Spring training is finally upon us and we have a steady stream of news coming out of Port Charlotte as we continue to count the days down to spring training.
As we get ready for full squad workouts and exhibition games to begin we will continue to focus on the expected 25 man opening day roster. Who will be the fifth starter, who will be in the bullpen, and what will the Rays do with the duplication of Sean Rodriguez and Ryan Roberts?
There is also the unknown part of a major league roster which encompasses those players that aren't currently on the 40-man roster that may make the jump to the big leagues in 2013. These handful of players are often referred to as "helium prospects", and as such they are usually the same group of players that are having breakout seasons.
For various reasons including service time and 40-man roster considerations the Rays are not the type of organization that will allow a player to rise from the lower part of the organization to the major leagues in a short few months but those reasons alone shouldn't exclude them from the conversation.
Which player(s) in the Rays organization do you think has the potential to be a helium jumper?
The criteria used to suggest a player is as follows:
1. The player is not currently on the 40-man roster and the probability of the player making an appearance for the Rays in 2013 should be less than 15%. This would, in my opinion eliminate the likes of Mike Fontenot, Dane De La Rosa, and Jack Cust.
2. The player could be a seasoned minor league free agent signing or could be any player in any level of the Rays minor league system.
If you don't feel the Rays have any candidates that will fit the above criteria feel free to chime in on who your top 5 breakout candidates are and if any of your list may include a September callup which would fit the helium prospect definition above.