I don’t believe we’ve ever done an article like this at Rays Colored Glasses, but maybe this will start a trend. The Tampa Bay Rays minor league system saw a few interesting things happen yesterday, and let’s talk about them.
There have now been 15 Rays players suspended for drug suspensions since the start of 2012 season as Steve Geltz became the latest addition. That 15 number is easily the most in baseball, and it isn’t even close–no one else has more than 10 and the MLB average is just 5.4. Geltz, 26, was acquired by the Rays in exchange for Dane De La Rosa in a minor trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in March of 2013. That deal looks pretty foolish right now as De La Rosa had a 2.86 ERA in 75 appearances while Geltz didn’t pitch a big league game and is now gone for 50 games.
Geltz, 26, did pitch in two games with the Angels in 2012 and he has a 3.02 ERA in 83.1 innings pitched at Triple-A Durham. He has struck out 99 batters in that time (10.7 K/9) while walking just 32 (3.5 K/9), but home runs has been his major issue as he has allowed 1.2 per 9 innings. Geltz has good stuff, touching the mid-90’s with his fastball to go along with a good slider, but poor command of both pitches have kept him from being a big league option. Geltz’s suspension was for a drug of abuse, and you have to wonder whether the monotony of Triple-A got to him after he had reached the pinnacle with no signs that he would return soon.
Ironically enough, Steve Geltz’s suspension came the very same day that the 14th Rays player who was suspended, Alex Colome, pitched his first game after his suspension. His “rehab assignment” began for the Charlotte Stone Crabs as he allowed 2 runs on 2 hits in 2 innings of work, striking out 4 while walking 3. He apparently hit 96 MPH on the gun. Everyone has to be shaking their heads about Colome getting busted, but he is still a talented pitcher and the Rays will have to figure out where he fits in. Colome has tossed less than 95 innings the last two years, and the likelihood is that he ends up around there again. Will the Rays keep starting him even though he has not built up innings or could a conversion to relief be coming? If the Rays do elect to pitch him in shorter stints, he could make the big league bullpen and begin his journey to redeem himself.
Another notable player made his season debut on Monday, but this time there was no suspension involved. Jeremy Moore showed impressive power for the Rays in spring training, hitting .276 with a 3 doubles and 3 home runs in 29 at-bats, but an injury of some kind has kept him out for the entire regular season. We can expect to see him in Triple-A Durham before long, but he is starting at Double-A Montgomery, where he went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts in his first game. Moore, formerly a touted prospect in the Angels system, has not been the same since 2012 hip surgery but he has always impressed with his power-speed combination. At the very least, the power is still around. It will be interesting to watch Moore to see if he can get healthy and earn a big league opportunity for the Rays or another team.
Finally, there are always two sides to every story. The Rays have promoted catching prospect Curt Casali to Triple-A, but bringing him up cost Eddy Rodriguez his job as the Rays released him. Rodriguez is a feel good story, going from a perilous defection from Cuba to making the major leagues with the San Diego Padres in 2012. However, Rodriguez managed just a .152/.204/.239 line in 49 plate appearances for the Bulls, and the Rays needed to find some way to make room. Good luck to Rodriguez wherever his career ends up from here.