Tampa Bay Rays Mailbag: Examining the Rule 5 Eligibles

By Robbie Knopf
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Oct. 14, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics outfielder Boog Powell plays for the Mesa Solar Sox during an Arizona Fall League game against the Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The next four guys are a step below the top three, but they also look like players that the Rays will keep.

Jacob FariaFaria isn’t the highest-upside pitcher because his fastball command and secondary pitches have a ways to go. Even so, he is 13-3 with a 1.79 ERA and a 115-39 strikeout to walk ratio in 115.2 innings between High-A and Double-A, and he also touches 96 MPH with his heater. Some team would love to stick him in their big league bullpen next season before continuing to develop him as a starter. Instead, the Rays will almost surely add him to their 40-man roster and see how good he can get in their system.

Taylor MotterMotter went unselected in last year’s Rule 5 Draft, but it is hard to believe that the same would be true this year. He has a .311/.367/.483 line with 33 doubles, 9 homers, 55 RBI, and 24 stolen bases at Triple-A Durham while playing all three outfield spots, third base, second base, and shortstop. Motter doesn’t have as much upside as that might suggest–his .272/.338/.412 line against right-handed pitching is less impressive and he is a poor infield defender–but there is little doubt that he could be a useful big league bench guy next year.

Boog PowellPowell drives you crazy because he has little power and isn’t even good at stealing bases. Even so, he is a strong centerfield defender who has a .304/.395/.389 line between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Powell has his limitations, but even so, he is a potential starting centerfielder and table-setter in a big league order. He is unlikely to unseat Kevin Kiermaier as the Rays’ starter in center and doesn’t profile well in left, but the Rays can’t quibble too much about a guy with the ability to make contact, get on base, and play defense.

German MarquezMarquez is the least known player of this first seven, but he is worth learning more about. As a 20 year old at High-A, Marquez has a 3.40 ERA and A 76-26 strikeout to walk ratio in 106 innings. Marquez can get his fastball into the mid-90’s to go along with a great curveball and a solid changeup, and he has enough polish that it isn’t out of the question that he can be a serviceable major league long reliever next year. If the Rays leave him off, they would be daring a team to make him into the next Oscar Hernandez, and we know how that went. We have to believe that they will protect him.

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