In 1963, the Houston Colt .45’s started a lineup of all rookies. Could the Tampa Bay Rays repeat that feat this year?
Without a doubt, this is a young and promising Tampa Bay Rays team. The play of their rookies night in and night out represent the future of the team. Picture a starting lineup of nine rookies taking the field. Better yet, against the rough and tough Red Sox or Yankees. And winning.
The Rays are not far from being able to do this. The lineup could look something like this:
- Joey Wendle – LF
- Willy Adames – SS
- Jake Bauers – 1B
- Austin Meadows – CF
- Brandon Lowe – 2B
- Nathaniel Lowe – DH
- Christian Arroyo – 3B
- Kean Wong – RF
- Michael Perez – C
P – Ryan Yarbrough / Yonny Chirinos
Obviously, a couple of my selections are a bit of a stretch. But, the Rays will not be far off from doing this by the end of the season. Five of the nine position players are in the lineup regularly already. Putting this lineup on the field will take a little work, but by the end of the season, seems plausible.
Austin Meadows joining the lineup is only a matter of when. Chances it will be days and not weeks. Christian Arroyo would also seem like an automatic when the rosters expand, if not before. That leaves Nathaniel Lowe and Kean Wong.
Most of the lineup is easy to fill. Only a small amount of creativity is needed.
Wong has earned the chance. He’s having a very good season in Durham, slashing .309/.371/.451 while spending time at 2B, 3B and outfield positions. Nate Lowe rounds out the group, and what fitting end to the season it would be for him. After starting the season at high-A Charlotte, he has ascended all the way to Durham without missing a beat. If nothing else, it would be fun to see his 24 home runs and .352 batting average in the Rays lineup at least once this season.
Of course, the Rays have never been a team to start the big league clock ticking too early on up and coming prospects. But, in this lineup, only Nate Lowe would be the risk. Wong hasn’t made his big league debut yet, but I don’t think there’s worry about starting the service time too early on him.
Heck, if the Rays wanted to flirt with the future even more, they could go grab Jesus Sanchez off the Montgomery roster and throw him in place of Wong. After all, he near the top of just about everybody’s Rays prospects lists. He’s most likely not ready yet, so I don’t see that happening.
This team could compete today. How much fun would it be to see them knock off a playoff contender as the season winds down? It sure would help head this team into an off-season of optimism.