Monday, January 30, 2012

Top 30 Comparison - RaysProspects vs. Baseball America

RaysProspects          Baseball America
1. Matt Moore          1. Matt Moore
2. Hak-Ju Lee          2. Hak-Ju Lee
3. Enny Romero         3. Chris Archer
4. Alex Torres         4. Taylor Guerrieri
5. Mikie Mahtook       5. Alex Colome
6. Taylor Guerrieri    6. Alex Torres
7. Drew Vettleson      7. Tim Beckham
8. Chris Archer        8. Enny Romero
9. Tim Beckham         9. Drew Vettleson
10. Brandon Guyer      10.Mikie Mahtook

11. Alex Colome        11. Brandon Guyer
12. Tyler Goeddel      12. Jake Hager
13. Parker Markel      13. Derek Dietrich
14. Ryan Brett         14. Ryan Brett
15. Josh Sale          15. Luke Bailey
16. Jake Hager         16. Parker Markel
16. Brandon Martin     17. Albert Suarez
18. Lenny Linsky       18. Tyler Goeddel
18. Oscar Hernandez    19. Matt Bush
20. Derek Dietrich     20. Blake Snell

21. Ryan Carpenter     21. Braulio Lara
22. Johnny Eierman     22. Stephen Vogt
23. Granden Goetzman   23. Wilking Rodriguez
24. Felipe Rivero      24. Lenny Linsky
25. Grayson Garvin     25. Brandon Martin
25. Nick Barnese       26. Kes Carter
27. Tyler Bortnick     27. Justin O'Conner
28. Russ Canzler       28. Felipe Rivero
29. Matt Bush          29. Tyler Bortnick
30. Justin O'Conner    30. Jake Thompson

Players Ranked Equally
1. Matt Moore
2. Hak-Ju Lee
14. Ryan Brett

Ranked Only By RP
15. Josh Sale
19. Oscar Hernandez
21. Ryan Carpenter
22. Johnny Eierman
23. Granden Goetzman
25. Grayson Garvin
26. Nick Barnese
28. Russ Canzler

Ranked Higher By RP
3. Enny Romero (8th by BA)
4. Alex Torres (6th by BA)
5. Mikie Mahtook (10th by BA)
7. Drew Vettleson (9th by BA)
10. Brandon Guyer (11th by BA)
12. Tyler Goeddel (28th by BA)
13. Parker Markel (16th by BA)
17. Brandon Martin (25th by BA)
18. Lenny Linsky (24th by BA)
24. Felipe Rivero (28th by BA)
27. Tyler Bortnick (29th by BA)

Ranked Only By BA
15. Luke Bailey
17. Albert Suarez
20. Blake Snell
21. Braulio Lara
23. Wilking Rodriguez
22. Stephen Vogt
26. Kes Carter
30. Jake Thompson

Ranked Higher By BA
3. Chris Archer (8th by RP)
4. Taylor Guerrieri (6th by RP)
5. Alex Colome (11th by RP)
7. Tim Beckham (9th by RP)
12. Jake Hager (16th by RP)
13. Derek Dietrich (20th by RP)
19. Matt Bush (29th by RP)
27. Justin O'Conner (30th by RP)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Future Considerations Podcast (Episode 15: BaseballAmerica Top 30, Jeff Keppinger Signing, Prince Fielder and Remaining Free Agents)

With the BaseballAmerica Prospect Handbook out, Kevin and Scott examined the top 30 prospects and compared it against the RaysProspects Top 30 list with some notable differences. After the break, they discuss the Jeff Keppinger signing (and the Russ Canzler DFA'ing) and how he'll help this season, plus the Prince Fielder deal and the remaining free agents before wrapping up with some bonus Greg Schiano talk.

Questions or comments? E-mail

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Future Considerations Podcast (Episode 14: Carlos Pena Signing, AL East Top 25, Projected Full-Season Rotations, and Yu Darvish)

This week, Scott and Kevin break down the Carlos Pena signing and what it means for the Rays' 2012 outlook, run down their AL East top 25 prospect lists, preview the Durham, Montgomery, Charlotte, and Bowling Green rotations, and wrap up by discussing how the Yu Darvish signing affects the balance of power in the American League.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Rays Lineup and who could end up with the Bulls

What a couple of days for the Rays organization. 10 days ago the Rays signed Luke Scott as their primary DH, 8 days later the Rays anounced three minor league signings with Will Rhymes (2B/UT), Jesus Feliciano (CF) and Romulo Sanchez (RHRP) and yesterday Carlos Pena agreed to play another year on the Florida Gulf Coast.

After predicting the Bulls lineup a couple of weeks ago, I'm going to look at the influence of these last moves on the Bulls 2012 season. Therefore, I have to analyze the '12 Rays roster first. The Rays seem to start with Molina and Lobaton as the catching group (outside shot for Robinson Chirinos), with Pena, Longoria, Zobrist, Rodriguez and Brignac in the infield and with Jennings, Upton, Joyce and Scott in the outfield as well as at DH. This leaves two more spots open. Main candidates for these spots are Brandon Guyer (R/OF), Russ Canzler (R/1B/LF), Elliot Johnson (S/UT) and Will Rhymes (L/UT). Lets take a look at this:

(Click at the image for a larger view)

The Rays have added Carlos Pena and Luke Scott. Both give excellent depth to the middle of the Rays lineup against RHP. Against LHP, especially Pena should get the one or other day off. And despite Zobrist/Longoria cruising against LHP even more than against RHP, the lineup against lefties lacks depth behind them. Luke Scott and Sean Rodriguez are solid options in order to round out the top 6, but Pena and Joyce are no solid options against lefties. Therefore, if I'm the Rays, I'd give one of the remaining two roster spots to a player who can hit left handed pitching well. If the Rays want Brandon Guyer to take a Matt Joyce-like path, they will start him in AAA in order to give him lots of AB's. Otherwise he should be (and I'd have him) on the Rays 25-man roster come opening day as he should get lots of PA's against LHP and also some against righties. Other options: Russ Canzler and maybe (with an outside shot) Juan Miranda. I could also see the Rays trading a SP for a RH-bat like Jesus Guzman, Kyle Blanks, ... .

