Finally we finish our look at the Rays’ lowest-level affiliate in America, the GCL Rays. As we’ve seen in the previous installments, the GCL Rays feature plenty of promise but almost all of the ability remains raw. No matter how well they performed, most of the GCL Rays’ players will not make the Rays’ top prospects list anywhere. In this post, we will continue looking at these GCL Rays players, many of whom have a chance to be impact big league players someday, and although the chances of any individual player panning out is low, on the team as a whole there will almost certainly be a few players who will be key contributors to the Rays’ success in a few years.
Damion Carroll, 18, is a 6’3″, 198 right-hander who was the Rays’ 6th round draft pick in 2012. Carroll’s results in his pro debut in the GCL were very mixed as he went 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA, a 9.3 K/9, an 8.8 BB/9, and a 0.0 HR/9 in 10 appearances and 19.1 IP. His groundball rate was a nice 56.5% per Minor League Central*, but his walk rate was crazy-high as Carroll could not consistently find the strike zone. Carroll throws a fastball that reaches 95 MPH that shows nice nice run away from right-handed batters along with solid sink, although Carroll struggles to locate it in the zone. The bigger problem for Carroll is that he throws three secondary pitches, a curveball, a slilder, and a changeup, and all of them are complete works in progress as Carroll can’t throw any of them for strikes. Carroll may flash the good velocity on his fastball right now, but he’s extremely raw in terms of his other pitches and that is really holding him back right now. His curveball is the best of his offspeed offerings, featuring good 11-to-5 break when Carroll can get on top of it, and the Rays could scrap Carroll’s slider as they look to develop the curveball. Carroll is talented, but he really needs everything simplified now, so look for the Rays to take Carroll slowly through the minors developing one pitch at a time as Carroll looks to translate his raw ability into results. Carroll’s lack of control in his pro debut had to be disconcerting for the Rays, but Carroll is just getting his career started and the Rays knew the moment that they drafted him that he was going to require a lot of work. They’ll continue moving Carroll’s development along next season as they look to ease Carroll into the high-upside pitcher he has the ability to be.
Isaac Gil, 20, was drafted by the Rays in the 31st round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Gil, who is a big 6’5″, 230, put together a good performance in his first extended look in pro ball, going 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA, a 7.7 K/9, a 2.9 BB/9, and a 0.0 HR/9 in 2 starts, 10 relief appearances, and 34 IP. Gil may have been a pretty late draft pick, but he has some potential as a prospect. Gil doesn’t have any projection remaining, but he throws a fastball around 93 MPH with good movement away from right-handed batters to go along with a solid curveball. Gil was much better against righties than lefties in a limited sample, holding them to a .485 OPS with 19 strikeouts versus 7 walks compared to a .692 with 10 strikeouts and 4 walks versus lefties. He currently doesn’t have any weapons to deal with lefty batters, and the Rays are sure to teach him a changeup in the near future. But he has the ability to be a solid relief prospect moving forward, and considering he’s pretty young as well, it will be interesting to see if he could be a late round steal for the Rays.
Lefty Brett Blaise, 22, was a non-drafted free agent signee by the Rays this year but is a little more interesting than your average NDFA. Blaise did struggle in his pro debut, going 1-1 with an 8.36 ERA, 10.3 K/9, a 7.7 BB/9, and a 1.3 HR/9 in 8 appearances and 14 IP. But he’s a projectable 6’3″, 180, and his current stuff is pretty interesting. He throws a fastball in the 90-92 MPH range along with a sharp curveball that hitters had an awfully hard time making contact with. The problem is that Blaise has no idea where his pitches are going. If he ever does, he could be a pitcher who could move quickly as a relief prospect. Chances are that it won’t happen, but when you have an NDFA who has a chance to make the big leagues someday, it’s always nice.
