Garvin really stepped up his game as a junior for Vandy. (Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE)

Rays Winter Ball Recap: Grayson Garvin K’s 7 in 5 Strong Innings


Over the course of the Arizona Fall League season, Grayson Garvin has shown potential, but he has also been extremely inconsistent, pitching to a 4.64 ERA in his first five starts. It is starts like Saturday’s, though, that give you a little more confidence that the ex-Vandy lefty could be a real factor for the Rays before too long.

Arizona Fall League: Salt River Rafters 7, Peoria Javelinas 2

The top of the first inning saw Garvin strike out two and record the third out on a weak groundball. The rest of the game did not go quite as smoothly, but Garvin showcased power stuff all night as he struck out two in three different innings on his way to five solid frames. Garvin went 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, striking out 7 while walking just 1. He threw 72 pitches, 50 strikes, and forced a 4-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Garvin made his mistakes in this game, allowing a trio of extra-base hits, but he didn’t let anything rattle him as he kept it together to depart with a 4-2 lead. Garvin had shown good results at the start of games before coming apart later on. Garvin allowed a pair of runs, but this time he kept it together to deliver an outing he will be able to build off of next time out. Garvin’s catcher was fellow Rays prospect Luke Maile, who went 1 for 3 with a walk at the plate.

Dominican Winter League: Gigantes del Cibao 10, Tigres del Licey 1

The Gigantes brought in three straight ex-Rays relievers to finish off the game, and overall, they received strong results. Sergio Espinosa struck out 1 in a perfect 7th, and after Jhonny Nunez allowed a hit, a walk, and a run in the 8th, Ramon Ramirez had a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th with 2 strikeouts to finish off the game. One bad outing has Ramirez’s ERA at 4.26, but he has struck out 6 while walking just 1 in 6.2 innings pitched as he hopes to generate interest from big league organizations for next season.

Mexican Pacific League: Aguilas de Mexicali 14, Tomateros de Culiacán 3

Russell Branyan went 0 for 14 for the Estrellas de Oriente in the Dominican Winter League before getting cut. Those are the types of struggles the strikeout-prone slugger Branyan has been prone to, especially as he has aged. Games like this one are why teams desired his services for so long nevertheless. Branyan went 3 for 5 with 2 homers, 5 RBI, a walk, and 3 runs scored. The homers were Branyan’s first of the winter, but if he gets hot plenty more are on the way. Humberto Cota went 1 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss for the Tomateros.

Venados de Mazatlán 12, Naranjeros de Hermosillo 3

Henry Mateo had a strong game out of the leadoff spot to help ignite the Venados, going 2 for 5 with a double, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored. Mateo led off the game with a single and the Venados never looked back. Mateo is hitting out of his mind, hitting in his last 8 games including multi-hit efforts in 7 of those 8, as he has upped his average up to .324 on the year. Mateo was also, for some reason, not stealing bases despite stealing 20 or more each of the last eight years, but now he’s finally starting to rectify that as well, stealing a base in his last two games.

Yaquis de Obregón 4, Mayos de Navojoa 3

Wes Bankston had a solid game and Jon Weber had an RBI, but it was enough to lead Navojoa over the Yaquis. Bankston went 2 for 4 while Weber went 0 for 3 with a walk and a sac fly. Bankston extended his hitting streak to 4, including multi-hit games in the last 3, while Weber fell back down to earth after consecutive 4-hit performances. Overall, the Mayos have to be ecstatic about the production they have received from the two ex-Rays minor leaguers in the middle of their order.

Venezuelan Winter League: Tiburones de La Guaira 13, Bravos de Margarita 3

Cesar Suarez began the season as the Tiburones three-hole hitter, but struggles dropped him all the way down to the 7th spot for this game. The Tiburones may have to rethink that after just how good he was. Suarez went 2 for 5 with a homer and 5 RBI, delivering a grand slam in the first inning that set the tone for the game. The homer was his first of the winter while the RBIs nearly doubled his total of 6 prior to the game, and Suarez has to hope it’s only the start.

Caribes de Anzoátegui 7, Aguilas del Zuilia 3

It is finally over. Leslie Anderson went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts, ending his 16-game hitting streak. The question now is where he goes from here. Anderson has gone on hot streaks before, but right when you thought that he was so good that the Rays would have to give him consideration, he’d fall into a major slump and show everyone why the Rays never deemed him worthy of a chance. Is this game going to be outlier in an unbelievable season, it will it be the start of another collapse?

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Tags: Cesar Suarez Grayson Garvin Henry Mateo Leslie Anderson Russell Branyan Tampa Bay Rays