March 7, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Jake Elmore (15) throws to first to complete an out as Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Gerardo Parra (8) slides into second in the fourth inning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Elmore is one of the more fascinating invitees in camp. In his brief major league career, he has played all nine positions on the field. He hasn’t hit much with a career .221/.288/.291 slash line in 221 plate appearances. Of course, the sample is limited as he has played parts of three seasons with three different teams and only logged 12 major league plate appearances in 2014.
In the Rays’ dreams, Elmore turns into the next Ben Zobrist. Zobrist didn’t hit either in his first 303 MLB plate appearances, hitting to just a .200/.234/.275 line before returning as a dynamic super-utility player. While the chances of Elmore following suit are quite low, he has surprisingly strong Triple-A numbers, hitting to a .313/.407/.422 line with especially good performance against left-handed pitching. Elmore also hit lefties well in his stint with the Houston Astros in 2013.
Working against Elmore is that he is a natural second baseman whose defense at shortstop has never been great. There is plenty of reason to believe that he will be at Triple-A Durham to begin the season. However, the Rays signed him wondering if they were getting a sleeper and we will have to see if he can work his way into big league consideration at some point.