Tampa Bay Rays Mailbag: Examining the Rule 5 Eligibles

By Robbie Knopf
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Mar 22, 2015; Dunedin, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays infielder Richie Shaffer (18) works out prior to the spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Locks:

Blake SnellSnell has been one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues this season, going 10-3 with a 1.28 ERA and a 119-42 strikeout to walk ratio in 98.2 innings between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He is just about big league-ready, enough so that he could be a September weapon like David Price in 2008 and Matt Moore in 2011. His control still isn’t great (3.8 BB/9), but it keeps improving and it is good enough at this point. With a fastball reaching the mid-90’s, a plus curveball, and a changeup that isn’t much worse, he should be a good big league starter and just maybe a great one.

More from Rays Colored Glasses

Richie ShafferShaffer has a .261/.357/.538 line with 21 doubles, 23 homers, and 59 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He still has major contact issues (27.7% K%), and he enough holes in his swing that he will keep striking out even with improved pitch recognition–he’ll probably never be a high-average guy–but he draws walks and hits for power, giving him a chance to be a regular at first base or in a corner outfield spot. He has enough questions that he isn’t a top-100 prospect, but he is still worth protecting. We will also likely see him in September.

UPDATE: Shaffer just got promoted.

Taylor GuerrieriGuerrieri has come back from Tommy John Surgery as well as anyone could have hoped to this point. He put up a 2.12 ERA and a 44-11 strikeout to walk ratio in 42 High-A innings on a strict innings limit before getting hit hard in his first Double-A start. Guerrieri shows tremendous control and command of his arsenal, which consists of a fastball in the 90 to 94 MPH range, a curveball, and a changeup. He has shown enough after surgery that his previous promise remains within reach, and the Rays certainly won’t let him get away.

Next: Other Likely Additions