The Tampa Bay Rays are building a reputation as a dangerous team to trade with. One of the more recent trades that standout was in July of 2018.
The Tampa Bay Rays sent Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow. While Archer struggled for the Bucs, Meadows and Glasnow blossomed into stars for the Rays in 2019.
Meadows made the all-star game and were a force at the top of the lineup, earning the role of an “everyday player” for a team that platoons without pity.
Glasnow had electric stuff but just couldn’t control it with Pittsburgh as he walked nearly six batters per nine. The Rays helped him find his control as he finished 2019 with a mere 2.1 walks per nine and a 1.78 ERA.
Tampa Bay Rays – Player to be Named Later
As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Pirates, there was a player to be named later in the trade. Roughly two weeks following the trade, we found out that the other player in the deal would be a former first-round draft pick Shane Baz.
Baz was taken just eight picks (12th overall) after Brendan McKay in the 2017 MLB Draft. He boasts a 70-grade heater that can reach 100 mph, giving him the highest-rated fastball in the organization alongside Pete Fairbanks.
In addition to his blazing fastball, he has a filthy slider that grades out at a 65, according to MLB.com. Baz’s arm slings lightning bolts at the plate.
Baz is just 21-years-old and was excellent in Class A Bowling Green last season, where he finished the year with a 2.99 ERA in 17 starts while striking out 87 batters in 81.1 innings.
Baseball Prospectus has rated Baz as the 30th best prospect in all of baseball.
Baz is on the 60-man roster for the 2020 season, but his lack of high-level experience could prevent him from cracking the major-league roster. Then again, he’ll be working with major-league level quality on the taxi squad. If he earns the confidence of the staff, It’s hard to say no to 100 mph fastball.
Regardless, Baz is the icing on the cake of the Archer trade. Who knows, maybe someday he could be remembered as the prize piece in the deal.
Archer has likely pitched his last pitch as a Pirate, meanwhile, the Rays are just beginning to tap into the potential from their end of the deal.