The 2nd opening should go to a player who can bring the Rays some versatility, defensive backup and speed. Candidates: Sam Fuld, Elliot Johnson and Will Rhymes. I'd go with Sam Fuld as I think he is the best of those three. Sean Rodriguez gives the Rays enough flexibility for the defensive infield, making Elliot Johnson and Will Rhymes expandable. And while the same goes for Sam Fuld in the outfield, he is a solid baserunning and defensive replacement (especially for Matt Joyce) option for the innings 7 to 9. One of Johnson/Rhymes should be in the majors as soon as one infielder (not named Los Penos) gets hurt. The 13th position player won't see a ton of PA's, though.

So, I'd give the roster spots 24 and 25 to Brandon Guyer and Sam Fuld. This would leave Elliot Johnson, Justin Ruggiano (I expect both to clear waivers), Juan Miranda and Will Rhymes in Durham. The Bulls MIF should be crowded in this case with Tim Beckham, Cole Figueroa, Sean O'Malley, Johnson and Rhymes. They, therefore, should also rotate into the 3B and DH (maybe even some OF) role.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Week That Was

Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier injured his hamstring in the Australian Baseball League and missed Canberra's five-game series against Perth, which wrapped up earlier today. The Cavalry only have five games left in the regular season, finishing up next Sunday. No word yet if Kiermaier will be able to play in any more games. He has hit .347/.407/.429 in 49 at-bats so far.

Teammate Mark Thomas has caught fire since the calendar turned, hitting .333/.389/.576 in eight ABL games in 2012. In addition to the five remaining regular-season games, Thomas may see action in the ABL playoffs. The Cavalry are currently in a three-way tie for 3rd place, 12 games behind Perth, but only a game out of second. The top four finishers will make the ABL playoffs.

In other ABL news it sounds like attendance has been disappointing:
The ABL is backed by Major League Baseball, which has agreed to support the first five seasons of the league, but the sight of empty rows of seats is not encouraging for the team. Despite boasting 685 season ticket-holders, Balfour revealed average membership attendance at games was just 211. Some 83 members have yet to attend their first game of the season.
The 'Balfour' mentioned above is Sydney Blue Sox general manager David Balfour, father of ex-Rays reliever Grant. This is the Rays first year participating in the ABL, sending Kiermaier, Thomas, Ty Morrison and Todd Glaesmann to each play in part of the ABL season with Canberra.

The Rays have re-signed minor league free agent RHP Richard De Los Santos, who has been in the organization since 2005. He was limited to two April starts for Durham last season due to injury. Here are his career stats:
Year   Age               Team  W  L  ERA   G GS    IP  BB  SO  WHIP  H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2003    19         Burlington  3  4 6.41  12  0  39.1  10  40 1.398 10.3  0.7  2.3  9.2
2004    20    Mahoning Valley  1  5 5.26  13  9  51.1  19  45 1.403  9.3  0.4  3.3  7.9
2005    21      Hudson Valley  1  0 0.93   6  0   9.2   2   8 0.828  5.6  0.0  1.9  7.4
2005    21 Southwest Michigan  3  0 0.66  15  0  41.0  18  49 0.805  3.3  0.2  4.0 10.8
2006    22            Visalia  5  3 3.44  41  0  68.0  19  49 1.338  9.5  0.1  2.5  6.5
2007    23         Montgomery  5  4 2.75  40  3  72.0  15  38 1.139  8.4  0.4  1.9  4.8
2007    23             Durham  1  1 7.20   6  0  15.0   3   5 1.600 12.6  1.8  1.8  3.0
2008    24         Montgomery  5  5 3.42  14 12  79.0  24  39 1.253  8.5  0.5  2.7  4.4
2009    25      Hudson Valley  2  0 2.81   8  0  16.0   6  13 1.125  6.8  0.0  3.4  7.3
2009    25          Charlotte  2  0 0.79  13  0  22.2   4  21 0.662  4.4  0.0  1.6  8.3
2010    26         Montgomery  0  0 4.50   1  0   2.0   0   1 1.000  9.0  4.5  0.0  4.5
2010    26             Durham 14  5 3.52  28 23 148.1  48  90 1.362  9.3  0.4  2.9  5.5
2011    27             Durham  0  1 6.00   2  2   6.0   4   4 1.833 10.5  0.0  6.0  6.0
9 Seasons                     42 28 3.50 199 49 570.1 172 402 1.248  8.5  0.4  2.7  6.3

Here is a summary of the Rays minor league free agent moves so far this offseason:

RHSP Richard De Los Santos - re-signed
RHSP Matt Torra - re-signed
1B Juan Miranda - from the Arizona Diamondbacks
RHRP Jhonny Nunez - from the Chicago White Sox

RHSP Brian Baker - to Milwaukee Brewers
OF Matt Carson - to Minnesota Twins
RHRP Rob Delaney - to Florida Marlins
RHRP Mike Ekstrom - to Colorado Rockies
IF Ray Olmedo - to Chicago White Sox
RHRP Adam Russell - to Atlanta Braves

2011 Rays minor leaguers still available:
RHRP Joe Bateman
RHRP Lance Cormier
IF J.J. Furmaniak
1B/DH Dan Johnson
OF John Matulia
RHRP Deivis Mavares
3B Daniel Mayora
RHRP Paul Phillips

Speaking of Dan Johnson, Joe Christensen had a nice article on Johnson's search for a new team and some of the obstacles he's overcome in his career:
A former hockey player at Blaine High School, he blossomed into an elite power hitter at Nebraska. The Oakland Athletics drafted him in the seventh round in 2001, and made him their starting first baseman in 2005, replacing Scott Hatteberg of "Moneyball" fame.

But after a promising rookie season, Johnson's luck completely changed. On the last day of spring training in 2006, Johnson went to spray sunscreen on his arm and accidentally shot it into his right eye. He had trouble seeing breaking pitches all year, and it wasn't until the season ended that he was diagnosed with double vision.

The next spring, after months of vision therapy, Johnson could see clearly again. But one day, he went to throw the ball around the horn after a double play, and the runner charging down the first baseline clipped his leg, tearing Johnson's hip labrum.

The Montgomery Biscuits and the City of Montgomery will hold a press conference on Wednesday at 5 p.m. regarding the new scoreboard. Speakers will include Mayor Todd Strange and Biscuits Co-Owner Sherrie Myers. It will be at Riverwalk Stadium’s Club Car Bar. The public is invited (enter through the RF gate) and complimentary beverages and ballpark popcorn will be served.

