Rays Roundup: Luke Scott’s Slump, Joel Peralta, Draft Signings

By Robbie Knopf

“Rays Notes” was a pretty generic name used by other outlets, so here at RCG we’re changing the name of our news pieces to the marginally more original “Rays Roundup.” It’s doubtful that the change will affect your lives too much, but even if it does I’m sure you’ll be OK. Now, back to the Rays.

Luke Scott has driven himself to the brink of release with a terrible slump, going 7 for his last 55 (.127). Joe Maddon talked about what may be happening with Scott.

"“He’s a little bit of a Mr. Goodwrench. He’ll over-analyze sometimes, and that can get in the way at some point. I would just prefer that he goes out there and throws caution to the wind as opposed to his normal personality. Something like that, I think, might help. Just let it go a little bit. Let it rip.”"

Scott is smarter than we give him credit for–his extreme right-wing tendencies and love of hunting have nothing to do with that–and that might be what’s costing him here. Chris Archer is another player known for overanalyzing at times, and he described it like this when I interviewed him in January.

"“It caused me to try to be too fine- I would try too hard to hit corners and I wouldn’t think about each individual pitch as its own. I would be thinking ahead and then I would fall behind, which in turn led to some struggles.”"

We can have a whole other discussion about Archer, but in this case Scott may be getting in trouble because he’s not just thinking about one hit but more “I’ll get this hit and then I’ll get another one and then I’ll go on a hot streak” and he’s just building the pressure upon himself even more in the process. Hopefully Scott can clear his head and find a way to get back to the player the Rays know he can be. The question, though, will be whether he’s too late.

So far in 2013, Joel Peralta has made 35 relief appearances, most in the American League and second to Brad Ziegler of the Diamondbacks in all of baseball. But instead of describing it as overuse, Peralta loves pitching on such a regular basis.

"“I like to pitch the way I am right now,” Peralta said. “It’s been like that the whole time. The more I pitch — with a little rest — the better I am.”"

Peralta isn’t nearly as much of a hard-thrower as most relievers–his fastball tops out at 90-91 MPH and he works primarily with his splitter and curveball. Since he’s not rearing back for velocity, Peralta can pitch much more often without risking injury and pitching more may actually help him get a better feel for his pitches, something that only makes him better. Joe Maddon has to make sure that he doesn’t push Peralta beyond his limit. But as long as that doesn’t happen, the Rays can book Peralta for 80 solid relief appearances a year and know he’ll be among the most dependable pitchers in their bullpen. That’s exactly why the Rays have options on Peralta through 2017.

Finally, the Rays have made several draft signings. After agreeing to terms with 8th rounder Roel Ramirez, the Rays have now signed 2nd rounder Riley Unroe, 5th round Johnny Field, 21st rounder John Farrell, 25th rounder Stone Speer, 27th rounder Hyrum Forno, 28th rounder Derek Lorea, and 30th rounder Colton Reavis. Analysis on the Rays’ first 14 picks is here on our Rays 2013 Draft Profiles page, and we’ll continue updating it with the Rays’ remaining 27 picks.