Tampa Bay Rays fans received fantastic news this week as high-level prospect Shane Baz was promoted to the Triple-A Durham Bulls. The Bulls might have one of the most stacked minor league rosters in recent years.
Shane Baz was essentially the throw-in piece of this trade back in 2018, but he might be the most exciting piece of the three for the future of the Tampa Bay Rays.
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Why is there so much hype surrounding Shane Baz?
He’s currently the fifth-best prospect in the organization and 74th-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline rankings.
Let’s take a look back through his career so far, one that began as the 12th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas.
The hype had always been there for the then-18-year-old fireballer with electric stuff and plus pitches all around. All he needed was the right team to be able to hone in his craft, and he found that once he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.
In his first full minor league season with the Tampa Bay Rays, Shane Baz put up strong numbers in 17 starts, giving up 27 earned runs in 81.1 innings pitched while striking out 87 batters.
The big concern about his 2019 season at Single-A Bowling Green was his strikeout-to-walk ratio as he walked 37 batters in that time.
However, as we would find out nearly two years later after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the 2020 minor league season, Shane Baz has turned into a machine on the mound.
So far, in eight starts over 36.2 innings pitched, Shane Baz has given up 10 earned runs, struck out 54, and walked just three batters.
His 13.3 SO/9, 0.7 BB/9, and 6.4 H/9 ratios are the best in his career and his 0.791 WHIP is the only time in his career that it’s been below 1.000.
Shane Baz made his Triple-A debut on Wednesday evening, throwing four innings of one-run ball, striking out five, and walking just one, a rare occurrence for him this season.
He’s making his way through the Tampa Bay Rays organization quite quickly, but while we would say don’t expect him to come up until later this season, expect the unexpected with this team.
We might get to see Shane Baz playing in the majors sooner than we know.