Tampa Bay Rays: 60 games in 66 days on short notice will provide ample opportunities for overshadowed players to shine. Here are three players who could grab the bull by the horns in 2020.
Tampa Bay Rays: While the Rays are stacked with talent from the farm system to the big leagues, we take a look at just three of the many players that could make a big splash given the extra or unique opportunities that may be afforded to them in a wacky 2020 season.
Tampa Bay Rays – Ronaldo Hernandez
In 2018 he got everyone excited as a defensively capable catcher who brought some serious lumber. He smashed 20 doubles, one triple, and 21 homers in just 109 games with Bowling Green. That season he slashed .284/.339/.494 and looked like he could be the catcher of the future in Tampa Bay.
While he struggled with stiffer competition in High-A Charlotte last season, he still managed to hit .265 with 31 extra-base hits. Hernandez possesses a 70-grade throwing arm with good pop time behind the plate and has thrown out an incredible 46% of base runners in his five minor league seasons.
Hernandez will be a part of the 60-man player pool in 2020, making him eligible to play for the big-league club should they call upon him. Perhaps the weakest position on the major league roster is at catcher. Mike Zunino’s .165 average last season was unfortunately not far off his career average and Michael Perez is still relatively unproven at the major-league level.
The Rays signed veterans Kevan Smith and Chris Herrmann, but with an increased sense of urgency to win every game, there may be a short leash at the catcher position.
While he’s never played above Class-A Bowling Green, a cramped schedule, a potential injury, or lack of production from somebody could give Hernandez an opportunity to get some major league plate appearances.