Welcome to the first installment of "In The Tank: A Rays Minor League Report." With this week's report we will take a look at the Farm from the week of June 21st through June 26th and prepare you for this week's slate of Rays minor league action.
The Durham Bulls we're able to take the series over the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, winning 4 out of 6 heading into this week, as they continue their series with the Charlotte Knights, White Sox affiliate, tomorrow after taking today's matinee. The Positional and Pitcher Players of the Week for the Bulls for me are Grant Witherspoon and Javy Guerra, as both players put up exceptional numbers during the week, especially Gurrea, who had 2 saves and also was able to rack up 8 strikeouts.
Currently Durham sits at 40-33 on the season and is in 4th place in the International League East division, setting themselves up for a possible shot at the title this year.
The Montgomery Biscuits come out of the first half with an under .500 record, however the team was able to take 3 straight over the Mississippi Braves to close out the weekend. They begin the second half tonight, as they travel to Pensacola to take on the Marlins Double-A team, the Blue Wahoos. The two major components last week for the Biscuts were Taj Bradley, #3 ranked pitching prospect, and positional player Brett Wisley. Wisley especially had a nice week at home, batting .400 and adding a long ball to his line.
The Biscuts will need to hope that they can "bake" in the second half of the year, as they finished with a 28-34 first half record, 6 games under .500.
On the flip side however, Bowling Green will not have to worry about fighting for a playoff spot, as the Hot Rods were able to clinch a playoff berth by winning the South Atlantic League First Half title with a 41-24 record. The Hot Rods have been red hot on the season, as they were able to win 5 out of 6 over the Red Sox's affiliate, the Greenville Drive, leading them to a 2-1 start to the 2nd half. The team will look to continue this run, as they get ready for a set against the Houston Astros affiliate, the Ashville Tourists.
Last week though, Nathan Wiles, pitcher, and #30 infield prospect Alika Williams both put up solid weeks in Greenville, as Williams was able to hit 3 homers in 18 at-bats and Wiles was able to pitch 4 innings of perfect baseball.
For the final full season team to look at, Charleston also finished out strong in the first half, featuring a 46-20 record to finish out and a 1-2 record for the start of the second half. After a 4 out of 6 series victory over the Royals affiliated Columbia Fireflies, the Riverdogs will travel to Myrtle Beach to meet the Cubs affiliated Pelicans starting tonight.
Antonio Menendez, pitcher, and infielder Ryan Spikes, both put up good numbers this week in Columbia, with Menendez posting 5 strikeouts in only 3 innings of work and Spikes hitting .333 and putting up an impressive stat, 1.407 OPS.
This season the Tampa Bay Rays feature three rookie ball teams, as two come from the Dominican Summer League and one out of the Florida Complex league, the only Rays Florida-based minor league team. Beginning in the DSL with the DSL Tampa Bay squad, Moises Palma, pitcher, and outfielder Angel Mateo both put together solid weeks, with Mateo hitting .375 with 5 RBIs and Palma pitching 5 innings, only allowing two hits total in two outings with 3 strikeouts.
With the DSL Rays, the second of the two DSL teams, Luis Hernandez, pitcher and Enzo Paulino, outfielder, were solid contributors, with Paulino hitting well over .300 and Hernandez throwing 3 innings with 3 strikeouts in his outing against the DSL Giants Orange team.
Transitioning up to the sunshine state to the FCL, outfielder Estanli Castillo and pitcher Alex Ayala Jr. both have been putting up monster numbers, especially Castillo. Castillo in the last week had 2 multi-hit games, 4 total on the season and is currently on a 10-game hitting streak, as he should be a candidate to get a call to Charleston soon. For Ayala Jr., he has 10 strikeouts in his last two outings in the last week and has stayed consistent so far as well.
As for what's to come for the 3 rookie ball teams, the DSL Rays (8-9, 7th in the Northwest) and DSL Tampa Bay (11-6, 1st in the Northwest) will both get a day before they both return to play the Dodgers DSL squads on Thursday. As for the FCL Rays (11-6, 2nd in the South), they too will also have a day off, a league wide day off in fact, as they will see the FCL Twins in Fort Myers on Thursday.
All MiLB stats for players came from the MiLB.com stats leaderboard.