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Tampa Bay Rays have a Plethora of Shortstops

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With a plethora of shortstops throughout the Tampa Bay Rays organization one wonders what to make of the consequences. Only time will tell what happens.

If all goes well, Matt Duffy will be making his debut at shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays against the Yankees this Friday night.

Very few people will notice as that is the night Alex Rodriquez leaves the Yankees. Among those who will notice are the long list of shortstops in the majors and minors that the Tampa Bay Rays have accumulated over the last few years.

Number one on that list is, of course is Brad Miller who played the position for the first 100 games of the season.

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As we remember, Miller came to the Rays from the Seattle Mariners. One of the reasons he was available is that the Mariners didn’t think he could play shortstop.

It took the Rays two thirds of a season to come to the same conclusion. Needless to say, Miller didn’t agree and was not happy.

Miller shouldn’t be too angry. Duffy is a talented infielder who, with Miller now at first base, will only make the Tampa Bay Rays better.

Duffy is under team control through the 2020 season and was the runner up for the National League Rookie of the Year in 2015 while playing third base for the San Francisco Giants. He played shortstop most of his minor league career.

I’m sure Miller wasn’t the only one to take notice of the trade.

Tim Beckham who played shortstop for eight years in the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system is now a solid backup infielder with power and is probably asking why he doesn’t get a shot at the job.

The Rays are now using Beckham all over the infield, including first base, and probably see that job as his role on the team.

And, it doesn’t stop at the Tampa Bay Rays’ bench. At Triple-A Durham, Daniel Robertson and Jake Hager have played a lot of shortstop and have shown talent.

Robertson, the No.10 prospect for the Rays, came over from Oakland in the Ben Zobrist deal. He is a former No.1 draft choice and is having a solid season at Durham. They have played him at short, second and third and may see him as a trade piece.

Hagar is a former No. 25 prospect who has been slowed down by injuries. He’s primarily a shortstop but will most likely make the majors as a utility infielder.

One step down at Double-A Montgomery is a really exciting prospect named Willy Adames. A key piece of the David Price trade, Adames has all star written all over him.

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In 395 at bats this season, he has 9 home runs, 47 RBIs, a .277 batting average and .816 ops. On top of all that, he has a 63/93 walk to strikeout ratio.

In the field, he has good range and a strong arm. He is currently the No.1 shortstop prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays system and will certainly be ready for the majors before Duffy is a free agent.

A few more notches down in the system, a shortstop by the name of Adrian Rondon is lighting it up at short season Princeton.

Signed in 2014, Rondon is only 18-years of age. He struggled last year but has broken out this season with 7 home runs, 35 RBIs and a.285 batting average in 144 at bats.

He plays well in the field and has a strong arm. As he is still growing, he may end up at third or first base. He is the No. 14 prospect in the Rays system and is sure to be ranked higher next year.

Another player scheduled to play in short season is Lucius Fox. He came over in the Moore/Duffy trade. Yes, they added another shortstop!

He is  a Bahamian prospect with great upside. He is currently injured and it will be hard to track his progress. Currently the No. 7 Rays’ prospect, he has speed to burn and may end up as a center fielder.

Jake Cronenworth, Taylor Motter and Andrew Velazquez are three more players are, or have been, on the lower end of the Tampa Bay Rays Top 30 prospect list.

Cronenworth has played both second and shortstop at A-ball. He’s a solid hitter. Motter is being groomed as a Ben Zobrist type utility guy and has logged time at shortstop. Velazquez has played mostly shortstop but has been injured a lot.

Take away the shortstops at the major league level and the Tampa Bay Rays Rays still have eight shortstops that have major league potential.

What do you do with all of them? Well, it is said that if you can play shortstop, you can play anywhere. Mickey Mantle started as a shortstop for the New York Yankees.

As the entire infield for the Tampa Bay Rays is locked up or under control for the next two to five years, position shifts are probably in the cards for many of these players.

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It’s tough to predict actually what is going to happen with this plethora of talent. It would seem that Adames and Rondon are untouchable and the Tampa Bay Rays will have to figure out how to get them into the lineup when their time comes.

Robertson looks like he will either replace Beckham or be traded, Fox will probably move to the outfield.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Catching Situation Just Gets Worse

How the rest fit in remains to be seen. However, it’s a nice problem to have and let’s hope the Tampa Bay Rays handle it wisely.

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