Tampa Bay Rays Arizona Fall League Update: Matt Gorgen Whiffs Two

For the first time ever, the Arizona Fall League will feature pitchfx data at two locations (Surprise and Peoria). This is fantastic news and hopefully some of our arms - most notably Matt Gorgen - get an appearance or two at those locations. A few Rays were in action for the Phoenix Desert Dogs last night.

Playing shortstop and batting second, Shawn O'Malley went one-for-four with two strikeouts. His hit came in the first inning, a grounder that deflected off the pitcher. He would steal second base but failed to score.  Worth noting: he laid down a sacrifice bunt and attempted to reach on a bunt hit.

O'Malley's tale is speed. Drafted out of a Washington high school in 2006, the fifth round pick received a signing bonus of $200,000 to bypass his commitment to Washington State University. Standing a little under six-feet, O'Malley bats lefty and is perhaps the top base runner in the system.  Although he's mostly disappointed in his minor league career, he did have a decent season for High-A Charlotte; batting .268/.388/.311 with 40 stolen bases in 54 attempts. He turns 22 in the waning days of December, so there's still a chance he can turn into something, but he's likely an organizational soldier who doubles as a pinch runner/utility infielder.

Matt Gorgen entered in the bottom of the eight and promptly struck out Mike Stanton and Welington Castillo. He also walked one and allowed a single that was eradicated on a failed stolen base attempt. Keith Law tweeted that Gorgen hit 94 on the pitch that struck out Castillo to end the inning.

Formerly the closer at Cal-Berkley, Gorgen was drafted in round 16 in the 2008 draft. Upon joining the system he raised eyebrows by striking out 35 batters in 23 innings pitched. Starting this season in Charlotte and replicating his previous success, he fanned 59 in 47 innings. On to Montgomery where Gorgen hit the first snag in his professional career; walking more than five per nine innings and striking out only seven per. Previous reports have Gorgen throwing a fastball that sits in the 90-92 range with a mid-to-upper 80s cutter.

Cody Cipriano, usually a second baseman, played left field and recorded a hit to go with two strikeouts. His hit, a double, came off pitcher James Russell  -- a Chicago Cubs farmhand - who was thoroughly roughed up by the Desert Dogs lineup. No word on how his defense played up.

Formerly of UC Irvine, Cipriano has shown strong power and on-base attributes but has a lackluster glove. Cipriano had previously recorded at least 13% walks and a .150+ ISO in his previous 600 or so minor league plate appearances. Reaching Montgomery for the first time he struggled, walking 9.8% of the time still, but showing little of the gap power he previously flashed. Probably a future utility man.

Other Rays players on the AFL roster include pitchers Mitch Talbot, Paul Phillips, and Heath Rollins as well as catcher Nevin Ashley.

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