The Rule 5 draft is tomorrow in Las Vegas. Here is the list of Rays players eligible to be taken: Josh Asanovich, Brian Baker, Jonathan Barratt, John Bouman, Patrick Cottrell, Jairo De La Rosa, Luis De Paula, Darin Downs, Rashad Eldridge, Bladimir Florentino, Fernando Frias, Neal Frontz, Jino Gonzalez, J.T. Hall, Carlos Hernandez, Rhyne Hughes, Craig James, Alex Jamieson, Jeff Kamrath, Chris Kelly, Christian Lopez, Kevin Lynn, Brandon Mann, Chris Mason, Deivis Mavares, Calvin Medlock, Jose Angel Mejias, Eduardo Morlan, Ryan Morse, Wilton Noel, Chris Nowak, Sergio Pedroza, Pedro Powell, Julio Puentes, Ryan Royster, Cole Smith, Matt Spring, Cesar Suarez, Chuck Tiffany, Wade Townsend, Matt Walker, Neil Walton, and Mike Wlodarczyk.
Morlan is the most likely to be taken because relief pitchers are the easiest to "hide" on a 25-man roster and because he's young (22) and a fairly highly regarded prospect. For a list of eligible players from all 30 teams see Baseball America. For an in-depth look at the Rule 5 draft see Tony Lastoria's article at Indians Prospect Insider.
Marc Topkin reports in The Heater that the Rays will add a Gulf Coast League affiliate next year in the new Port Charlotte complex. The GCL is low rookie level, below the advanced rookie level Appalachian League where our Princeton affiliate plays. I've been expecting this announcement for some time, mostly due to our strong presence in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Moving up from the DSL/VSL to GCL level play is perfect for teenagers making their debut in the U.S. In addition to not overwhelming the players with the level of competition, playing out of the Port Charlotte complex with the support of its many staff members and instructors should benefit the players in making the cultural transition to the states.
The GCL has 35-man active rosters, only 30 of whom may be in uniform and eligible to play in any given game. At least 10 players must be pitchers as of July 1. No player 20 or older may have two or more years of prior minor league experience, excluding rookie leagues outside the United States and Canada such as the DSL and VSL. Players under 20 who have already been credited with two years of minor league service may play their third minor league season in the GCL. The GCL season lasts 54 games and runs from mid-June to the end of August. The Rays previously had a GCL affiliate from 1996 to 1998. For a quick summary of those teams see this article from BB-Ref. Here's hoping we see Omar Bencomo, Julio Cedeno, Luis Yendis, Juan Wilsino and many more of our DSL/VSL players in the GCL in 2009.
Topkin also reports the Rays have hired Dave Myers, a former big-league coach with the Mariners, as the new hitting coach at Durham (AAA). He will replace Gary Gaetti.
Tyler Hissey has begun a RaysDigest podcast on BlogTalkRadio. Check the times and feel free to call Tyler with your questions.
And finally, the Charlotte Stone Crabs (A+) are partnering with the Charlotte County Boys and Girls Club for the unveiling of their logo and jersey designs in front of the Regal Cinema at Port Charlotte Town Center mall at 5:00 p.m. on December 17th. The first 50 fans to register at the event will receive a free Stone Crabs t-shirt, and all attendees can register to win door prizes from the Stone Crabs, including a grand prize of four 10-Game Mini Plans plus $100 in Crab Cash. Members of the Boys and Girls Club will help Stone Crabs general manager Joe Hart unveil the logo and model t-shirts, hats and jerseys in a fashion show in front of the Regal Cinema. Hart will give a brief introduction about the team and logo and will be available to answer any questions.