Rays Notes: Rays Announce Invitees to MLB Spring Training Including Top Prospect Wil Myers


Pitchers and catchers report in just one week and everyone else not too long after. Spring training is so close. And now we finally have an idea of who is going to be there. The Rays announced on Monday that they were inviting seven more minor leaguers to spring training, and one of them Rays fans are quite familiar with: the prize of the James Shields trade earlier this offseason, Wil Myers. The highly-touted 22 year old outfielder is looking to break into the major leagues, and that will start this spring training in big league camp. Seeing Myers alongside Rays mainstays like Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist will be a glimpse of the future of the Rays. But Myers won’t be the only player to watch in spring training for the Rays. Here’s their entire 64-man spring training roster by position, courtesy of Marc Topkin (non-roster invitees are noted with an “NR”).

Pitchers (34):
RHP Chris Archer
RHP Matt Buschmann (NR)
RHP Alex Cobb
RHP Alex Colome
RHP Dane De La Rosa
LHP Frank De Los Santos
RHP Marquis Fleming (NR)
RHP Brandon Gomes
RHP Jeremy Hellickson
RHP Roberto Hernandez
RHP Will Inman (NR)
LHP Adam Liberatore (NR)
RHP Josh Lueke
RHP J.D. Martin (NR)
LHP Jake McGee
LHP Mike Montgomery
LHP Matt Moore
RHP Matt Nevarez (NR)
RHP Jeff Niemann
RHP Jake Odorizzi
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (NR)
RHP Jim Paduch (NR)
LHP Jim Patterson (NR)
RHP Joel Peralta
LHP David Price
LHP Cesar Ramos
LHP Felipe Rivero
RHP Fernando Rodney
LHP Enny Romero
RHP Juan Sandoval (NR)
LHP Neil Schenk (NR)
LHP Alexander Torres
RHP Jamie Wright (NR)
RHP Kirby Yates (NR)

Catchers (7):
Craig Albernaz (NR)
Robinson Chirinos
Chris Gimenez
Jose Lobaton
Jose Molina
Mark Thomas (NR)
Stephen Vogt

Infielders (14):
1B/OF Leslie Anderson (NR)
2B Tim Beckham
SS Reid Brignac
SS Yunel Escobar
2B/3B Cole Figueroa (NR)
UTIL Mike Fontenot (NR)
UTIL Elliot Johnson
SS Hak-Ju Lee
1B James Loney
3B Evan Longoria
UTIL Shawn O’Malley (NR)
2B/3B Ryan Roberts
UTIL Sean Rodriguez
1B/OF Nick Weglarz (NR)

Outfielders (9):
OF Jason Bougeois (NR)
OF/1B Shelley Duncan (NR)
OF Sam Fuld
RF/LF Brandon Guyer
CF Desmond Jennings
RF/LF Matt Joyce
RF Wil Myers (NR)
LF/RF Rich Thompson (NR)
UTIL Ben Zobrist

That 64-man roster is not final- note that Kyle Farnsworth, Luke Scott, and Kelly Johnson all don’t appear- but it gives us a pretty good idea of who we’ll in spring training, including several interesting names. We’ve discussed almost all the non-roster invitees elsewhere (feel free to search away in the search box on the upper right-hand corner of the page), but let’s run through several that we have not discussed too much previously.

Matt Nevarez, who will turn 26 later in February, was once traded for Ivan Rodriguez and used to be a solid relief prospect for the Houston Astros before injuries derailed his career. But he recovered to dominate at Independent ball before the Rays signed him and continued blowing away hitters as he moved up from High-A to Double-A. Overall on the season, Nevarez managed a 2.22 ERA, a 13.7 K/9, a 3.0 BB/9, and a 0.8 HR/9 in 37 relief appearances. Nevarez throws a fastball in the low-to-mid-90’s along with a sharp slider and solid changeup, and if he can continue to stay healthy, he could wind up being a real find for the Rays out of Independent ball.

Jim Paduch, 30, was once a promising prospect for the Cincinnati Reds before his career fell apart and he also ended up in Independent ball. After staying in unaffiliated ball for four years, the Rays signed him prior to 2011 and he has spent the last two years primarily with their Triple-A Durham affiliate, going 6-12 in 2012 with a 5.48 ERA, a 5.6 K/9, a 3.2 BB/9, and a 1.0 HR/9 in 22 starts, 7 relief appearances, and 120 innings pitched. The Rays rewarded Paduch for his continued perseverance with his first invite to major league camp. Paduch throws a fastball in the high-80’s, touching 90 MPH, along with a solid changeup and a breaking ball, Paduch did get better results against right-handed batters compared to lefties, and despite Paduch being a starter his entire career, a conversion to relief to see if he can better results could be in the cards.

Neil Schenk, 26, is a lefty reliever coming off a good year at Double-A, going 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA, a 6.2 K/9, a 3.0 BB/9, and a 1.0 HR/9 in 42 relief appearances and 60.2 innings pitched. He held lefties to a .713 OPS with a 52.6% groundball rate and he will look to play a lefty specialist role in the major leagues with a deceptive delivery, a high-80’s fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.

Jim Patterson, who will turn 24 in a few days, is another lefty coming off a great season primarily at High-A, going 8-4 with a 2.70 ERA, a 5.8 K/9, a 2.0 BB/9, and a 0.4 HR/9 in 39 appearances and 80 innings pitched. Lefties managed just a .595 OPS, but then again, righties were at just .553. Patterson has gotten excellent results since his first day as a pro with great control, a high-80’s fastball with great late life, and a good slider, and although he played just a game each at Double-A and Triple-A, he could see time at both of those levels in 2012 and maybe even taste the major leagues.

Finally, Cole Figueroa, 25, is a sleeper prospect acquired by the Rays in the Jason Bartlett trade. Figueroa had a nice season between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, managing a .292/.362/.413 line with 23 doubles, 5 triples, 5 homers, 54 RBI, and 43 walks compared to 31 strikeouts in 113 games and 452 plate appearances. Figueroa doesn’t have much power or speed, but he has a compact stroke, great plate discipline, and good defense abilities at third base and second base, and he has the ability to be a good utility infielder in the major leagues, and that might happen as soon as 2013.

Overall, the Rays have a lot of talent coming to their camp, as usual, but we also see that they’re giving quite a few players chances to compete for their open spots: a couple of bullpen spots, a right-handed hitting first baseman, the backup catcher behind Jose Molina, and a utility spot or two. The ability is there for the Rays to make a run to the postseason in 2013- but first to have to figure out who exactly are the players that will lead them there. With several positions up in the air, expect a spring training with plenty of competition as veterans not coming off their best seasons look to reestablish themselves, non-roster invitees hope to impress, and young players strive to prove themselves and defy the odds by making the Rays’ Opening Day roster.