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Tampa Bay Rays: Prospects Look For a Roster Spot

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The Tampa Bay Rays have a talented group of minor league prospects hoping to land on the 40-man roster, bringing them a step closer to their goal of playing in the majors.

It’s a long climb up the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system to get to Triple-Durham. Once you are there, the next big step is a spot on the Rays’ forty-man roster.

Only a few make the big league roster and not all of those players end up in the majors. This season only Jacob Faria, Dylan Floro, Ryan Brett, Taylor Motter, Richie Shaffer and Mikie Mahtook have reached Triple-A and are on the forty-man roster.

Floro, Motter Shaffer and Mahtook spent some time with the Rays this year. Faria spent half of the year at Double-A and Brett has been out all year with an injury.

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Then there is a small group of prospects that spent all or part of the year at Durham but are not on the major league roster.

They all have talent and may soon make the big league roster and help the Tampa Bay Rays. Let’s find out who they are and how they might help the Rays in the future.

Jaime Schultz: Schultz is an absolute strikeout machine finishing third in the minor leagues in strikeouts. His season total included a 5-7 record, a 3.58 ERA and 163 strikeouts to 68 walks ratio in 130 innings.

He has a fastball the hits 99 mph and a sharp breaking ball. Command is his issue and that may make him a front end bullpen guy. He is the #12 prospect in the system.

Austin Pruitt: Pruitt is not a top thirty prospect but he’s a strikeout guy with command. His record was 8-11, a 3.76 ERA and 149 strikeouts to only 27 walks in 162 innings.

Pruitt doesn’t have a lot of velocity but has a wicked curve ball and induces a ton of ground balls, as well he could be a solid performer in the middle of the Rays’ bullpen.

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Ryne Stanek: Is a college guy out of Arkansas and has been a puzzle since he was drafted in the 1st round in 2013. However, Stanek has shown enough that he is now the #11 Rays prospect.

This season he posted a record of 4-10, a 4.30 ERA and 113 strikeouts to 48 walks ratio in 102 innings at Double-A and Triple-A.

Stanek has a 94 mph fastball plus an excellent slider and a change-up. But he has some issues with his command and health.

If those issues can be resolved, he should match up nicely with the Rays current set of back end relievers.

Casey Gillaspie: Gillaspie has flown through the Rays system going from short season ball to Triple-A in three seasons. A former number one pick in 2014, Gillaspie is the #9 prospect in the organization.

In 2016, he posted a .284/.388/.479 slash line with 18 home runs and 64 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A.

A switch hitter that has good power from both sides, as well can hit hit for average. He’s a good fielder but first base is his only position.

Gillaspie will probably be the Rays’ first baseman in 2019.

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Daniel Robertson: A former 1st round draft choice of the Oakland A’s, Robertson was an integral part of the Ben Zobrist trade.

He’s shortstop by trade, but has played second and third for Durham this year. Robertson had a solid year with the bat recording a .259/.358/.356 slash line with 5 home runs and 43 RBI.

Robertson knows how to work the count and drive the ball up the middle. Currently the #10 Rays prospect, he’ll probably start out with the Tampa Bay Rays as a utility infielder.

It certainly is nice for the Tampa Bay Rays to have second level of Triple-A talent beyond the players on the forty-man roster.

All five of them had good 2016 seasons at Durham.

How quickly they are promoted to the big league roster depends on how ready they are for the major leagues and whether they are eligible for this year’s rule 5 draft.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Set New Single-Season Home Run Record

However, we should expect to see all of them in a major league uniform by 2018.

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