Several players in the Rays farm system have been the recipients of mid-season promotions. Let's take a look at how some of these players have fared.
Rhyne Hughes 1B
Age 25 BL TL
Hughes began the season as a repeat in AA Montgomery where he led the Southern League in home runs at the time of his promotion with 15. Hughes was hitting one home run per every 14.33 at-bats. IN 2008, Hughes struggled mightily against left-handed pitching putting up a slash line of .165/.303/.319 while striking out in 31.9% of at-bats vs. lefties. In 2009, he improved to a line of .233/.329/.383 vs. LHP though his strikeout percentage increased to 41.7%. Overall his line was .260/.351/.521.
On June 9th, Hughes was promoted to Durham where he went on a tear. For the monthof June, Hughes put up a line of .329/.369/.514. So far in July he has been far quieter with a line of .245/.339/.388 . His BABIP has fallen from a silly .486 to .345. In only 37 AB he has OPSed.814 vs. left-handed pitching in Durham. His K% with the Bulls is currently 32.3% while walking just 6.8% of the time. When Hughes hits the ball, he hits it hard. He is hitting home runs at Durham at a rate of one per every 21.3 AB. His biggest weakness, a lack of plate discipline, is the only thing keeping him from being a serious first base prospect.
Cody Cipriano 2B
Age 24 BR TR
Ciprianotook a major leap in 2009 with the Charlotte Stone Crabs putting up a line of .296/.395/.455. He played his way to the all-star team and then up to Montgomery on July 13. Ciprianohas displayed a very good eye at the plate walking between right around 14% of the time in all 3 seasons. His first week in AA went fairly well as he batted .250/.381/.438 with a home run. Cipriano's biggest weakness is his mediocre defense.
Nevin Ashley C
Ashley's offense has been on a steady decline since rookie ball. As he worked his way up the system his OPS went from .903 (rookie) to .785 (class A) to .663 (A+). He began the season as a repeat in A+ with Charlotte where he continued to struggle. For the first time in his career his BB rate dwindled below double digits to 7%. His OPS continued to decline to .602. Nevertheless, Ashley was promoted to Montgomery on June 3rd. AA proved to be a challenge in June, as Ashley OPSed just .532 while striking out 1/3 of his at-bats. July has proven to be much better for Ashley as he has put together 5 extra base hits and a slash line of .233/.340/.419 or Dioner Navarro plus walks. His walk rate continues to be a positive but he will need to continue to hit the ball well to have a shot at a future. Ashley is currently in the midst of a 7 game hitting streak.
Paul Phillips P
Age 25 TR
Paul Phillips was signed by the Rays minor league deal after the 25 year old was released by the Blue Jays organization. Phillips was originally selected in the 9thround of the 2005 draft out of Oakland University. In 2007, Phillips was listed as the #34 organizational prospect for the Jays according to Scout.com. Phillips had been doing well in the lowest levels of the Jays organization but seemed to hit a stumbling block every time he reached A+ ball. In a half year stint in 2007, Phillips posted a FIPof 5.91. A full season in 2008 with a BB/9 of 5.97 and FIP of 4.49 earned him a pink slip.
The Rays gave Phillips a shot to begin the season in Charlotte where he pitched 18 innings of relief with a K/9 of 9.0 and a BB/9 of 3.3. On June 4, Phillips earned his first real promotion to AA Montgomery (he did serve a 3 game stint in AA in 2006. Phillips has been lights out with the Biscuits in 20 innings posting a K/9 of 8.55, a BB/9 of 2.7 and a FIP of 2.61. Here is a nice article on Phillips.
Matt Gorgen P
Age 22 TR
If you have followed DRB minor league coverage at all this year, you have been fed a healthy dose of Gorgen coverage. Gorgendevoured the Florida State League out of the bullpen in Charlotte with a FIP of 2.13 and a K/9 of 11.14 in 47.2 innings. He graduated the FSL withan ERA of 0.59 when he was promoted to Montgomery on July 16. In his first outing with the Biscuits, Gorgenpitched two scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. At this time last year, Gorgen was in Hudson Valley, so he is one to keep an eye on. Matt Gorgen's DRB Minor League Profile can be found here.
Rayner Oliveros P
Age 23 TR
Like Paul Phillips, Oliveros was another abandoned project, this time from the Royals organization. In 2008, Scout.com had Oliveros tabbed as the #43 organizational prospect. RJ Profiled the signing of Oliveros here. The Royals cut bait after the 2007 season where his K/9 was just 6.78 witha HR/9 of 1.28 in A+ ball. The Rays scouts saw something in him though, and have been rewarded for their vision. In 29 innings with the Stone Crabs, Oliveros's K/9 was 9.31 with a 2.30 FIP. On June 3, he received his promotion the the Biscuits and has continued to find success. His K/9 in AA is 8.82 with a FIP of 3.08 in 34.7 IP. It will be important to see his line drive % come down as it sits at 23.7% in AA vs. just 9.3% in A+. The real positive is the dramatic rise in K rate as he has gone through the minors while maintaining his excellent control.
Tom Rafferty P
Age 24 TR
Rafferty did a nice job in Hudson Valley last season striking out 10.89/9 with a 2.38 FIP. He began the season in Bowling Green where he was an elder statesman. Through 27.2 IP he had a FIP of 3.16 while striking out 7.16/9. On June 6, he earned his promotion to Charlotte where his K rate is up to 9.82 in 22 innings pitched. His walks are up a bit to 3.68 and he has allowed 2 home runs whereas he only allowed 1 during his previous minor league experience. Rafferty has induced 45.5% grounders in Charlotte down from 65.6% in Bowling Green.
"The Strandmaster" Jason Cromer P AA -> AAA
Mike McCormick C A->A+