Tampa Bay Rays MiLB Recap: Kewby Meyer Drives in 3
It was a rainy day in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system, so we are left with only two games to discuss. Let’s get to them.
Triple-A International League: Gwinnett Braves 5, Durham Bulls 0
The Bulls ran into Braves top pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins in this game, and it didn’t go well. Jenkins tossed 8 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. At least Luke Maile finished the game 1 for 2 with a double and a walk while Taylor Motter went 1 for 3–there you have it, the Bulls’ offense. Maile wasn’t as flashy as Casali, but it is nice to see both of them playing well. Maile has 8 doubles in 64 games this season, and 5 of them have come in his last 10 games.
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On the pitching side, Bradin Hagens looked good in his start, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits in 5 innings. He neither struck out a batter nor issued a walk (first time we have said that in a while), but he did force a 9-4 groundout to flyout ratio. Hagens ended up in Durham thanks to the Bulls’ major issues with depth (that mostly have to do with injuries and the Rays promoting players) and has seized the opportunity, delivering a 3.10 ERA and a 30-8 strikeout to walk ratio in 29 innings. Hagens appeared in 2 games in the majors with the D-Backs last season, and he has the cutter to be a solid depth piece for the Rays. Andrew Bellatti had a rough game behind him, allowing 4 runs in 2.1 innings.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 7, Bluefield Blue Jays 6
I really don’t like the team name “Bluefield Blue Jays.” Doesn’t it sound redundant? Why aren’t they just the “Bluefield Jays?” In any event, that is the conclusion of my rant.
Offense is always fun and the P-Rays managed to deliver quite a bit of it in this game. They were down 4-0 at one point, but Kewby Meyer got them on the board with a 3-run double. He finished 1 for 3 to leave his line at .306/.358/.480 in 107 plate appearances thus far in his professional debut. Meyer, 22, was an outfielder at BYU, but he has wound up at first base in Princeton. That isn’t all a reflection on his defense, though, as the P-Rays have three strong defensive outfielders in Landon Cray, Zacrey Law, and Angel Perez.
More importantly, Meyer wasn’t drafted for his defense. He is advanced pure hitter with decent power and plate discipline, and the Rays think that he at least has a chance to hit enough to make the major leagues. He is also known for an even-keeled demeanor that helps him avoid slumps. Meyer’s performance as a 22 year old at Rookie ball tells us just about nothing, but he was supposed to be Princeton’s best hitter and that’s exactly what he is. We will start learning more about him once he reaches full-season ball.
Middle infielder Bill Pujols, who just turned 21, had an even bigger game, going 3 for 3 with a walk, 2 RBI, and a run scored. His 2-run single gave Princeton a 7-5 lead entering the top of the ninth. Pujols has some defensive chops and decent plate discipline, but we’ll have to see if he ever learns to hit the ball with authority. Blair Beck also went 1 for 2 with a walk and 2 runs scored while Cray went 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. Cray has a .250/.372/.365 line to start his pro career.
On the mound, Brock Burke allowed 4 runs, 3 earned, on 7 hits in 5 innings, but other aspects of his start remained very good. He struck out 4 while walking none and forced an 8-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Alberto Casanas then allowed 2 runs in 3 innings before Armando Bastardo earned the save with a perfect ninth.
Next: Tampa Bay Rays Game 101: Casali, Karns Quite a Battery