The Princeton Rays have announced the start times for their 2012 home games: Monday-Saturday games at 7:05 p.m. except doubleheaders which begin at 5:30 p.m.; all Sunday games at 3:00 p.m.; and July 24th will be at 11:00 a.m.

The Rays Winter Development Program was last week at the Trop. Bill Chastain spoke to some of the 28 minor leaguers in attendance, including shortstop Derek Dietrich:
"You're treated like a big leaguer for a week as far as where you stay, when you wake up, the breakfasts, the meals," Dietrich said. "The workouts are first class, on the field and in the weight room, with all the coordinators and staff in this organization. It's a great opportunity for me and the others to see the instructors and for them to see us and for them to see how our progress is during the offseason. We're away for four months and everyone is working at becoming a better player for the team, and it's valuable for them to be able to see our progress and see what we need to do."

There were a couple of Rays-related prospect Q & A's at last week. Ashley Marshall interviewed shortstop Tim Beckham: How would you say you handled yourself at the higher levels and in the Arizona Fall League?

Beckham: I feel like I handled it pretty well and I feel like I handled my own. I did pretty well and I'm happy. I actually got a leg kick this year, so I worked on that. I just tried to take advantage of the hitter's counts as far as 0-0 or 2-0 or 3-1 and counts like that. What I changed the most was that I was a lot more aggressive on hitters' counts this year than what I was in the past.

The second Q & A was by Robert Emrich with RHSP Chris Archer: What was the biggest difference in the second half for you?

Chris Archer: At the beginning of the season, I think I was trying to do too much and got out of character. I was trying to make too many perfect pitches instead of letting my stuff just play in the strike zone. I was trying to make perfect pitches like a back-door slider and when you try to become too fine in this game you make little misses. I just said, "I'll go back to being myself."

Former Hudson Valley Renegades general manager (1999-2003) Steve Gliner has been named President of the Fort Myers Miracle by the Goldklang Group, which owns both teams.

John Lembo spoke with 2011 2nd round pick Granden Goetzman about the transition from high school to professional baseball:
Goetzman batted .173 in 25 games last summer for the GCL Rays. And while a groin injury he suffered during one of his first days with the team didn’t help, Goetzman said most of his problems were mental rather than physical.

“My average wasn’t too hot, but I was swinging at bad pitches, pitches I shouldn’t be swinging at,” Goetzman said. “This year, I’ll be comfortable and swinging at strikes and at pitches I can handle...Just be myself.”

The Rays signed controversial free agent outfielder Luke Scott to a $5 million one-year contract. The deal includes a $6 million option for 2013 or a $1 million buyout. His career numbers in the majors:
Year   Age Team   AB   H  2B 3B  HR RBI SB CS  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS OPS+
2005    27  HOU   80  15   4  2   0   4  1  1   9  23 .188 .270 .288  .557   46
2006    28  HOU  214  72  19  6  10  37  2  1  30  43 .336 .426 .621 1.047  165
2007    29  HOU  369  94  28  5  18  64  3  1  53  95 .255 .351 .504  .855  118
2008    30  BAL  475 122  29  2  23  65  2  2  53 102 .257 .336 .472  .807  111
2009    31  BAL  449 116  26  1  25  77  0  0  55 104 .258 .340 .488  .828  114
2010    32  BAL  447 127  29  1  27  72  2  0  59  98 .284 .368 .535  .902  144
2011    33  BAL  209  46  11  0   9  22  1  1  24  54 .220 .301 .402  .703   92
7 Seasons       2243 592 146 17 112 341 11  6 283 519 .264 .349 .494  .843  121

In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Scott, the Rays designated catcher Nevin Ashley for assignment. As a DFA, if no other team claims him for a 40-man roster spot after ten days, the Rays can outright him back to the minor leagues.

I'm not sure how many teams have openings on their 40-man rosters, but of those who do I would be surprised if any decide to add Ashley. He hasn't spent much time at AAA yet, and in his 39 AAA games he's only hit .208/.259/.304 in 125 at-bats. Assuming no other teams claim him, Ashley will remain an important part of the Rays organization, with only Jose Molina, Jose Lobaton, and Robinson Chirinos ahead of him on the catching depth chart. Here are his career numbers:
Year   Age        Team   AB   H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
2006    21   Princeton  153  51  8  1  4  28  7  3  21  40 .333 .440 .477 .917
2007    22    Columbus  429 120 13  8 12  60 20  8  49  92 .280 .354 .431 .785
2008    23  Vero Beach  327  77 12  1  4  26  5  6  49  79 .235 .348 .315 .663
2009    24   Charlotte  200  48  7  3  2  21  7  4  22  47 .240 .343 .335 .678
2009    24  Montgomery  118  25  7  1  1  15  0  0  18  31 .212 .331 .314 .644
2010    25  Montgomery  341  87 14  3  7  45  4  2  34  76 .255 .333 .375 .709
2010    25      Durham   24   4  0  0  1   2  1  0   1   7 .167 .200 .292 .492
2011    26  Montgomery  279  78 15  2  6  33  2  3  36  66 .280 .387 .412 .799
2011    26      Durham  101  22  1  1  2  15  0  1   5  29 .218 .273 .307 .580
6 Seasons              1972 512 77 20 39 245 46 27 235 467 .260 .353 .378 .731

And finally, while we wait for news on Ashley, make sure to visit his wife's photography website. She even has a small section dedicated to baseball, which includes a nice shot of the top prospect in baseball during his time with the Biscuits. If you're in the Evansville area and need a photographer give her a call, she does nice work at very reasonable rates.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Future Considerations Podcast (Episode 13: Special Guest Jim Callis)

Executive editor of BaseballAmerica Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) answers some questions about the Rays farm system, the effects the new CBA will have on the club, and how he got started at BA. After the break, Kevin and Scott talk about the Luke Scott signing and the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda deal.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Minor League lineups: Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)

After finishing the positional runthrough I'm going to take a look at the projected lineups of each of the Rays minor league affiliates.

