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A Tampa Bay Rays Blog: Ball on a Budget

Updated: 2018-02-20T08:59:54-05:00


Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Rays debut new team blog, “The Ray Tank”


Where have we heard that name before? The Tampa Bay Rays have launched their a new website that bears a certain similarity to our daily news and links article! We sat down with the Tank to discuss who they are, what they’re up to, and why they think they’re better than us. An Interview with The Ray Tank DRaysBay: Hello Ray Tank, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you, as you’ve been in the works for a while. What will your purpose be now that you’re here? The Ray Tank: That’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at some point. Our job is to deliver fresh Rays content that you don’t see anywhere else. We like unusual, behind-the-scenes things, or stories no one is telling. We also like Will Vragovic’s photos (a lot). DRaysBay: Your overlords asked very kindly, and we gladly relinquished the name of our morning links article to your website. Do you have any ideas for what we should call it now? The Ray Tank: They are benevolent and we are grateful for your generosity. Have you thought about “Early Work” or “Top of the Order?” We’ll have to get back to you. DRaysBay: Those are terrible suggestions. We have been fond of the name for some time, why did you want to use it? The Ray Tank: We kicked around a few ideas, but ultimately liked how Tropicana Field’s ray tank is something unique for Rays fans. They hang out, take pictures, even watch a few batters. We want our site to be a unique place Rays fans like to visit, too. DRaysBay: What kind of things can we expect to find on The Ray Tank? The Ray Tank: Remember the bat boy who made some diving stops to save the bullpen? Or all those Souza hugs? We can share more info on those things, as well as share links to any outside Rays stories fans absolutely need to see. We’ve already got some good stuff up on Ramos’ scary experience in Venezuela and KK’s bowfishing prowess. DRaysBay: Why do you think you’re better than us?** The Ray Tank: We’re not even competing! We just kept finishing the day and realizing we had so many interesting things to share and nowhere to do it. DRaysBay: Will you feature podcasts as well? The Ray Tank: We don’t have plans to create our own. Neil Solondz and Rays Radio do great work. And so does The Hit Show. DRaysBay: Is it possible for our podcast to get The Hit Show jingle as compensation for the name? The Ray Tank: Have your people get with our people. ** Not a serious question Thank you to The Ray Tank for answering some questions. It’s a quality name for the most iconic feature of the Rays stadium. We will admit the timing of the blog announcement could have been made on a different day — some in the industry took issue, probably because they lack humor — but we think it’s excellent. You can check out The Ray Tank here. Rays Soundwaves Neil Solondz held his weekly ‘This Week in Rays Baseball’ podcast where he discussed the Rays three recent moves with Chaim Bloom and Marc Topkin, and he also spoke with pitching prospect Ian Gibaut (who didn’t start pitching until his senior year of high school). width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""> Kevin Cash also chimed in on the Rays moves: “We have to make decisions that aren’t the sexiest decisions at times” width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""> Matt Andriese discussed his transition to the bullpen, how difficult it was to hear, and what his role will be moving forward width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="[...]

What can the Rays expect for Corey Dickerson?


