Rays Prospects

Takeaways From Tampa Bay Rays’ Winter Ball Results Part 2

By Robbie Knopf
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Aug 20, 2013; Ft Myers, FL, USA; Charlotte Stone Crabs third baseman Richie Shaffer (28) is congratulated by teammates after he hit a solo home during the seventh inning against the Fort Myers Miracle at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Maxx Tissenbaum: He’s looking like a big leaguer and just maybe a good one

Tissenbaum, one of the players acquired along with Brad Boxberger and Logan Forsythe in the Alex Torres trade, had a solid first season in the Rays organization. The year actually was a transition period for him in another way as well–2014 also marked his first year as a catcher.

Overall, Tissenbaum hit to a .288/.327/.399 line in 361 plate appearances at High-A Charlotte. Defensively, meanwhile, he played just 36 of his 86 games at catcher, and though he did throw out 43% of attempted basestealers, he also allowed a scary 17 passed balls. Tissenbaum’s bat was a decent enough, but he had a lot of work to do getting up to part defensively as a backstop.

This season in the Australian Baseball League, Tissenbaum has managed to make progress defensively and also hit out of his mind. In 33 games, 32 starts, at catcher, he has reduced his passed balls all the way down to 4. His caught stealing rate also went down to 22.9%, but that is still a respectable number and he can work on that more once he’s more confident blocking balls in the dirt.

At the plate, meanwhile, Tissenbaum has a .340/.410/.562 line with 7 doubles, 9 homers, and 29 RBI in 173 plate appearances. All of the Rays prospects in the ABL have looked good offensively, but Tissenbaum’s slash line and 16-14 strikeout to walk ratio are a cut above all of them. It’s always exciting when you have a catcher that can hit at all, let alone anything like this.

Tissenbaum was an interesting player from the moment the Rays acquired him because he was a solid defensive middle infielder who was learning the catcher position as well. Now that he is hitting, a future as the ultimate utility player–one that can play everywhere, including catcher–is becoming increasingly likely. If Tissenbaum can continue producing at Double-A next season, that future may not be so far away.

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