Next: The Bowling Green Hot Rods

1 2B Ryan Brett (S)
2 3B Taylor Motter (R)
3 CF Kes Carter (L)
4 1B Jeff Malm (L)
5 DH Cameron Seitzer (L)
6 RF Drew Vettleson (L)
7 C Matt Rice (R)
8 LF Craig Lyerly (R)
9 SS Juniel Querecuto (S)

C Alejandro Segovia (R)
C Kyle Holloway (R)
3B Leonardo Reginatto (R)
3B Riccio Torrez (R)
CIF Junior Rodriguez (R)
2B Raymond Church (R)
LF/CIF Nicholas Schwaner (L)
OF Joel Caminero (R)

Filled with college picks of last years' as well as some high school picks of next-to-last years' draft, this lineup is very, very deep. Ryan Brett and Taylor Motter are leadoff types with speed and a very patient approach while some combination of Kes Carter, Cameron Seitzer, Jeff Malm, Drew Vettleson and Riccio Torrez provides enough power and hitability for a decent 3 to 6 in the lineup. Overall, the abundance of quality infielders bolsters the lineup while also the catching and outfield is very capable and talented. Another very sound and potent lineup.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More on the 2012 Stone Crabs Staff

As Doug mentioned earlier, the Stone Crabs coaching staff is remaining the same as last season. 

Jim Morrison returns for his fourth season as the manager of the Stone Crabs. Morrison has a career 214-201 record as the skipper of the Stone Crabs, leading them to the playoffs in two of the three first seasons. Morrison is in his seventh year in the Rays organization.

Joe Szekely has been by Morrison's side since the inaugural season, returning for his fourth season as the hitting coach for the Stone Crabs. This is his eighth season in the Rays organization.

Steve "Doc" Watson returns for his sophomore season in Port Charlotte. He is the only pitching coach to make a repeat with the Stone Crabs so far in their short history. It is also his second year in the organization after spending time with the Orioles and Reds minor league systems.

Trainer Scott Thurston is the lone newcomer to the field staff of the Stone Crabs. He joins the Stone Crabs after serving as the trainer for the Bowling Green Hot Rods for the past three seasons. This is his fifth season in the Rays organization.

The Stone Crabs will also have a new general manager to be announced in the future. Joe Hart has been announced as the new president of the South Bend Silver Hawks. Hart has been with the Stone Crabs since the beginning and has built the franchise into what it is today. He was instrumental in securing the 2012 FSL All-Star Game for Port Charlotte. His efforts have been rewarded as he was named the Executive of the Year for the FSL in 2011. Ripken Baseball is currently seeking applicants for the GM role of the Stone Crabs.

Opening day for the Stone Crabs is scheduled for Thursday April 5 at home against Fort Myers.

The Minor League lineups: Charlotte Stone Crabs (A+)

After finishing the positional runthrough I'm going to take a look at the projected lineups of each of the Rays minor league affiliates.

Next affiliate lineup I'm looking at is the Charlotte Stone Crabs:

1 3B Robby Price (L)
2 SS Derek Dietrich (L)
3 CF Mikie Mahtook (R)
4 1B Philip Wunderlich (L)
5 RF Todd Glaesmann (R)
6 LF Cody Rogers (L)
7 DH Julio Cedeno (R)
8 C Lucas Bailey (R)
9 2B Hector Guevara (R)

C Keith Castillo (S)
C Mayobanex Acosta (R)
MIF Robi Estrada (S)
CF Kevin Kiermaier (L)
LF/1B Steven Tinoco (R)

The Stone Crabs roster seems to be very balanced with some speedy guys as well as some all-around talents and power hitters. This combination makes it possible to form a potent and sound lineup top-to-bottom. The Hot Rods roster was above average offensively last year and with most of the talented roster moving up to Port Charlotte I see this roster remaining above average. Mid-season additions like Cameron Seitzer, Taylor Motter, Jeff Malm, Kes Carter or Riccio Torrez could bolster the roster even further. Additional note: It could very well be that Derek Dietrich and Mikie Mahtook hit 3rd/4th in the lineup. I just put Dietrich 2nd as he was mostly used in this position last year (if I remember correctly).

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Minor League lineups: Montgomery Biscuits (AA)

After finishing the positional runthrough I'm going to take a look at the projected lineups of each of the Rays minor league affiliates.

Next affiliate lineup I'm looking at is the one of the Biscuits:

1 SS Hak-Ju Lee (L)
2 CF Isaias Velasquez (R)
3 2B Tyler Bortnick (R)
4 RF Brett Nommensen (L)
5 C Mark Thomas (R)
6 3B Gregory Sexton (R)
7 1B Michael Sheridan (L)
8 DH Anthony Scelfo (L)
9 LF Ty Morrison (L)

C Craig Albernaz (R)
C David Wendt (R)
IF Matthew Hall (R)
IF Omar Luna (R)
OF Chris Murrill (L)

The Biscuits have enough lead-off hitter types for at least 3 lineups. Hak-Ju Lee (who will bat leadoff most of the time), Isaias Velasquez (typical leadoff type), Tyler Bortnick (also great skill-set for leading off, but I put him 3rd in order to work on his power in addition to the exceptionally great approach on the plate) and Ty Morrison (I play him 9th as additional leading-off type in front of the top-of-the-order). Also Brett Nommensen is best suited as a #1/#2 hitter. On the other side, heart-of-the-lineup hitters are nowhere to be found. Having Mark Thomas and Greg Sexton (can he finally handle AA pitching?) near the power positions in the lineup is a must, despite them also (especially Sexton) not being power hitters. Overall, this will be a tough year for the Biscuits offensively.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekend Catch All

Minor Moves: Satow and Barroso
Matt Eddy had two Rays minor league transactions from over the holidays: LHRP Josh Satow was released and SS Joel Barroso was signed. Other than a few youtube videos there isn't much information out there on Barroso. Expect to see the 21 year-old shortstop on one of the Rays U.S.-based short-season rosters this summer.