The clock is ticking on a potential move for the DFA’d All-Star Things went from cold to a boiling over for Rays fans over the course of about 30 minutes Saturday night. The Rays acquired CJ Cron, designated Corey Dickerson for assignment, and traded Jake Odorizzi. It’s here I’d like to apologize for the slow off season. Apparently all I needed to do was have planned family time with limited internet connectivity in order to light the flame of the hot stove season. Initially my phone started going crazy when it was announced that the Rays acquired CJ Cron for a player to be named later. This move is one that wasn’t that difficult to see as a possibility. The Angels have too many 1B/DH types and Cron wasn’t owed guaranteed money. One of the Rays biggest needs was a corner bat that hit from the right side. Even though Cron hasn’t hit left handers well (career 95 wRC+), he’s been an above-average bat that has put up a 107 wRC+ over almost 1500 career plate appearances. It’s unlikely that Cron really has reverse splits, so this seems like a solid pickup in an area of need for the Rays. It’s impossible to know how great a pickup this is, but if it’s for a marginal prospect as most PTBNL are, then it’s a worthwhile acquisition. The corresponding move to make room for Cron on the 40 man roster was DFAing Corey Dickerson. The initial reaction was absolute shock. We know there is no such thing as an untouchable for the Tampa Bay Rays after the heart-breaking trade of Evan Longoria in December, but the way this was announced as a DFA was a punch to the gut. Until this transaction is completed, there isn’t a way to logically evaluate it at this time. But of the batch of recent moves, this is the one that just doesn’t make sense. Why would the Rays sacrifice leverage? They now have a limit on the time they can trade Dickerson before he is open game for any team in the league to submit a bid on. Surely they are in a worse trade position now, having started the seven day DFA clock, than before in their attempts to close a deal. While still in shock over the Dickerson DFA, it was announced that Jake Odorizzi was traded to the Minnesota Twins. It would take having no contact to the outside world to not expect this kind of move. The return was a little surprising in that it was a one-for-one deal for SS Jermaine Palacios. In a series I was able to watch in early May between the Cedar Rapid Kernels and the Bowling Green Hot Rods, Palacios stuck out as the best player on the field. He made some slick defensive plays at short and was consistently making solid contact. The return seems a little light as even the public prospect evaluators who like him have him in the teens of an average farm system. John Sickels of minorleagueball had him rated as the Twins #17 prospect and Baseball Prospectus had him in the 11-20 range. The Rays have gone with their scouts in getting Christian Arroyo and Palacios this winter, and by not going with the public evaluators. Let’s hope they are right. Overall the moves are hard to evaluate right now as a group. They brought in the bat to replace Dickerson in the lineup, but until you know what the Rays gave up for Cron and what the Rays can get for Dickerson we’re waiting for more information. What can the Rays expect for Dickerson? According to GM Erik Neander the Rays DFA’d Dickerson to force a time table on trade talks to wind down. Sounds like #Rays don't have a deal in hand for Dickerson, but did the DFA move to spur conclusion of some trade talks. Neander: "We've had enough conversations where we felt this was best way to get things resolved for him and for us.''— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 18, 2018 Following the trade of Odorizzi, Kevin Cash announced the team would start out the season with a four-man rotation The return in the Odorizzi deal, Jermaine Palacios, has been slotted as the team’s 22nd best prospect on MLB Pipeline Neil Solondz continued to spotlight players in camp as he broke down Ian Gibaut, who [...]

2018 DRaysBay Community Prospect No. 26


Our first full-time left-handed pitchers is finally on the list. Previous winner LHP Resly Linares (6’2 170, 20 in 2018) 2017 statistics with short-season Hudson Valley: 61 1/3 IP, 2.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.4 BB%, 24.5 K% In his second season pitching in the U.S., Linares improved immensely in 2017. He allowed 36 hits in 61 1⁄3 innings after allowing 40 hits in just 32 innings the previous season with Princeton. His walk rate increased, but he was very effective in a rotation that featured higher-profile arms like Brendan McKay and Austin Franklin. He throws a good curveball and his changeup has some promise, and he’ll need to add some velocity to his average fastball as he gets stronger. With the recent trade, I decided to add my own player to the list. My apologies if you attempted to get a player in on Friday. There will still be two more chances to do so. LHP Brock Burke (6’4 200, 21 in 2018) 2017 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 123 1/3 IP, 2.99 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7.0 BB%, 21.1 K% Burke was a third-round pick in 2014, and he finally made his full-season debut in 2017. The key for him was improved control. In his final high-school season, he walked nearly seven batters per nine innings, per Baseball America ($). In 2016, his walk rate was 11 percent. He has an average fastball, and his delivery creates deception. He has to improve his curveball and changeup. LHP Genesis Cabrera (6’1 170, 21 in 2018) 2017 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery: 134 1/3 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.1 BB%, 19.5 K% Cabrera pitched very well again in 2017, even reaching Double A with Montgomery. Only three pitchers were younger than him in the Southern League. He has good stuff, led by his 92-93 mph fastball that can touch 97. He complements his heater with a good slider that has made him tough on lefties. He needs to develop a third pitch and improve his command. OF Jake Fraley (L/L, 6’0 195, 23 in 2018) 2017 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 105 PA, .170/.238/.255, 1-for-3 SB, 6.6 BB%, 22.9 K% 2017 was a lost season for Fraley. He went on the disabled list twice, including once after getting hit by a pitch in late May. He did not return to the Stone Crabs after that. In the offseason, he played in the Australian Baseball League and dominating, stealing 39 bases and slugging 13 home runs in 39 games. Whether that actually carries over to the U.S. is questionable, but it is important he was able to accumulate more at-bats. He has plus speed and is a very good defender in center field. SS Jelfry Marte (S/R, 5’11 170, 17 in 2018) No 2017 statistics The Twins initially signed Marte for $3 million, but that agreement was later voided due to a vision issue discovered in his physical. That allowed the Rays to scoop him up for a reported $800,000. He’s an athlete who has the ability to become an impressive defender at shortstop. He’s a good basestealer. At the plate, he’s a line-drive hitter but may not develop much power. RHP Jose Mujica (6’2 235, 22 in 2018) 2017 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery: 165 2⁄3 IP, 3.04 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 6.7 BB%, 13.5 K% After signing for $1 million in 2012, Mujica has gradually developed, sometimes slowed down by injuries. He made his full-season debut in 2016, and after two starts with Charlotte in 2017, was needed in Montgomery, where he spent the remainder of the season. Thanks to this progress, he was added to the 40-man roster in November. He throws a lot of strikes. However, his strikeout rate ranked 47th out of 50 minor league pitchers who threw 150-plus innings last season. He has an above-average fastball and changeup. 3B Kevin Padlo (R/R, 6’2 205, 21 in 2018) 2017 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 259 PA, .223/.324/.391, 6 HR, 22 XBH, 13.5 BB%, 23.2 K% In his second season in the organization, Padlo struggled, but the hamate injury he sustained in May could be a significant mitigating factor. That injury is [...]

