Princeton Rays 2014 Season Preview

With the Princeton Rays about to kick off their 2014 Appalachian League season tonight, it’s time to take a look at their roster. Some intriguing names including several recent high draft picks mark this roster with lots of potential. Let’s take a look at how this roster shakes up.

Pitchers:

Jose Alonzo RHP
Freddy Alvarez RHP
Steve Ascher LHP
Kyle Bird LHP
Damion Carroll RHP
Yonny Chirinos RHP
Rafael Cordova RHP
Mario Fernandez RHP
Hyrum Formo RHP
Trevor Lubking LHP
Greg Maisto LHP
Thomas Michelson RHP
Ruben Paredes RHP
Roel Ramirez RHP

This group has a few names that jump out. Damion Carroll was a 6th round pick by the Rays in the 2012 draft but has pitched sparingly in the GCL the last two seasons. He has good stuff and was a intriguing high school pitcher going into the draft who the Rays would obviously like to see accumulate more innings this year. Roel Ramirez, meanwhile,was an 8th rounder drafted out of high school in last year’s draft who struggled last season with the GCL Rays but presents some nice upside. Finally, Greg Maisto is good projectable left handed pitcher the Rays selected this year who could turn into a good prospect down the line.

Catchers:

Nick Ciuffo (L/R)
Taylor Hawkins (R/R)
Blake Grant-Parks (R/R)

Princeton’s catching group is probably the team’s biggest strength and has tremendous upside. 2013 first rounder Nick Ciuffo is the big name in this group and after a decent season in the GCL last year he’ll be looking to improve upon is strong ability behind the plate. His potential as an above average (offensive and defensively) major league catcher gives him perhaps the highest upside of anyone on this roster. Taylor Hawkins had big time power potential coming out of high school and the Rays took him in the 12th round in 2012, signing him to an above-slot bonus. So far he hasn’t put that power to use in two poor seasons in the GCL but he’ll look to turn it around in his first year in the Appy league.

Infielders:

Carter Burgess 3B (R/R)
Hector Montes 3B (R/R)
Enmanuel Paulino 3B (R/R)
Cristian Toribio SS (R/R)
Riley Unroe SS (S/R)
Nic Wilson 1B (R/R)

The big name in this group is Riley Unroe. The second round pick from last year’s draft had pretty good season for the GCL Rays last year and has the tools to be a plus defender at shortstop or second base and should be able to hit for average. Nic Wilson showed some nice power potential with Georgia State this past college season so the Rays selected him in the 24th round this year. Toribio also had a good season in the GCL last year and could be a name to watch.

Outfielders:

Thomas Milone CF (L/L)
Angel Moreno CF (R/R)
Jose Paez OF (R/R)
Manny Sanchez OF (R/R)

Milone had a pretty poor debut in the GCL but got some time at Hudson Valley late in the season and performed very well in a small sample there. Milone’s calling card is his speed, and that will have to carry him through the system. Jose Paez had a strong season in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2012 but fell flat in his first year in the states playing in the GCL. Finally, Sanchez is a toolsy prospect who is just 18 years old and could be the biggest wild card on the team. It says a lot that the Rays skipped him from the Dominican Summer League all the way to Princeton.

Overall, the Princeton Rays have a nice group with several talented players who have potential to become good prospects over time. Most organizations don’t put much stock in wins and losses at this level, but will focus on development. Hopefully several players from this team will progress this season at Princeton and start grazing the surface of their overall potential.

Tags: Nick Ciuffo Princeton Rays Riley Unroe Thomas Milone