The release of the 26 year-old Satow might seem a bit of a surprise after his 2.26 ERA and 55-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 55.2 innings for Charlotte last summer. But Satow really struggled in 2010 when he was promoted to Montgomery for half the year (6.85 ERA, 32-28 SO-BB in 44.2 IP), started back at Charlotte in 2011, and never made it back to Montgomery despite solid numbers across the board. He was originally picked in the 25th round of the 2008 draft out of Arizona State and ends his four-year Rays career with a 2.90 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 232.2 innings. I wouldn't be surprised him make someones AA roster out of spring training. Here are his stats broken down by season and affiliate:
Year   Age     Affiliate  W  L  ERA   G GS SV    IP BB  SO  WHIP  H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2008    22 Hudson Valley  3  0 1.23  19  0  2  36.2 17  46 1.309  7.6  0.0  4.2 11.3
2009    23 Bowling Green  4  0 2.29  44  0 20  63.0 15  65 1.000  6.9  0.3  2.1  9.3
2009    23     Charlotte  0  0 0.00   2  0  0   2.0  1   2 2.000 13.5  0.0  4.5  9.0
2010    24     Charlotte  4  1 1.76  22  0  9  30.2  9  42 0.880  5.3  0.3  2.6 12.3
2010    24    Montgomery  1  4 6.85  23  2  1  44.2 28  32 1.858 11.1  0.4  5.6  6.4
2011    25     Charlotte  4  5 2.26  45  0 13  55.2 14  55 1.060  7.3  0.8  2.3  8.9
4 Seasons                16 10 2.90 155  2 45 232.2 84 242 1.221  7.7  0.4  3.2  9.4

2012 Minor League Staffs
The Rays unveiled the 2012 coaching staffs for all seven U.S.-based affiliates. The biggest change to me is R.C. Lichtenstein moving up to become Montgomery's pitching coach, switching places with Bill Moloney. We've talked about the importance of Lichtenstein before, in particular with Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Matt Moore. It should be interesting to see how he helps the pitchers handle the wall many hit at AA after three years with Bowling Green working on the transition to full-season ball. I've included how many seasons each manager has been in their current position in parenthesis, notice the continuity.

Durham Bulls (International League):
Manager - Charlie Montoyo (6th)
Pitching Coach - Neil Allen
Coach - Dave Myers
Athletic Trainer - Matt Rankin

Montgomery Biscuits (Southern League):
Manager - Billy Gardner Jr. (6th)
Pitching Coach - R.C. Lichtenstein
Coach - Ozzie Timmons
Athletic Trainer - Kris Russell

Charlotte Stone Crabs (Florida State League):
Manager - Jim Morrison (4th)
Pitching Coach - Steve Watson
Coach - Joe Szekely
Athletic Trainer - Scott Thurston

Bowling Green Hot Rods (Midwest League):
Manager - Brady Williams (3rd)
Pitching Coach - Bill Moloney
Coach - Manny Castillo
Athletic Trainer - Jeremy Spencer

Hudson Valley Renegades (New York-Penn League):
Manager - Jared Sandberg (3rd)
Pitching Coach - Kyle Snyder
Coach - Dan DeMent
Athletic Trainer - Brian Newman

Princeton Rays (Appalachian League):
Manager - Michael Johns (3rd)
Pitching Coach - Darwin Peguero
Coach - Reinaldo Ruiz
Athletic Trainer - Nick Flynn

GCL Rays (Gulf Coast League):
Manager - Paul Hoover (1st)
Pitching Coach - Marty DeMerritt
Coach - Wuarnner Rincones
Coach - Hector Torres
Athletic Trainer - Chris Tomashoff

Minor League Coordinators:
Field Coordinator - Jim Hoff
Field Coordinator - Bill Evers
Pitching Coordinator - Dick Bosman
Pitching Coordinator - Dewey Robinson
Hitting Coordinator - Steve Livesey
Hitting Coordinator - Matt Quatraro
Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator - Skeeter Barnes
Catching Coordinator - Jamie Nelson
Medical Training Coordinator - Joe Benge
Rehabilitation Coordinator - Joel Smith
Strength and Conditioning Coordinator - Trung Cao
Equipment Manager - Tim McKechney
Assistant Equipment Manager - Shane Rossetti

Winter Development Program
The Rays third winter development program begins Monday. Here are the 28 players expected to attend the three-day event according to Stacy Long:

Pitchers: Jeff Ames, Alex Colome, Jake Floethe, Taylor Guerrieri, Jesse Hahn, Lenny Linsky, Parker Markel, Wilking Rodriguez, Enny Romero, Blake Snell, Albert Suarez, and Jake Thompson

Catchers: Luke Bailey and Justin O'Conner

Infielders: Ryan Brett, Derek Dietrich, Johnny Eierman, Tyler Goeddel, Jake Hager, and Brandon Martin

Outfielders: Kes Carter, Granden Goetzman, James Harris, Mikie Mahtook, Ty Morrison, Cody Rogers, Josh Sale, and Drew Vettleson

Fernando Rodney Signed
The Rays have signed RHRP Fernando Rodney to a $1.75 million major league contract for 2012 with a team option for $2.5 million in 2013 or a $250,000 buyout. Here is what the team had to say:
Rodney, 34, went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA (32-IP, 16-ER) in 39 relief appearances for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2011. He held opponents to a .224 (26-for-116) batting average and recorded 26 strikeouts. A strained upper back forced him to spend 35 games on the disabled list from June 9–July 21, and he pitched in just two of the Angels final 29 games to end the season.

“Fernando’s pure stuff is top-notch and can beat hitters both in and out of the strike zone,” said Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “We feel he will be able to maximize his ability with us to further strengthen our bullpen.”
And here are what the numbers have to say:
Year   Age Team  W  L  ERA   G GS SV    IP  BB  SO ERA+  WHIP  H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2002    25  DET  1  3 6.00  20  0  0  18.0  10  10   72 1.944 12.5  1.0  5.0  5.0
2003    26  DET  1  3 6.07  27  0  3  29.2  17  33   72 1.753 10.6  0.6  5.2 10.0
2004    27  Did not play
2005    28  DET  2  3 2.86  39  0  9  44.0  17  42  150 1.273  8.0  1.0  3.5  8.6
2006    29  DET  7  4 3.52  63  0  7  71.2  34  65  130 1.186  6.4  0.8  4.3  8.2
2007    30  DET  2  6 4.26  48  0  1  50.2  21  54  108 1.322  8.2  0.9  3.7  9.6
2008    31  DET  0  6 4.91  38  0 13  40.1  30  49   92 1.587  7.6  0.7  6.7 10.9
2009    32  DET  2  5 4.40  73  0 37  75.2  41  61  104 1.467  8.3  1.0  4.9  7.3
2010    33  LAA  4  3 4.24  72  0 14  68.0  35  53   94 1.544  9.3  0.5  4.6  7.0
2011    34  LAA  3  5 4.50  39  0  3  32.0  28  26   85 1.688  7.3  0.3  7.9  7.3
9 Seasons       22 38 4.29 419  0 87 430.0 233 393  102 1.463  8.3  0.8  4.9  8.2

RP Notes
And finally a couple of site notes. Over the holidays I added links to the Depth Chart. If you click on a player's name his baseball-reference page will open in a new tab on your browser. Not a big deal, but much easier than using bbref's search engine, especially for players with common names.

