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Rays Position Battle: 25th Man Update

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Juniel Querecuto
Juniel Querecuto
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks agobroke down the race for the backup middle infield role, aka the 25th man. Ryan Brett and Nick Franklin have been casualties of the roster crunch by being optioned to minor league camp in order to get consistent playing time.

Tim Beckham and Taylor Motter have survived the roster cuts, but Juniel Querecuto has emerged as a candidate for the job.

The biggest change is the realization that Tim Beckham has an option remaining, which makes this a more open competition than it seemed at first inspection.

Juniel Querecuto

Age: 23 (DOB: 9/19/1992)

Options: 3 (Not on the 40 man roster)

Season Level PA HR SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wRC+
2012 A 436 0 13 8.7% 18.1% 0.249 0.316 0.303 80
2014 A 387 2 5 6.5% 11.4% 0.291 0.339 0.350 101
A+ 95 0 0 2.1% 20.0% 0.194 0.211 0.237 23
2015 A+ 169 1 1 8.3% 15.4% 0.293 0.355 0.373 125
AA 148 1 0 9.5% 12.2% 0.209 0.290 0.287 66

Querecuto was an international free agent signing on July 2, 2009 out of Venezuela. He would miss the entire 2013 due to injury and would return to Bowling Green to start the 2014 season.

Querecuto is a switch hitting middle infielder that has seen uneven production throughout his minor league career. He is a contact hitter with very little power and not much speed, but did see his ISO improve in 2015 from around .050 to .080.

It is surprising to see him advance past the second round of cuts while Brett and Franklin were sent to the minor league camp. As he is not on the 40 man roster at this time, it would likely require a string of injuries before he has a real shot to make the team.

Spring Training

SSS Alert:

Player PA HR SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
Tim Beckham 30 0 0 3.3% 30.0% 0.138 0.167 0.241
Ryan Brett 13 0 0 15.4% 30.8% 0.000 0.214 0.000
Nick Franklin 27 0 0 11.1% 22.2% 0.375 0.444 0.500
Taylor Motter 29 1 0 6.9% 24.1% 0.296 0.345 0.519
Juniel Querecuto 15 0 0 6.7% 13.3% 0.500 0.563 0.643

Yes, Spring training stats are too small of a sample against inconsistent talent levels to get any real read on how a player will perform in the upcoming season. It's still better to see players have success than not.

Taylor Motter has the only the only home run of the group and has added three doubles. Nick Franklin also has had a successful spring with three doubles. Beckham and Brett have had a rough start to their springs. Querecuto has one triple to go along with seven singles in his playing time.

Power Ranking

1.       Tim Beckham

2.       Taylor Motter

3.       Nick Franklin

4.       Ryan Brett

5.       Juniel Querecuto

Motter continues to see time with the major league team throughout the spring. His versatility separates him from the rest of the field, but I don't think he overtakes Beckham at this point in time.

The question is more fluid than originally expected as there could be reasonable arguments made for almost any of the first four to earn the opportunity to impact the 2016 Tampa Bay Rays.