade that went down today. Ryu has a live arm and he’s a guy who very well could be in the Devil Rays pen in 2007.
Righthander Seth McClung didn’t have a great season in 2006 but a move to the pen late in the season may have found him a role with the team in 2007. Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon indicated that he’d like McClung to be the team’s closer. The job is still going to be up for grabs though so a poor spring could cost him the job. This will be an interesting experiment, and if it works, the Devil Rays will have filled another key spot on the team with some home grown talent.
It’s about time. It might not be this year, but with the young talent the Tampa Devil Rays have waiting in the wings and currently on the team, we could be seeing the Rays push themselves out of the cellar and at least put together a string of winning seasons, it not contending for the playoffs.
Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus recently listed his top ten Devil Rays prospects and you get four “excellent” prospects and “three” very good ones. The final prognosis is that the Rays have best the crop of prospects out there right now.
Delmon Young comes in at number and he’ll be on the field for Devil Rays in 2007. Evan Longoria was only drafted in 2006, but already he’s a guy you could see on the big league club in August or September. He comes in at number two. NUmber three is shortstop Reid Brignac, who’s also a guy who you could see up at some point. Regardless, you’re looking at the left hand side of the infield for the next few years in Longoria and Brignac.
Number four is the first pitcher on the list. Jeff Niemann is also a prospect who’s close. He’ll start the season in Triple A after a solid season at Double A. Number five and six are Jacob McGee and Wade Davis. Both pitched in Low A and they’re still a couple of years away.
Good stuff though, and the Devil Rays minor league system may be worth watching more then the big league club.
I like the Carlos Pena signing. At one time, Carlos Pena was a higher end prospect but he never caught on in Detroit. Since then, he’s bounced around the minors and now he’s landed in Tampa. He’s still only 28, he’s left handed, and he’ll take a walk but he’s only a .243 career hitter so those walks only equate to .331 OBP. Still, his OPS has been on the north end of .800 which while not great for a firstbaseman, isn’t horrible either.
Raul Casanova at best is a backup catcher but he’s nice guy to have waiting down at Triple A in the event of an injury. This is a solid insurance pickup.
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