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Young Tampa Bay Rays hitters making an early and lasting impression

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL SEPTEMBER 9: Brandon Lowe #35 of the Tampa Bay Rays hugs teammate Willy Adames #1 after hitting a three-run home run in the first inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on September 9, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL SEPTEMBER 9: Brandon Lowe #35 of the Tampa Bay Rays hugs teammate Willy Adames #1 after hitting a three-run home run in the first inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on September 9, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) /
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We are only a handful of games into the Spring Training schedule but a handful of young Tampa Bay Rays hitters are impressing at the plate.

The Tampa Bay Rays boast one of the top farm systems in baseball led by top prospects Wander Franco, Brent Honeywell and Brendan McKay. But, a separate group of top prospects and young MLB players are impressing at the plate.

Kevin Cash has already taken notice:

Jesus Sanchez and Christian Arroyo went back to back yesterday. On Sunday, Austin Meadows and Willy Adames, although not prospects, hit bombs and impressed. Brandon Lowe has gotten off to a quick start (4-9) with a pair of doubles. Joe McCarthy who could compete for a roster spot this spring is making his case early with a 3-5 start making loud contact on a regular basis.

Infielders Lucius Fox and Andrew Velasquez have gotten off to 3-6 starts, both scoring 2 runs in the process. Nate Lowe got his first hit of spring yesterday in the form of a sharply hit RBI double.

See what I mean… it is an impressive start!

Yes, it is very early but it is always exciting to see young players and prospects capitalize on opportunities to play.

Baseball America ranked Jesus Sanchez (6th), Brandon Lowe(8th), and Nate Lowe (9th) all in their 2019 “Top-10” Tampa Bay Rays prospects.

The most exciting part is that Wander Franco(1st), Ronaldo Hernandez(4th), Vidal Brujan(7th), and Moises Gomez(10th) aren’t even in big league camp which means that even as some of the prospects mentioned above graduate to the big leagues we will have another crop of young and exciting players to watch in the coming years.

In my opinion, Joe McCarthy is an interesting name to watch this spring as he may compete for the 4th outfield spot with the recently acquired Guillermo Heredia. The only issues are that the Rays love Heredia’s defense and McCarthy hits from the left side, which the Rays don’t necessarily have a need for at the moment.

They might also choose to start him at AAA for some additional and regular at-bats. Regardless, it will be fun to watch him compete and make his case as Opening Day approaches.

Next. What if the Rays actually split with Montreal?. dark

Christian Arroyo is in the same boat as he competes with Duffy and Robertson for reps at third. The kid can hit and he showed it yesterday, but after missing significant time last season the Rays may opt to get him some additional and regular at-bats in Durham to start the season.

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As you can see there are plenty of reasons to be excited for not only 2019 but the years after. Spring Training is a unique opportunity where fans get to witness the future of their club compete alongside the present. Enjoy it while you can Rays fans, it sure is fun.

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