All this week, we'll take a look at some players from one of the Rays' three short-season teams(Hudson Valley, Princeton, and the GCL Rays) who didn't make our top 15 lists last season, but will at least garner consideration for next season. Of course, with any stats at this point, it's a very small sample size.
The Past: Like Jason McEachern and Brad Furdal, right-hander Trevor Shull was also a 2008 high school pitcher draftee. He was taken in the 18th round out of a Washington high school, signed away from a scholarship to Centenary. He was more projection that actual stuff at the time, and the results at Princeton in 2008 showed it: 9.90 ERA in limited time, including 8 walks in 10 innings.
The Present: Despite that, he showed the Rays enough this spring to be assigned back to the P-Rays instead of the GCL team, and in three starts so far he's been fantastic. He's gone exactly five innings each start and has allowed just two earned runs, good for a 1.20 ERA. He's got a very healthy 13-3 strikeout-to-walk rate to go along with a 1.90 GO/AO. He hasn't been quite as good as McEachern, but he's shown so far in Princeton all the things you want to see so far.
The Future: Also like McEachern, Shull is tall and lanky. He's listed at 6'4" 180, but he's still growing and has added nearly 20 pounds to his frame since last year. He throws two different types of fastballs, a curveball, and a changeup, and everything has movement on it. That combined with his height lends itself to projection, and his fastball should creep into the low-to-mid 90s and he continues to mature. He's currently 18 years old, turning 19 in about a month. He'll likely pitch the whole season with the P-Rays and move up to Hudson Valley next year, with his first real shot at full-season ball coming in 2011. Shull could make the back-end of our top 30 list with continued success in the Appy League, but even if he misses, his projectable body and repertoire make him worth following as he moves through the system.
[Ed note: Coincidentally, the Register-Herald ran a feature story on Shull yesterday, before his start against Elizabethton. You can read it here for more on the pitcher.]