There are certain types of players that the Rays seemingly cycle through over and over again. You have the hard-throwing relievers who can’t find the strike zone before they arrive. You have the first basemen with great defense but little power. You have the super-utility players who Joe Maddon is excited to use all over the field–and as was the case with Kelly Johnson, sometimes you come to town playing one position and head to your next team playing four. Then in the draft, one type of player the Rays are constantly drafting is scrappy second basemen, especially those who hit from the left side. In recent years, we have seen them select Tyler Bortnick, Taylor Motter, Thomas Coyle, and Ty Young, just to name a few. And in their recent Alex Torres trade, the Rays got ahold of yet another, Maxx Tissenbaum, and he may stand out the most of any of them.
In 2013 at Low-A Fort Wayne, Tissenbaum hit to a .277/.365/.359 line with 28 doubles, 2 homers, 49 RBI, 4 stolen bases, and a 36-43 strikeout to walk ratio in 111 games and 490 plate appearances. He saw time at second base and shortstop, and he even saw some time at third base and first base in his pro debut in 2012. Andrew Friedman praised him for his bat-to-ball skills, and he also features excellent plate discipline and hits lefty pitching extremely well as a left-handed batter. Then there is his intangibles. The day Tissenbaum heard about the trade, we was working, and even though thousands of messages were coming into his phone, he kept working because he did not want to let his company down. Can you find a better example of a team player than that? Then, there is the last piece of his versatility, his ability to catch. The San Diego Padres had Tissenbaum work at catcher in instructional league, and if he can successful add that to his repertoire of positions, suddenly he could be a very valuable player. Tissenbaum just finished the season at Low-A, but the Rays pinpointed him as a player they can’t get enough of and are excited to see what he can do in their system. Tissenbaum may belong in the category with Bortnick, Coyle, and everybody else, but at the end of the day, he could be a step above.