Lefty Lucas Goodgion, 23, was the Rays’ 33rd round pick in 2012 and is another late round pick who isn’t the biggest longshot to be a big league contributor someday. In his pro debut, Goodgion was great, going 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA, a 7.9 K/9, a 2.9 BB/9, and a 0.0 HR/9 in 12 appearances and 25 IP. Goodgion has good size at 6’4″, 220 and nice stuff to go with it, throwing a low-90′s fastball with late bite along with a solid slider that shows flashes. Goodgion’s control and command have a long way to go, but the inexperienced hitters of the GCL continuously swung and missed at Goodgion’s pitches, posting a 17.0% swinging strikeout rate compared to the 14.7% league average. But he couldn’t locate anything anywhere and only had such a low walk rate because hitters were swinging and missing like crazy at his pitches. More disciplined hitters won’t fall for his tricks. Goodgion’s stuff is good, but he has a long way to go and at his age (he turned 23 in July), we’ll have to see if he will ever put it all together. The good news is that between Gil, Blaise, and Goodgion, the Rays may end up with a solid big league middle reliever.
Alex Moshier, 23, was another NDFA signed by the Rays this season. Moshier had a solid pro debut with the GCL Rays, going 1-3 with a 2.82 ERA, a 6.4 K/9, a 4.0 BB/9, a 0.4 HR/9, and 4 saves in 14 appearances and 22.1 IP. He has since moved to Short Season-A Hudson Valley, where he has been excellent in 2 appearances spanning 4 IP, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 4 while walking none. Mosher, 5’11″, 200, throws a low-90′s sinker along with a halfway-decent slider. He doesn’t generate very many swings and misses at this point, managing just a 10.9% swinging strikeout rate compared to the 14.7% league average and he doesn’t force groundballs either, posting a 40.9% groundball rate. Moshier needs to improve his command and control for him to even think about continued success. Moshier has been much better against righties than lefties, holding them to a .529 OPS compared to .864 versus lefties in a limited sample. He’s going to need to add a changeup to handle lefties. Moshier has a little ability, but he has a lot of development still to do and at 23 years old, he’s running out of time.
Kyle Pelchy, 22, is one final NDFA that played for the GCL Rays. Pelchy posted just a 5.25 ERA in 12 appearances and 24 IP in his pro debut, but the interesting thing was that he posted a 7.1 K/9, a 1.9 BB/9, and a 0.0 HR/9. Pelchy, who is 6’0″, 210, throws in just the high-80′s with his fastball but he does throws a nice curveball that he commands well. Pelchy is another pitcher who struggles against opposite-handed batters, as they tagged him for a .980 OPS and 7 strikeouts versus 4 walks compared to just a .628 OPS and 12 strikeouts versus 1 walk by righties. Pelchy has an extremely uphill battle ahead of him, but with one plus pitch and hopefully further development in his arsenal, he’ll give it a shot.
And we close with lefty Dayne Quist, 23, who was the Rays’ 28th round pick in 2012. Quist had a really nice start to his pro career with the GCL Rays, going 1-2 with a 2.55 ERA, an 8.7 K/9, a ridiculous 0.5 BB/9, and a 0.0 HR/9 in 11 appearances and 17.2 IP. His groundball rate was an impressive 56.1%. Quist, who is just 5’10″, 180, doesn’t have great stuff, throwing a high-80′s fastball, a decent curveball, and a fringy changeup. But he stands out thanks to superlative command of all 3 pitches. Quist’s pure stuff isn’t great, but he’s able to keep the ball down and get groundballs and because of that he has a chance to be a lefty reliever someday. Quist turns 24 in January so time is definitely not on his side, but his great command could take him to the big leagues, especially as a lefty.
That’s it for our look at the 2012 GCL Rays. All in all, we see that there’s a lot of talent, most of it yet unfulfilled, but there are plenty of players to watch moving forward as we see who’s going to figure it out and who will not. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about some of the Rays’ lowest-level minor leaguers.
*All groundball rate, line drive rate, swinging strikeout rate, etc. data in this article is courtesy of Minor League Central.