Who is Jermaine Palacios?


While a light trade return for Jake Odorizzi, Palacios is a prospect on the rise. The Tampa Bay Rays were the laughingstock of baseball for about an hour on Saturday evening following a pair of roster moves that had fans scratching their heads. Designating Corey Dickerson for assignment was probably the more puzzling of the two, but let’s talk about that Jake Odorizzi trade. It netted Jermaine Palacios, a Venezuelan shortstop prospect coming off a big 2017 season. Palacios hasn’t quite hit the prospect radar yet, but the Rays have a history of identifying such prospects before the rest of the industry — Chih-Wei Hu and Willy Adames being two recent examples. Let’s get one thing straight: this still looks like a light return for Odorizzi. However, that doesn’t mean Palacios won’t ultimately become a useful big league player. Background The Twins signed Palacios, 21, out of Venezuela back in 2013. He had a promising debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2014, then exploded for a .939 OPS in 251 plate appearances in his stateside debut in 2015. He struggled in his first stint at Single-A ball in 2016, hitting just .222/.276/.287 with 12 extra base hits in 71 games. He bounced back last season as a 20-year-old, hitting .320/.362/.544 with 11 home runs in 276 plate appearances at Single-A Cedar Rapids before moving up to High-A Fort Myers. Palacios started out hot with the Miracle, hitting .306 in his first 35 games. However, he cratered down the stretch, with a 554 OPS in his final 108 plate appearances. Strengths Palacios is a well-rounded player who does a lot of things well. At the plate, he is a solid hitter who has potential to hit for average and a bit of power. MLB Pipeline gives his hit tool a league average (50) grade, and also praised his approach at the plate. An offensive-minded middle infielder whose bat is a little bit ahead of his glove, Palacios can really impact the baseball. He has some potential at the plate to hit for average and good extra-base pop, even if that doesn’t mean a ton of home runs. He makes consistent hard contact with a fairly advanced approach. FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen said similar things last summer, noting Palacios “is producing surprising power for his size.” He is only listed at 145 pounds (but looks bigger), and should develop a bit more power as he fills out. It’s probably a fringe-average tool at peak, but that’s plenty enough pop to work with if he stays at shortstop. Speaking of the glove, Palacios has great instincts and good hands. His range is a bit of a question mark moving forward, but scouts note that his first step and footwork have improved with continued reps. Baseball Prospectus labeled him a plus defender at short, while others consider him closer to average. Palacios also has a plus arm that should play anywhere in the infield, though, like most young infielders, he could stand to improve his accuracy a little bit. If he doesn’t stick at short, he should be a strong defender at either second or third base. Weaknesses For a middle infielder with a slight build, Palacios doesn’t run all that well. Longenhagen graded him as a 40 (below-average) runner a couple years ago, and others don’t particularly like him to age well on this front. MLB Pipeline’s 50 is the highest grade I’ve seen for his speed, and his low success rate on stolen bases — he was 20-for-35 last year — doesn’t bode well for the future. The iffy run tool is also a reason why some scouts are worried about his future range at short. While Palacios has drawn some praise for his approach at the plate, I’m worried about how well that will play going forward. He has not drawn many walks in the minors, and finished with a walk rate around 4.0 percent last season. This hasn’t hindered him too much yet, but he may start to struggle against more advanced pitching. He also has a relatively long swing for someone his size — you’ll likely pick up on this in the videos below [...]