Smith, Padlo highlight Rays Arizona Fall League contingent
Burch Smith and Kevin Padlo are among seven Rays who will get an extra month of game action this offseason
On Tuesday, Arizona Fall League rosters were revealed. The annual prospect showcase begins on Oct. 10.
This season, Rays prospects will be playing on the Surprise Saguaros alongside prospects from the Royals, Twins, Cardinals and Rangers. Each team will send seven players, one of which will be on the taxi squad and only eligible to play Wednesdays and Saturdays.
MLB Network shows the occasional game, and MLB.com has the occasional stream. Be on the lookout for a broadcast schedule later.
RHP Spencer Jones (2.35 ERA, 26.5 K%, 7.4 BB% in 65 IP for Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte)
The 23-year-old Jones was the Rays’ 10th-round pick in 2016. All 48 of his career appearances have come in relief. While he struggled keeping the ball in the park in college, he hasn’t allowed a home run in 2017 and has a 48.6 percent ground-ball rate. According to Baseball America’s pre-draft scouting report ($), he has an average fastball with a good changeup.
2B Brandon Lowe (.304/.384/.509, 19.2 K%, 10.9 BB% in 448 PA for Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery)
Lowe, 23, has been a breakout star for the Rays in 2017. The former third-round pick is not yet Rule 5 draft eligible, so the team wants him to get some more at-bats against upper-level pitching after his recent promotion to Double A. In the early going with the Biscuits, he has not been able to show his familiar patient, contact-heavy approach.
LHP Dalton Moats (1.91 ERA, 23.8 K%, 5.1 BB% in 56 2⁄3 IP for Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte)
Like Jones, Moats was part of the organization’s 2016 draft after the Rays took him in the 15th round from Delta State, his third college. In his pro debut last season, the 22-year-old showed significant left/right splits (.371 OPS against him vs. lefties and .814 against him vs. righties), but those splits have been even in 2017.
RHP Benton Moss (3.18 ERA, 18.3 K%, 5.3 BB% in 76 1⁄3 IP for Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery)
I can’t definitively state why the Rays chose certain players to go to the AFL, but since Moss missed the first month and a half of the season on the disabled list, it’s a safe bet the team wants him to throw a few more innings to try and make up for some of the time he missed. The 24-year-old was the team’s sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft.
3B Kevin Padlo (.235/.336/.417, 23.7 K%, 13.7 BB% in 241 PA for Class A-Advanced Charlotte)
Like Moss, Padlo’s season was altered by an injury. In his case, it was a broken hamate. That injury can sap a player’s power long after he’s back on the playing field, which will be a challenge for the 21-year-old who has significant power potential. If his stats were projected over an entire minor league season, he would be on pace for 31 doubles, seven triples and 14 homers.
RHP Burch Smith (2.66 ERA, 24.2 K%, 10.6 BB% in 50 2⁄3 IP for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Rays, Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Triple-A Durham)
Smith may have been acquired by the Rays on Dec. 19, 2014 along with Steven Souza and others, but he didn’t make his debut with the organization until June 26, 2017 due to Tommy John surgery and the ensuing rehabilitation. He may be eligible for minor league free agency following the end of the World series, so the AFL gives the Rays a chance to see him a few more times to see if they want to add him to the 40-man roster.
C Brett Sullivan (.297/.329/.438, 9.0 K%, 4.0 BB% in 420 PA for Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery)
Like Lowe, Sullivan, 23, also got a midseason promotion to Double A. He has also gotten off to a slow start and will benefit from the extra chances to see upper-level pitching. In his second season as a catcher, he has continued to show potential behind the plate and has been one of the toughest minor leaguers to strike out again in 2017.
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