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Five Non-Roster Contenders for Tampa Bay Rays’ Roster

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March 27, 2013; Sarasota, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Bobby Wilson (45) hits a RBI single during the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bobby Wilson

Right now, Wilson looks like the heavy favorite to win the Rays’ backup catching spot. Curt Casali is his only really competition and could replace him before the year is through, but Casali needs more work at Triple-A.

Before coming to the Rays, Wilson had an undistinguished career as a backup catcher for the Los Angles Angels of Anaheim. In five years, he logged 447 plate appearances as an Angel. They released him in 2012 and he has only posted 4 major league at bats in the past two years. He stood out for his pitch-framing and a .241/.313/.451 slash line against lefties, but he was a disaster against right-handed pitching and wasn’t anything special at throwing out attempted basestealers.

The Rays would love for Wilson to be decent enough to be their second catcher to begin the season. With both Casali and Luke Maile having the ability to crack the big leagues before the year is through, the Rays simply need a stopgap for a few months and hope that Wilson can provide that. Otherwise, they may need to make a deal for another catcher.

Assuming he does make the team, Wilson will start at catcher around every five days for the Rays, with a disproportionate amount of his playing time coming against left-handed pitching. Considering Rene Rivera also hits lefties very well (and John Jaso doesn’t hit them at all), don’t be surprised if Rivera ends up at DH for some of Wilson’s starts.

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