Tampa Bay Rays: Intriguing Names Invited to Spring Training
By Seth Carter
The Tampa Bay Rays have 62 players on their Spring Training roster after the last round of invitations. We’ll run down the list of players who received an invitation and a closer look at a couple of intriguing names.
According to MLB.com, the Tampa Bay Rays have invited the following minor league players from within their own organization to 2020’s spring training:
- Paul Campbell – P
- Dylan Cozens – OF
- Josh Fleming – P
- Tristian Gray – IF
- Dalton Kelly 1B/OF
- Miles Mastrobuoni IF/OF
- Shane McClanahan – P
- Sam McWilliams – P
- Joe Ryan – P
- Phoenix Sanders – P
- Ryan Sherriff – P
- Brett Sullivan – C/OF
- Ryan Thompson – P
- Taylor Walls – IF
- Tyler Zombro – P
In addition to these 15 players, the Rays signed pitchers, Dylan Covey and John Curtiss to minor league contracts with an invitation to spring. The Rays also re-signed OF Johnny Davis.
Let’s take a look at some of the more notable names.
Joe Ryan is the reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the Rays. He was promoted all the way to AA-Montgomery last year in his first full season. Ryan ranked as Baseball America’s 98th prospect in all of baseball this offseason.
Ryan has a career ERA of 2.36 and profiles as a strikeout machine with 234 Ks in just 160 innings. Tampa Bay currently has depth at starting pitching but they also have a lot of talent bubbling up in the minors. If anyone at the back end of the rotation falters or suffers an injury, the Rays want to make sure they get a good look at some of their top arms in the system and Ryan is one of the best they have.
Similar to Ryan, Shane McClanahan’s first full season with the organization was last year. And like Ryan, McClanahan was promoted all the way up to AA-Montgomery. McClanahan opened last season up as Baseball America’s 99th ranked prospect, this year he is 83rd.
Our own Austin Reimann of Rays’ Colored Glasses recently interviewed about his journey back from Tommy John surgery, which can be found at the link below.
"Ryan Sherriff’s journey: Rays reliever talks comeback and recovery"
Sherriff will be 30 in May and has made a total of 18 appearances in the big leagues. Over his 20 innings pitched he’s posted a 4.05 ERA. If you’ve seen his Twitter then you know he has a nasty two-seamer.
Sherriff has achieved all he has needed to in the minor leagues over nine seasons. For his career, he has posted a 3.04 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, and walked only 2.3 batters per nine. When the Rays signed him to a three-year contract at the end of 2018, they saw a left-handed pitcher that they believed could help the bullpen.
Sherriff will have an opportunity to contribute to what was the best bullpen in Major League Baseball last season.
Dylan Cozens was a prodigious power hitter in the minor leagues. In 2016, he led all of the minors with a phenomenal 40 homers and 125 RBI in just 134 games at AA-Reading.
Cozens has struggled with strikeouts, exceeding 180 Ks in two of his past three seasons. For his minor league career, he has slashed .252/.329/.473. He has struck out 895 times in 3068 plate appearances. That puts his minor league K-rate at a whopping 29%.
The power he brings to the table is always intriguing.
Which names on this list intrigue you the most?