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Fitting the Durham Bulls rotation into the Rays 4-man rotation

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays are rolling with a four-man rotation thanks to several off-days in the first four months. That's only possible because the talent in Durham is strong enough to spot start for the Rays when necessary.

And with the announcement of the minor league rosters, we also have the Durham Bulls rotation:

Blake Snell - April 7

Matt Andriese - April 8

Jaime Schultz - April 9

Austin Pruitt - April 10

Adam Wilk - April 11

Snell gets the Opening Day nod, and Pruitt is added to the rotation over previous mainstay Dylan Floro. The more veteran Andriese gets the start on day two of the rotation.

As for how this fits into the projections for the four-man rotation, we start our outlook with Odorizzi, who will get his second start on April 10th.

Date Opponent Time Starter
Sun, 4/3 Blue Jays 4:05p Archer
Mon, 4/4 Blue Jays 7:10p Smyly
Tue, 4/5 Blue Jays 7:10p Odorizzi
Wed, 4/6 Blue Jays 1:10p Moore
Off Day
Fri, 4/8 at Orioles 7:05p Archer
Sat, 4/9 at Orioles 7:05p Smyly
Sun, 4/10 at Orioles 1:35p Odorizzi
Off Day
Tue, 4/12 Indians 7:10p Moore
Wed, 4/13 Indians 7:10p ---
Thu, 4/14 Indians 1:10p Archer
Fri, 4/15 White Sox 7:10p Smyly
Sat, 4/16 White Sox 6:10p Odorizzi
Sun, 4/17 White Sox 1:10p Moore
Off Day
Tue, 4/19 at Red Sox 7:10p Archer
Wed, 4/20 at Red Sox 7:10p Smyly
Thu, 4/21 at Red Sox 1:35p Odorizzi
Fri, 4/22 at Yankees 7:05p Moore
Sat, 4/23 at Yankees 1:05p ---
Sun, 4/24 at Yankees 1:05p Archer
Mon, 4/25 Orioles 7:10p Smyly

Theoretically, the first spot start opportunity can be anywhere from April 13th to 16th, depending on how many days rest Archer, Smyly, and Odorizzi use for that third turn in the rotation. This adds flexibility to any menuever the Rays will make.

If the Rays do choose the 13th, the earliest opportunity, then this comfortably lines up with second starter in the Durham rotation, allowing either Matt Andriese to be promoted on standard rest, or Blake Snell on five days' rest.

Keeping the 13th allows normal rest for Andriese to get the nod again two turns later, or if it better suits what the Rays want to deploy against the Yankees, this could likely be where Blake Snell makes his Rays debut with Andriese optioned again.

The next two spot start opportunities are not until the following month:

Date Opponent Time Starter
Wed, 5/4 Dodgers 7:10p Archer
Off Day
Fri, 5/6 at Angels 10:05p Smyly
Sat, 5/7 at Angels 9:05p Odorizzi
Sun, 5/8 at Angels 3:35p Moore
Mon, 5/9 at Mariners 10:10p Archer
Tue, 5/10 at Mariners 10:10p ---
Wed, 5/11 at Mariners 3:40p Smyly
Off Day
Fri, 5/13 Athletics 7:10p Odorizzi
Sat, 5/14 Athletics 6:10p Moore
Sun, 5/15 Athletics 1:10p Archer
Mon, 5/16 at Blue Jays 7:07p Smyly
Tue, 5/17 at Blue Jays 7:07p ---
Wed, 5/18 at Blue Jays 7:07p Odorizzi
Off Day
Fri, 5/20 at Tigers 7:10p Moore
Sat, 5/21 at Tigers 4:10p Archer
Sun, 5/22 at Tigers 1:10p Smyly
Mon, 5/23 at Marlins 7:10p Odorizzi
Tue, 5/24 at Marlins 12:10p ---
Wed, 5/25 Marlins 7:10p Moore
Thu, 5/26 Marlins 1:10p Archer
Fri, 5/27 Yankees 7:10p Smyly
Sat, 5/28 Yankees 4:10p Odorizzi
Sun, 5/29 Yankees 1:10p ---
Mon, 5/30 at Royals 8:15p Moore
Tue, 5/31 at Royals 8:15p Archer

May 24th is when the need for a full time fifth starter kicks in, but there are two spot-start opportunities before that. It would be irresponsible to say we know what any rotation looks like any more than five turns into the future... but we can try anyway.

Projecting five days rest, May 10th appears to be the middle of the Bulls rotation. We may be too far out to anticipate who could fill in that day, but I would offer that Jaime Schultz and his electric fastball are pitching third in the rotation to start the season, and could line up well on that date.

However, rotations are quite flexible, and some slight maneuvering could allow Blake Snell to get his first or second start in the majors in Seattle, his home town. It adds the kind of sentimental weight the Rays may be keen to allow.

Seven days later on May 17th start is anyone's guess, but if the Rays have reshuffled the Durham rotation by then, I think this would be the perfect opportunity for Schultz to get the call. and if not for Andriese to step back into the fold. However, the Rays may want to be prepping Andriese for the May 24th consistent starting role.