In the past week, the national media has written and published three articles concerning the Devil Rays. Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, and Baseball America, they all know the big names in our farm system, Delmon Young, Elijah Dukes, and Joel Guzman. The next tier of `knowledge' brings about names like Reid Brignac, Sergio Pedroza, and Wes Bankston.
All of the articles mention how Jorge Cantu may become expendable and name some possible successors, to my observation and surprise, none of the three actually mention the top 2B prospect in the organization who actually plays 2B full time, Elliot Johnson.
Here is his AA line from this season
SB / CS: 18 / 15
K / BB: 94 / 34
Elliot of course is the everyday 2B for the Montgomery Biscuits, 22 years old, 6-foot tall, switch-hitting infielder who may become the most important prospect in the Rays' system. Some may call that statement ludicrous but it may become the domino for the rest of the system to tip one way or the other.
Consider this when I say that, if E.J. does not become our 2B our lineup becomes this
OF - Delmon Rocco CC
INF - Longoria Brignac Upton Guzman
C - Navarro
We will call that non-breakout E.J., that is assuming of course that Longoria would become the 2B, Brignac the SS (or Zobrist, either or) and Guzman the 1B.
Now let us say E.J. continues to progress as he is on pace to do, becomes the 2B who hits for power, has decent OBP skills, and is a great base stealer. It is possible a number of shifts occur in the next two seasons that completely change the look of the Rays. Here are a few scenarios;
OF - Delmon CC Upton
INF - Longoria, Brignac, E.J., Guzman
That is assuming Rocco does not progress which is up to debate, if you notice the other expandable player, who is almost a definite excess if Jorge Cantu. Nobody is sure if his 28 HR 100+ RBI season was a fluke or not, this year he has been bothered by injuries so we'll have to wait until next season to make an accurate statement on Cantu. However, to say the Human Lawn Statue's bad defense and hitting into double plays are not getting a little old is an understatement.
If Rocco does progress it becomes even more interesting, would Brignac become expendable or would we stick him at DH (assuming Dukes or Gomes are not the DH), again I am not going to list all the possibilities but it just shows how much weighs on this 2B position. However, he may not be the most glamorous prospect, or the most heralded, Elliot Johnson is one with an altering future one way or the other for this Tampa Bay organization.