I also updated the Prospect WebRing. The WebRing is designed to help you find info on other organizations prospects and minor leaguers from sites similar to RaysProspects. It's amazing how many good sites have gone out of business the last few years, so I did the best I could with what I could find. If you know of a better site than any of the ones I have listed please leave a comment or drop me a line at Sites have to be free (no pay walls) and preferably with a focus on an organization's minor league teams and prospects.

Future Considerations Podcast (Episode 12: Free Agent Signings, Trades, and Other Things the Rays Haven't Done)

In the first show of 2012, Kevin and Scott break down all the moves that teams have made over the winter, all the moves the Rays haven't made, and where the remaining free agents might wind up.

Questions or comments? E-mail

Music is from Isle of Q

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Friday, January 6, 2012

The Minor League lineups: Durham Bulls (AAA)

After finishing the positional runthrough I'm going to take a look at the projected lineups of each of the Rays minor league affiliates.

I'll start with the Durham Bulls:

1 2B Cole Figueroa (L)
2 SS Tim Beckham (R)
3 CF Brandon Guyer (R)
4 1B/DH Juan Miranda (L)
5 DH/1B Russ Canzler (R)
6 LF Stephen Vogt (L)
7 3B Matt Mangini (L)
8 C Robinson Chirinos (R)
9 RF Kyeong Kang (L)

C Nevin Ashley (R)
MIF Shawn O'Malley (S)
1B/3B Henry Wrigley (R)
LF/1B Leslie Anderson (L)
OF John Shelby (R)
OF Emeel Salem (L)

The lineup of the Bulls seems to be very impressive once again. Even without further additions to the roster (which I think will come) it is very potent. Cole Figueroa, Tim Beckham and Shawn O'Malley (maybe even Emeel Salem) are very good fits for the top of the order with decent on-base rates (Figueroa and O'Malley already, Beckham hopefully improving) and above average speed. The power hitters Brandon Guyer, Juan Miranda, Russ Canzler and Stephen Vogt are the heart of the lineup while players like Matt Mangini, Robinson Chirinos and Kyeong Kang are way better with the bat then their lineup-position (7-9) in my projection indicates.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Projecting the Full-Season Ball Rosters for 2012: Relief Pitching

In this series I'm going to take a quick look at the probable roster of each full season minor league affiliate at the beginning of the 2012 season. I'm going through it position by position. Keep in mind that these projections are very much subject to change (trades could happen, Rays could be more aggressive/conservative with some players, ...). We are going to do more in-depth pieces about the final roster for each affiliate when they are set. This is only to give you a short peek. For more information on the current state of the Rays Depth Chart, check out Doug's great work.

The position I'm going to look at today is Relief Pitching.

As it is right now I see 6 locks in the Rays bullpen: Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Jacob McGee, J.P. Howell, Fernando Rodney and Burke Badenhop. As I fully expect one starter to be traded between now and Spring Training, I don't see any of the starters moving to the pen. Therefore, there is 1 more opening. Right now I go with my intuition and say that Brandon Gomes gets the final spot in the pen (does Cesar Ramos have an option left? I thought not, but I see right now that he has? If not, I see the Rays giving him the 7th spot in the pen).

Durham Bulls:

Cesar Ramos (L), Dane De la Rosa (R), Josh Lueke (R), Jhonny Nunez (R), Jay Buente (R), Matt Bush (R), Marquis Fleming (R), Zachary Quate (R), Ryan Reid (R)

This projection is very much subject to change as Ramos, De la Rosa and Lueke could very well start the season in the majors as injuries can and probably will happen. The lack of left handed relievers behind Cesar Ramos (I left Frank De los Santos, Sergio Espinosa and Neil Schenk in AA) should also be addressed. Ramos, De la Rosa, Lueke, Nunez and Buente provide high quality depth for the majors while I'm eager to see how Matt Bush progresses as a pitcher and how Fleming, Quate and Reid handle AAA. If the Rays sign 1-2 more pitchers for Durham, I see Quate and Reid starting in AA once again.

Montgomery Biscuits:

Alex Koronis (R), Merrill Kelly (R), Scott Shuman (R), Kirby Yates (R), Ricky Orta (R), Neil Schenk (L), Sergio Espinosa (L), Chad Thall (L), Adam Liberatore (L)

If you remember this post, I've projected the '12 Biscuits rotation as a combination of Colome-Thompson-Cruz-Lobstein-Dyer-De los Santos. This leaves Alex Koronis and Merrill Kelly out of the rotation. As I think that their futures will be in the pen, they'll start their road (hopefully) to the majors as full-time-relievers in 2012. I could even see Alex Koronis being used in high leverage situations next to Scott Shuman, Kirby Yates and Neil Schenk or Josh Satow. Overall, the bullpen is full of a bit older prospects who all have performed well at some point. With their experience, they should do very well next season in AA. UPDATE: Josh Satow was released by the Rays.

Charlotte Stone Crabs:

Lenny Linsky (R), Matt Stabelfield (L), Chris Rearick (L), Jimmy Patterson (L), Nate Garcia (R), Austin Hubbard (R), Felix Fuentes (R), Stephen Hiscock (R), Eliazer Suero (R), Victor Mateo (R)

The Rays won't have any difficulties finding relief pitchers for their affiliate in the Florida State League. I counted 14 possible candidates for those spots, listing 10 of them up there. Bowling Green standouts Chris Rearick, Nate Garcia and Jimmy Patterson will handle high leverage situations together with Matt Stabelfield and Lenny Linsky. I see Linsky - who projects as a high leverage reliever in the majors - as the closer. Austin Hubbard, Felix Fuentes, Stephen Hiscock, Eliazer Suero and Victor Mateo (long man?) round out a crowded pen. Other candidates for the Stone Crabs BP include: Justin Woodall (I've him in Bowling Green), Drew Leary and Jairo de la Rosa (injured all of '11 ... does anybody know something new?)

