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A deep dive on the Rays postseason 40-man player pool

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How did they get here? And are they actually on the 40-man roster?

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have officially announced their 40-man player pool for the 2020 postseason with a few surprise inclusions.

Let’s a take moment, or a few, to see just how each of these players made their respective journeys to the Rays roster, including the added wrinkle of whether that player is even on the 40-man roster!

Willy Adames, SS

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with INF Nick Franklin and LHP Drew Smyly in a three team trade with the Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers, in exchange for LHP David Price on July 31st, 2014.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .260/.335/.492 with 8 HR over 197 PA / 128 wRC+ / 1.4 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

When Blake Snell entered in relief to close out the Rays Game 4 win during the 2019 Division Series at Tropicana Field, Willy put his arms around him on the mound and said, “I love you man, you got this. We have your back, so do your thing and make your pitches.”

Jose Alvarado, LHP

  • How did he arrive: Signed at 16 years old as an international free agent on March 13th, 2012.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes, on the 45-day IL
  • 2020 Performance: 0-0 / 6.00 ERA / 5.85 FIP / 28.9 K% / 13.3 BB% / -0.1 fWAR / 9 IP / 9 G
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

José told The Athletic that he often played cards with “much older people” as a kid, once taking so much of the table’s money he was told to return his winnings at gunpoint

Nick Anderson, RHP

  • How did he arrive: Acquired along with RHP Trevor Richards from the Miami Marlins for RHP Ryne Stanek and OF Jesus Sanchez on July 31st, 2019
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 1-1 / 0.59 ERA / 1.03 FIP / 48.1 K% / 3.7 BB% / 1.0 fWAR / 15.1 IP / 18 G
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

As a kid, Nick competed at BMX and keeps the trophies at his dad’s house…his love of extreme sports also includes snowmobiling

Randy Arozarena, OF

  • How did he arrive: Acquired along with 1B Jose Martinez from the St Louis Cardinals for LHP Matthew Liberatore and C Edgardo Rodriguez on January 9th, 2020.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .278/.365/.685 with 7 HR over 63 PA / 180 wRC+ / 0.7 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

He chose to wear No. 66 with St. Louis as a tribute to the similarities he sees between his game and that of fellow Cuban Yasiel Puig, who also wears the number... “I love that number. I played with that number in Mexico, too,” he said

* Arozarena wears the number 56 with the Rays due to the number 66 being retired for Don Zimmer.

Mike Brosseau, INF

  • How did they arrive: Signed as an undrafted free agent on June 14th, 2016.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .312/.386/.571 with 5 HR over 88 PA / 163 wRC+ / 1.0 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

He grew up a Cubs fan in northwest Indiana… his godfather was an executive at the Chicago Tribune, which owned the team at the time… consequently, Mike lived a young fan’s dream with gifted seats near the dugout and behind the plate, as well as the occasional field pass

Vidal Brujan, INF

  • How did they arrive: Signed at 16 years old as an international free agent on October 17th, 2014.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: Hasn’t played in the big leagues. Spent the season at the alternate training site in Port Charlotte.
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

In 2018, Vidal’s father passed away at age 52 due to complications associated with a stomach condition…Vidal had promised his father he would achieve his goal of reaching the majors by 2020

Diego Castillo, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Signed at 20 years old as an international free agent on March 5th, 2014.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 3-0 / 1.74 ERA / 4.68 FIP / 26.2 K% / 13.1 BB% / -0.1 fWAR / 20.2 IP / 21 G
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Diego is known to cook for his teammates…he learned to cook as a 10-year-old by watching his mother in the kitchen

Ji-Man Choi, 1B

  • How did they arrive: Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for SS 1B hitter Brad Miller on June 10th, 2018
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes, on the 10-day IL
  • 2020 Performance: .230/.331/.410 with 3 HR over 145 PA / 103 wRC+ / 0.3 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Ji-Man is terrified of ghosts and believes to have had many encounters with them, including hugs and whispers…his first ghostly encounter in baseball came while recovering from back surgery in 2011, when he felt a “spirit” on his chest and awoke as he felt the bed slump

