We continue our quick glance at the players who spent 2012 on the Hudson Valley Renegades with the infielders. Mostly players drafted out of college to be found here, but there are several interesting players, including a first round pick.
Michael Williams, 22, was drafted as a catcher by the Rays in the 30th round of this year’s draft but played 43 of his 46 games at first base. That is especially bizarre because Williams was known as a defensive catcher coming out of the University of Kentucky, featuring a strong arm and good actions behind the plate. Were Jake DePew and Luke Maile so good that Williams didn’t have the opportunity to catch? As we saw last time, absolutely not. Really, what may be happening is that the Rays like Williams’ defense and they are trying to work on his offense. In any event, it didn’t work out so well as he managed just a .221/.293/.288 line in 181 plate appearances with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 18 RBI, and 34 strikeouts versus 14 walks. He made a decent amount of contact but failed to hit the ball with much authority. Williams has good strength but has never been able to utilize it consistently in his swing to generate power. We’ll have to see whether Williams moves behind the plate more often next season and whether his offense ever picks up.
Tommy Coyle, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, is just 5’7″, 170, but the Rays’ 16th round pick in 2012 proved in his pro debut that he can really play. Coyle posted a .265/.373/.391 line with the Renegades with 13 doubles, 5 homers, 31 RBI, 20 of 24 stolen bases, and 50 strikeouts against 42 walks in 67 games and exactly 300 plate appearances. Coyle is a solid all-around player with a clear above-average tool in his speed. He shows good bat speed at his best with gap power, but he gets into trouble based on the timing in his stride as he has some Evan Longoria action as a lefty batter, standing almost straight up before striding into a relatively open stance. He does have very good plate discipline and makes a good amount of contact. Coyle is no burner, but he runs well with great instincts on the basepaths and uses his speed well at second base. Coyle has had some issues defensively because he doesn’t have great hands and his actions could certainly be smoother, although that may correct itself naturally as Coyle played a lot of shortstop at UNC and doesn’t have too much experience at second base. Coyle also has great character, being known for his hustle. The Rays hope Coyle can become a 4-tool second baseman, being only a 10-15 homer threat but hitting for a solid average, getting on base, stealing bases, and playing good defense. He was an interesting pick by the Rays’ in the 16th round and has made the Rays look good so far.
The Rays usually draft high school players in the first round, but when they saw Richie Shaffer on the board at 25th overall, they couldn’t pass him up. Shaffer, 21, played well in his relatively brief pro debut for the Renegades, posting a .308/.406/.487 line with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 26 RBI, and 31 strikeouts versus 16 walks in 33 games and 138 plate appearances. The scouting report on Shaffer is that he features big-time power with nice bat speed, although his swing does get long at times, and great plate discipline, but he didn’t show all that much of that. He had a little trouble adjusting to pro ball, starting out tentatively, extending his zone a little too much, and not hitting for a ton of power, but it’s awfully impressive that despite all that, Shaffer still managed an .893 OPS. Defensively, Shaffer is an athletic 6’3″, 210 with a great arm, but doesn’t move very well at third base and is a better fit at first base, where he profiles as the Rays’ first baseman of the future. He’s currently playing in the Arizona Fall League. Shaffer has the potential to be the Rays’ first homegrown All-Star first baseman in franchise history and the Rays are very excited to see what he can do.
Ryan Dunn, who turns 24 in just a few days, was drafted one round after Coyle in the 17th round of the 2012 MLB Draft and also had a good pro debut, posting a .278/.366/.363 line in 61 games with 16 doubles, 1 homer, 36 RBI, and 8 of 10 stolen bases in 61 games and 257 plate appearances. Dunn stands out most for a tool that didn’t show up at all for the Renegades this season, his power. Dunn is another smaller player at 5’10”, 180 but he features above-average raw power, which is especially nice for a shortstop. But in his pro debut, he failed to barrel the ball consistently and although he made a lot of contact, far too much of it was weak contact in the air. He avoided striking out much more through a compact swing as opposed to bat speed and he’s going to have to find a better balance between strength and fluidity in his swing to make compact and bring his power into play. Interestingly for a shortstop, Dunn does not have great speed, although he does have solid instincts on the basepaths, but defensively he managed to survive thanks to great reflexes and a good arm. He did also see time at first base for Hudson Valley, although he certainly doesn’t profile there. Dunn is old for a player who debuted this season, but if he can stay at shortstop his power potential could make him an intriguing prospect.
Leonardo Reginatto, 22, was a signee by the Rays out of Brazil back in 2008 and was a hero for the Renegades in the New York-Penn League postseason as he seemed to always come up in the clutch. Over the course of the regular season, though, he mostly struggled, posting a .276/.329/.323 line with 8 doubles, 1 homer, 29 RBI, 8 of 12 stolen bases, and 26 strikeouts versus 16 walks in 65 games and 254 plate appearances. Reginatto is a tap hitter at this point with little plate discipline, and that doesn’t cut it. He does show flashes of solid bat speed and has a chance for gap power, but that has never materialized. He has to find a way to make harder contact to continue progressing in his pro career. Reginatto is fast but doesn’t know how to utilize his speed on the basepaths and he doesn’t bunt well yet. Defensively, Reginatto saw time at third base and shortstop and showed good range and arm strength but he needs to work on his actions. Reginatto’s postseason play inspired some confidence for the future, but he still has a lot of parts of game he needs to work on.
The Renegades’ infielders provided a stable, veteran presence for them all season, but everyone has more potential than you would expect, especially in the power department, and the chance to make a big league impact for the Rays. Shaffer impressed in his pro debut as expected while Coyle stepped up his game, and the Rays are interested to see how everyone will develop.
Part 1 is here.