There's just about a month and a half remaining in the minor-league season, which means time is running out on promoting players. Here's a look at a few who may see the next level by the end of the year:
Chris Archer, RHP - Obviously we've seen him in the majors earlier this season, called up out of necessity when the Rays needed a second arm to come up from Durham. He impressed in his two-start stint, certainly showing enough to come back in September in a bullpen role. The only thing stopping him from getting the recall is his left oblique, which he injured in a start on July 7. He hasn't been placed on the DL, and it was said to be for "precautionary reasons" but who the heck knows with the Rays.
Ryan Garko, UT - It's a head-scratcher that this one hasn't happened yet. Garko caught the eye of the Rays after smoking the independent Atlantic League for 16 games, and has hit .318/.416/.469 in 226 PA for Montgomery. He has cooled off -- he's hitting just .250 in July -- but given the Rays offensive woes, it's curious that he's still in double-A. One interesting note on Garko: He's hit LHP better in his major-league career, but with Montgomery he has a .934 OPS vs. RHP and a .783 OPS vs.. LHP.Richie Shaffer, 3B - It weirdly took until the deadline to get Shaffer into the organization, but now that he is, the emphasis should be on getting him as many games as possible. That may mean being assigned to the Arizona Fall League later on, but it might also mean a step up to Bowling Green for the playoffs at the end of the season. The Hot Rods have already clinched a playoff spot, and the Midwest League playoffs are three rounds against the New York-Penn League's two.
Stephen Vogt, C/OF - The #FreeVogt movement gained some major steam with a .364/.444/.579 line for the month of June in Durham. An injury cost him about two weeks of time, but he came back on July 13 and hit a home run. He's still on the 40-man roster, so he's a virtual lock for a September call-up, but if he mashes for the Bulls it might be worth trying to squeeze him in earlier than that to help out the offense (or, at the very least, get a major-league hit, something he was unable to do in 17 PA when he was up earlier).
That's really about it. The Rays aren't huge on mid-season prospect promotions in general, especially from low-A. As a 2011 college draftee, Cameron Seitzer would have the best shot at moving up to Charlotte, but he's not raking to the point of forcing their hand. The organization has showing a willingness to move high-A pitchers to double-A (Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Jeremy Hellickson all were moved up to Montgomery before they spent a full season in the Florida State League), but Albert Suarez, Enny Romero, and Braulio Lara have underwhelmed, C.J. Riefenhauser has an ERA near 6.00 as a starter, and Grayson Garvin is hurt, so no go there. Same story in Montgomery: Nick Barnese and Alex Colome missed time with injury and have about 70 innings between them, Kyle Lobstein and Jake Thompson aren't dominating, and Joe Cruz felt his elbow go pop and is meeting with an orthopedist today.
The strongest performances in the system have come from low-A and the short-season leagues, where it's least likely players get bumped from. Johnny Eierman's hitting .300 with an .804 OPS for the GCL Rays, but they probably had a good reason for starting him there and 17 games isn't going to change that. So don't expect to see too much movement within the prospect ranks down the stretch.