Rays Notes: Shaffer Debuts, Mahtook and Glaesmann Promoted, Kazmir Interviewed

By Robbie Knopf

Big moment for Rays 2012 first round pick Richie Shaffer on Monday as he made his professional debut, going 1 for 3. Shaffer’s debut was nice, but the entire game was unbelievable as the Renegades rallied from an 8-0 deficit to win 9-8. More on that game as part of our Rays minor league recap.

In other minor league news, the second first rounder that the Rays selected in 2011, Mikie Mahtook, has been promoted from High-A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery, per Stacey Long. Mahtook, 22, posted a .290/.358/.419 line for the Stone Crabs with 15 doubles, 7 triples, 5 homers, 37 RBI, and 19 of 25 stolen bases. Mahtook was a player that the Rays really wanted to fast-track this season, and even though Mahtook got off to a slow start, he eventually was able to earn his promotion.

Promoted from Low-A Bowling Green to High-A Charlotte in a corresponding move was 21 year old outfielder Todd Glaesmann, who had himself a nice run for the Hot Rods, posting a .281/.338/.469 line with 17 doubles, 5 triples, 13 homers, 53 RBI, and 8 of 11 steals. Glaesmann, the Rays’ third round pick in 2009, needs a lot of work on his patience- he has struck out 89 times in 2012 versus 22 walks, but his power-speed combination makes him an interesting prospect.

One last Rays minor league note is that the Rays have signed RHP Matt Nevarez from independent Wichita Wingnuts and assigned him to Charlotte. Nevarez is a little more interesting than your average independent ball signee as he’s just 25 and was a 10th round pick by the Texas Rangers in 2005 and later traded to the Houston Astros in exchange for Ivan Rodriguez. Nevarez was unhittable for Wichita, striking out 45 in 26.1 innings, a 15.4 K/9 ratio. Nevarez throws a mid-90’s fastball to go along with a solid slider, although he struggles to control his pitches. Nevarez is a long-shot, but he’s another upside play for the Rays and at no risk at all, they’re getting a player with some chance of being a big league bullpen arm.

And finally, there was a very interesting interview that MyCentralJersey.com’s Ryan Dunleavy did with former Rays ace Scott Kazmir in which Kazmir talked about his return to pro baseball with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters among other baseball-related topics past and present. Here’s a brief snippet.

"PP: You came up with the Rays when they were still building themselves into a playoff contender. Do you wonder if things would have been different now if you weren’t in the majors at such a young age (20).SK: “I feel like everything happens for a reason. To get the experience at a young age was definitely beneficial for me. Who knows (what would have happened) if I had been in the minors a little bit longer to sharpen my skills. No regrets.”"

Despite everything, Kazmir still has that same attitude. The link to the full interview is here and it’s worth your time to give it a look.