John Curtiss, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Signed as a minor league free agent on February 3rd, 2020
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 3-0 / 1.93 ERA / 3.61 FIP / 24.2 K% / 3.3 BB% / 0.3 fWAR / 23.1 IP / 15 G
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Enjoys playing guitar and singing country music and is an aspiring country singer-songwriter…performed the national anthem prior to Rochester’s game against Lehigh Valley on Sep 2, 2018

Yandy Diaz, INF

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with RHP Cole Sulser in a three team trade with the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners in exchange for 1B/OF Jake Bauers on Decemeber 13th, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes, on the 10-day IL
  • 2020 Performance: .307/.428/.386 with 2 HR over 138 PA / 138 wRC+ / 0.7 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Yandy was twice caught and arrested while attempting to defect from Cuba, each time jailed for 21 days…on the third attempt, he and friend Leandro Linares waited in tall grass until their motorized raft arrived…they set out at around 2 a.m. and arrived in the Dominican Republic at about 2 p.m. the next day…Yandy reports to have seen sharks swimming alongside the raft

Oliver Drake, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Claimed off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on January 4th, 2019
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 0-2 / 7.00 ERA / 6.18 FIP / 18.4 K% / 13.2 BB% / -0.1 fWAR / 9 G / 9 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Oliver was enrolled in the United States Naval Academy studying quantitative economics for two years prior to being selected by the Orioles in the 2008 June Draft

Pete Fairbanks, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Acquired from the Texas Rangers in exchange for INF Nick Solak on July 13th, 2019
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 5-3 / 2.45 ERA / 2.56 FIP / 33.0 K% / 11.6 BB% / 0.7 fWAR / 26 G / 25.2 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Pete studied mechanical engineering at Mizzou and scored 34 out of a possible 36 points on his ACT

Josh Fleming, LHP

  • How did they arrive: Selected in the 5th round of the 2017 draft on June 3rd, 2017.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 4-0 / 3.42 ERA / 4.93 FIP / 18.7 K% / 5.6 BB% / 0.1 fWAR / 6 G / 26.1 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Selected out of Webster University, becoming the first drafted player in program history

Wander Franco, SS

  • How did they arrive: Signed at 16 years old as an international free agent on July 2nd, 2017.
  • On the 40-man roster: No
  • 2020 Performance: Hasn’t played in the big leagues. Spent the season at the alternate training site in Port Charlotte.
  • Tidbit, papaphrased from Rays media guide:

Wander Franco is the consensus top prospect in all of baseball and was one of two players in the Rays system to represent the team at the 2019 All-Star Futures Game

Sean Gilmartin, LHP

  • How did they arrive: Signed as a minor league free agent on February 6th, 2020
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 0-0 / 8.31 ERA / 9.64 FIP / 20.8 K% / 16.7 BB% / -0.2 fWAR / 2 G / 4.1 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Helped lead the Seminoles to the College World Series in 2010, starting the opener against TCU

Tyler Glasnow, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with OF Austin Meadows and RHP Shane Baz from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for RHP Chris Archer on July 31st, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 5-1 / 4.08 ERA / 3.65 FIP / 38.2 K% / 9.2 BB% / 1.1 fWAR / 11 G / 57.1 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

He is a huge fan of gangster rap/trap music…he has “No Juice” tattooed on the inside of his lip—a nod to rapper Boosie that he got as an inside joke with former Pirates roommate Rodarrick Jones.

Ronaldo Hernandez, C

  • How did they arrive: Signed at 16 years old as an international free agent on August 9th, 2014
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: Hasn’t played in the big leagues. Spent the season at the alternate training site in Port Charlotte.
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

As part of Ronaldo’s English studies, Rays Florida education coordinator Lenore Sutton uploaded six sets of 20 baseball terms related to catching to a flash card app for him to study…Ronaldo learned the 120 terms and phrases in just a month’s time…he learned the vocabulary for pitchers quickly as well, in order to better communicate during mound visits

Brent Honeywell, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Selected in the Competitive Balance Round B of the 2014 draft on June 5th, 2014.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: Hasn’t played in the big leagues. Spent the season rehabbing at the alternate training site in Port Charlotte.
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Brent loved to play ding-dong-ditch as a kid until he and his best friend, Tyler, rang the doorbell of a house and the garage door opened to reveal a police cruiser with the lights on

Kevin Kiermaier, OF

  • How did they arrive: Selected in the 31st round of the 2010 draft on June 9th, 2010.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .221/.329/.374 with 3 HR over 152 PA / 98 wRC+ / 1.0 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

His older brother, Dan, was promoted to head groundskeeper for the Cubs ahead of the 2020 season

Aaron Loup, LHP

  • How did they arrive: Signed as a minor league free agent on February 11th, 2020
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 3-2 / 2.63 ERA / 3.85 FIP / 23.9 K% / 4.3 BB% / 0.2 fWAR / 23 G / 24 IP
  • Tidbit:

Credits former Toronto Blue Jays bullpen coach, Dane Johnson, for telling him to become a side-arm pitcher; Johnson told him, “Give it a chance, because what you’re doing now isn’t working.