Bowling Green Hot Rods:

Justin Woodall (L), Matt Ramsey (R; ready come Spring?), David Kubiak (R), Jacob Partridge (L), Charlie Cononie (R), Robert Dickman (L), Theron Geith (L), Garret Smith (R), Shay Crawford (L),
Stayton Thomas (R), Daniel Bream (R), Wilmer Almonte (R; injured all of '11), Matt Spann (L), Jason McEachern (R)

So, that's tough. I've about 17-19 pitchers who should be considered for a role in the Hot Rods pen. I've trimmed it down a bit to 14 but even of those 14 some might start in Hudson Valley while others might be released. Justin Woodall, Matt Ramsey (if healthy) and David Kubiak should be used in high leverage situations while Wilmer Almonte (healthy?), Matt Spann and Jason McEachern could all see some starts during the season. If coming out of the pen, especially Matt Spann could be used in high leverage situations as well. Other possibilities for the BG pen could be: Lucas Irvine (R), Jesse Hahn (R), Jeff Ames (R), Matt Swilley (R), Pedro Silvestre, Ian Kendall (R) or Roberto Gomez (R).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Projecting the Full-Season Ball Rosters for 2012: Outfield

In this series I'm going to take a quick look at the probable roster of each full season minor league affiliate at the beginning of the 2012 season. I'm going through it position by position. Keep in mind that these projections are very much subject to change (trades could happen, Rays could be more aggressive/conservative with some players, ...). We are going to do more in-depth pieces about the final roster for each affiliate when they are set. This is only to give you a short peek. For more information on the current state of the Rays Depth Chart, check out Doug's great work.

The position I'm going to look at today is the Outfield.

It more and more looks as if B.J. Upton will stay with the Rays ... at least for the start of the season. This puts Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, Sam Fuld and him into the Rays outfield. As the Rays are looking for impact bats, lots of additional COF/DH types could land with the Rays until Spring Training (Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman, Luke Scott, Kendry Morales, Johnny Damon, ...). I expect one addition of the COF/DH mold (+ one 1B) happening. This would mean that either Elliot Johnson, Justin Ruggiano or Brandon Guyer will get spot #25 on the roster. Knowing the Rays I think they'll give the spot to Johnson in order of having Guyer playing every day in Durham. And if an additional spot with projected limited playing time is open I expect them to go with Ruggiano.

Durham Bulls:

Stephen Vogt (L/LF), Kyeong Kang (L/mostly RF), Leslie Anderson (L/LF), Brandon Guyer (R/RF and CF), John Shelby (R/CF), Emeel Salem (L/CF)

Having said this, the Durham corner outfield positions should look decent, even if Guyer starts in the majors. Stephen Vogt, Kyeong Kang and Leslie Anderson should be in Durham come Spring Training. With Brandon Guyer in Durham, no additional COF depth signings for the majors are needed. Regarding CF: John Shelby should start in Durham while I have no update on Emeel Salem's knee injury. Behind them, I'd start Isaias Velasquez in Montgomery. I could see an additional signing for the Bulls outfield. Maybe one of Ruggiano (if not in majors)/Matulia will be signed to a MiL deal?

Montgomery Biscuits:

Ty Morrison (L/CF), Isaias Velazquez (R/CF), Chris Murrill (L/LF and RF), Brett Nommensen (L/RF)
, Anthony Scelfo (L/LF)

Ladies and Gentleman, this might just be the fastest minor league outfield in Rays history. The 5 players add up to (114+70+41+100+76) 401 SB in their pro careers. Breaking it down position by position, both, Morrison and Velazquez, should see time in center field with both playing some COF as well. Brett Nommensen should be the primary RF while Chris Murrill and Anthony Scelfo should play most of the time in left field. Additionally I see Scelfo filling in at 2B and 3B and all outfielders rotating into the DH role as well. This gives all five of them enough plate appearances and adds even more speed to a roster that also features Hak-Ju Lee and Tyler Bortnick. On the other side, I don't see much in the power production sector in Montgomery this year as Mark Thomas might be the only power bat in the lineup (assuming Henry Wrigley moving up and no minor league free agents added).

Charlotte Stone Crabs:

Mikie Mahtook (R/RF and CF), Kevin Kiermaier (L/OF), Cody Rogers (L/OF)
, Todd Glaesmann (R/RF) and Steven Tinoco (R/LF and RF)

Man do the Rays have speed in their A+ and AA outfields. Kevin Kiermaier and Cody Rogers are two more very speedy guys with Mikie Mahtook being very fast as well. This leads to another lineup with multiple guys being capable of playing an adequate center fielder. Therefore, I see the Rays moving Tood Glaesmann to RF full time leaving Mahtook, Kiermaier and Rogers as CF possibilities. Mikie Mahtood should spare Todd Glaesmann in RF and play as the primary CFer in order to receive more than 500 PA's. Cody Rogers should play regularly in LF while providing excellent depth for CF as well as RF and Kevin Kiermaier should mostly play CF while providing depth for the corners. Steven Tinoco (who could also see some time at 1B) adds even more depth to Left and Right Field. All 5 should rotate into the DH spot as well. Overall, while Charlotte has a very speedy OF as well, these 5 are much more powerful hitters than the 5 in Montgomery. Especially Mahtook, Glaesmann and Rogers are can-do-it-all forwards in the making.

Bowling Green Hot Rods:

Drew Vettleson (L/RF)
, Kes Carter (L/CF and RF), Craig Lyerly (R/LF and CF), Joel Caminero (R/OF), Nicholas Schwaner (L/LF)

I could see Drew Vettleson (in right), Kes Carter (in center) and Craig Lyerly (in left) being the primary starters for the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Joel Caminero (at all 3 positions) and Nick Schwaner (in left field and at 1B/3B) are the only backups I can think of for the Hot Rods (as the Renegades OF has been released and as I don't see, while not being surprised if it happens, Josh Sale moving up to Bowling Green at the start of the season). These outfielders won't rotate into the DH role either as the Hot Rods have a much more crowded infield.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Projecting the Full-Season Ball Rosters for 2012: Second Base

In this series I'm going to take a quick look at the probable roster of each full season minor league affiliate at the beginning of the 2012 season. I'm going through it position by position. Keep in mind that these projections are very much subject to change (trades could happen, Rays could be more aggressive/conservative with some players, ...). We are going to do more in-depth pieces about the final roster for each affiliate when they are set. This is only to give you a short peek. For more information on the current state of the Rays Depth Chart, check out Doug's great work.

