Rays Prospects

Tampa Bay Rays MiLB Recap: Call-Up Snubs Shine for Bulls

By Robbie Knopf
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We know about the first batch of September call-ups for the Tampa Bay Rays and the question is who will be next. The (apparently minor) injury to Logan Forsythe has to make us especially cognizant of the Rays’ Triple-A middle infielders, and it was nice to see Ryan Brett and Nick Franklin play well in case they are needed sooner than the end of Durham’s season.

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Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 6, Gwinnett Braves 3

There were a lot of things happening in this game for the Bulls, none more exciting than the performance of Ryan Brett. Brett has endured a rough season, but he entered Tuesday having hit .282 in his previous 137 plate appearances and saw his mark improve for his last 142 PA’s. Brett went 4 for 5 with 2 doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. Too much has been missing for Brett this season–particularly power, plate discipline, and stolen bases–but the positives were that he made his major league debut and learned how to play centerfield. Add in his strong finish to the year, and the Rays are cautiously optimistic that he can help their team next season and maybe just a bit in September.

Nick Franklin is a guy who could be more interesting for right now given his performance in Durham the last few months. Franklin went 1 for 3 with a homer, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored in this game, giving him a .266/.357/.511 line in 213 PA’s. Franklin has had a Matt Moore-esque season, missing the beginning of the year due to injury and struggling mightily after returning to the majors before finally righting himself in a big way at Durham. He obviously won’t be replacing a healthy Forsythe, but he deserves to receive some playing time if Forsythe is out and also gives the Rays another lefty bat off the bench.

Other notable performances came from Jake Elmore, Jose Constanza in his Durham debut, and Cameron Seitzer in his initial Triple-A game. Elmore went 2 for 2 with 2 walks and an RBI while Constanza went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI and Seitzer went 2 for 5. If you are wondering why Elmore is still in Durham, there is a chance that he will be replaced on the 40-man roster but the explanation likely has nothing to do with that.

The Bulls have no catching depth at all with J.P. Arencibia and Luke Maile now both in the major leagues, leaving them with organizational backup Mayo Acosta as their starting catcher. Behind him, they have Wilmer Dominguez on the roster, but Dominguez has played only one game at full-season ball in his career. The Rays couldn’t promote somebody else because both the Montgomery Biscuits and the Charlotte Stone Crabs are set to play in the postseason. With that in mind, it isn’t crazy to think that Elmore will play at least a few innings at catcher before the Triple-A season concludes.

On the mound, Scott Diamond continues to pitch well and hope that the Rays notice. He tossed 7.1 innings in this game giving up 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was an impressive 11-2. The lefty has easily been the Bulls’ best starter that has spent the whole season with the team, but he has been unable to earn big league time between unimpressive velocity, issues missing bats, and struggles against same-side hitters. He has out-pitched Everett Teaford by a wide margin, but Teaford’s ability to retire lefties has given him an edge for call-ups.

Robert Zarate finished the game with a perfect inning with 2 strikeouts as he earned his first professional save (or at least his first in America–stats from the Japanese independent leagues are difficult to find).

Next: Tampa Bay Rays Game 132: Even J.P. Arencibia Can Make an Impact

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