The position I'm going to look at today is Second Base.

A major league position can't be more set than it is with the Rays and 2B. Ben Zobrist is one of the primere Second Baseman in the majors both offensively and defensively. And while the Rays could switch him to RF or even 1B, I don't see that happening as his defense is much more valueable in the middle infield. In addition to Zobrist, the Rays have Sean Rodriguez and Elliot Johnson. Both are more than capable of playing 2B, at least defensively.

Durham Bulls:

Cole Figueroa (L)

With Elliot Johnson in Tampa Bay in this projection, I predict Cole Figueroa (starter) and Shawn O'Malley (backup for SS and 2B) playing at 2B for Durham. Both are nice prospects in my eyes with the possibility of becoming a utility player in the majors. Figueroa's ceiling might even be a little bit higher.

Montgomery Biscuits:

Tyler Bortnick (R)

Tyler Bortnick is one of my favourite prospects in the Rays system. He has an exceptional approach at the plate with an excellent eye-bat connection. Together with Hak-Ju Lee he once again will be the heart of the teams' defensive and offensive formation. It's very interesting to see how he manages the jump from A+ to AA. I keep my fingers crossed for him.

Charlotte Stone Crabs:

Hector Guevara (R), Robby Price (L)

With Bortnick and Lee gone from the Stone Crabs MIF, I see the Bowling Green MIF of '11 being the Port Charlotte MIF of '12. This means that Hector Guevara (primary) and Robby Price (also at 3B) will handle most of the duties at Second in '12. Depending on how much Price also plays 3B, Robi Estrada will fill in and provide depth at Second. The combination of Guevara's youth and projection with Price's very refined approach is very interesting to watch and it should give the Stone Crabs a solid duo at 2B.

Bowling Green Hot Rods:

Ryan Brett (S), Raymond Church (R)

The Hot Rods infield will be very crowded in '12. Unless one or two of Jeff Malm, Riccio Torrez, Cameron Seitzer or Taylor Motter starts in A+, the Hot Rods' infield consists of Jeff Malm, Cameron Seitzer and Junior Rodriguez (1B), Juniel Querecuto and Taylor Motter (SS), Riccio Torrez and Leonardo Reginatto (3B) and Ryan Brett as well as Raymond Church for 2B. These players will also rotate into the DH-role, but that's 9 players for 5 spots. Nevertheless, I do project all of them to start in A-ball while giving Riccio Torrez the highest probability of playing in A+ at the start of the season. Focusing on 2B, I think Ryan Brett is a very nice prospect. He has a great approach at the plate and is very fast. He only lacks some power and a defensive home in order to become one of the top prospects in the system. Raymond Church provides depth at 2B while I could also see him being released before the start of the season.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Projecting the Full-Season Ball Rosters for 2012: Shortstop

In this series I'm going to take a quick look at the probable roster of each full season minor league affiliate at the beginning of the 2012 season. I'm going through it position by position. Keep in mind that these projections are very much subject to change (trades could happen, Rays could be more aggressive/conservative with some players, ...). We are going to do more in-depth pieces about the final roster for each affiliate when they are set. This is only to give you a short peek. For more information on the current state of the Rays Depth Chart, check out Doug's great work.

The position I'm going to look at today is Shortstop.

The most bleak locking position right now in the majors is shortstop. Reid Brignac is above average defensively but a liability on offense while Sean Rodriguez shouldn't see any righty and thus should only play short (he is better at 2nd and 3rd) against lefties and Elliott Johnson looks like a major league utility player at best. The best options in the farm system (Lee and Beckham) are at least one year away of the majors as well. Nevertheless, the Rays don't seem to bring in new talent at short with all viable FA options gone and only the Nationals possibly coming to my mind as trade partner (Ian Desmond ... but that would mean a trade of B.J. Upton).

Durham Bulls:

Tim Beckham (R),
Shawn O'Malley (S)

Right now it seems as if Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman want to carry Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez AND Elliot Johnson once again on their 25 man roster in order to have defensive flexibility. Thus, and because Ray Olmedo and J.J. Furmaniak are gone, the shortstop duo in Durham will be Tim Beckham and Shawn O'Malley. O'Malley, who is a very capable defender will be the back-up at both middle-infield positions with Tim Beckham handling the starting role. While we all have hoped for more when Beckham was drafted 1st overall, he has been improving his defense and offense every year. I'm very eager to see what he can do in Durham next year.

Montgomery Biscuits:

Hak-Ju Lee (L), Matthew Hall (R), Omar Luna (R)

Hak-Ju Lee is excellent defensively. He is nearly complete and very advanced offensively. And he gives excellent interviews. Lee and Tyler Bortnick once again (after '11 in Port Charlotte) will be the bright spots in their teams' infield. With an excellent '12 season, Lee could advance to Durham by mid-season, sharing the MIF with Tim Beckham and Cole Figueroa. Matt Hall and Omar Luna are very valueable players to the Rays because they add defensive flexibility to a roster. Both have already played in AAA and both played most of last season in A+. They will once again add defensive flexibility to the roster, backing Lee, Bortnick and Sexton up at SS, 2B and 3B.

Charlotte Stone Crabs:

Derek Dietrich (L), Robi Estrada (S)

Derek Dietrich is one of the best prospects in the Rays farm system (ranked 20th on the combined prospect list). He projects to have above average power while his play at short (most see him as a 3B/2B-man in the majors) and his ability to limit strikeouts (23.8 K% in '12) will determine his role in the future. Robi Estrada is going to move up to A+ after playing in Bowling Green for 3 years now. He'll back Dietrich up at short.

Bowling Green Hot Rods:

Taylor Motter (R), Juniel Querecuto (S)

Juniel Querecuto, a bonus baby out of Venezuela, and Taylor Motter will handle short for the Hot Rods. Querecuto is very young (19.3 years today) and could very well also play one more season in extended spring training, but I think that the Rays will stay aggressive with him, assigning him to full season ball. Taylor Motter was assigned to Princeton after being drafted last year where he dominated the mostly younger opposing pitching. Together they should complement each other very well and form a potent group.