Brandon Lowe, 2B

  • How did they arrive: Selected in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft on June 9th, 2015.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .274/.363/.570 with 14 HR over 215 PA / 154 wRC+ / 2.3 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Brandon discovered his key to success while in the minor leagues, which he shared with the Tampa Bay Times…“A big thing has been eating applesauce. When I got to Triple-A Durham, I was struggling and they had those GoGo squeezes in the fridge and I was like, ‘Ah, applesauce. I haven’t had a lot of fruits lately.’ Had one, ended up hitting a home run. Had three hits that day. And I was like, ‘I’ve got to have applesauce tomorrow.’ The next day, I hit two home runs, and I just absolutely took off.

Nate Lowe, 1B

  • How did they arrive: Selected in the 13th round of the 2016 draft on June 11th, 2016.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .220/.324/.458 with 4 HR over 68 PA / 109 wRC+ / 0.2 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Nate has spent the last five New Year’s Days on mission trips to the Bahamian island of Eleuthera (eh-LOOTH-er-uh)…the annual trip lasts eight days and centers around ministry to young people

Manuel Margot, OF

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with C/OF Logan Driscoll from the San Diego Padres in exchange for RHP Emilio Pagan on February 8th, 2020.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .271/.331/.350 with 1 HR over 154 PA / 94 wRC+ / 0.5 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Manuel began riding horses at a young age… he was afforded the opportunity to do so as his father, Enmanuel, worked on a farm…he still finds time to ride his own horse named Pencoté…he described it as his “favorite thing to do” to the San Diego Union-Tribune

Shane McClanahan, LHP

  • How did they arrive: Selected in the first round of the 2018 draft on June 4th, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: No
  • 2020 Performance: Hasn’t played in the big leagues. Spent the season at the alternate training site in Port Charlotte.
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

In 2018, spent four days at the Rays Dominican academy getting a firsthand look at the organization’s Latin American operations

Austin Meadows , OF

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with RHP Tyler Glasnow and RHP Shane Baz from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for RHP Chris Archer on July 31st, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes, on the 10-day IL
  • 2020 Performance: .205/.296/.371 with 4 HR over 152 PA / 86 wRC+ / -0.2 fWAR.
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

He loves to fish, and the biggest fish he has ever caught was in Florida: an 80-pound tarpon that took an hour to reel in

Charlie Morton, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Signed as a free agent on December 21st, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 2-2 / 4.64 ERA / 3.88 FIP / 23.0 K% / 6.1 BB% / 0.6 fWAR / 8 G / 33 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Charlie’s gift for singing and playing music is well-known among teammates and friends…he taught himself to play guitar early in his professional baseball career and, despite not being able to read music, has written 10-15 original songs… publicly, he has performed at the wedding of former Braves teammate and good friend Chuck James, on stage at Pirates Fan Fest and various bars in the minor leagues…at live music venues, his teammates would sometimes ask the performers if Charlie could take the stage during their breaks…he even went as far as booking professional studio time in Providence, R.I., but the tracks are lost to time

Brian O’Grady, OF

  • How did they arrive: Acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a player to be named later on November 27th, 2019
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .400/.400/.600 with 0 HR over 5 PA / 177 wRC+ / 0.1 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

He lost a Home Run Derby to Bryce Harper in Cooperstown, N.Y., when he was 11 years old… photos of the event show a “normal-sized” Brian alongside a towering Harper.

Michael Perez, C

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with RHP Brian Shaffer from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for July 25th, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .173/.236/.247 with 1 HR over 89 PA / 36 wRC+ / -0.4 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Michael and his wife, Maria, have three children: Ilianys (8), Camila (6) and Liam (1)…both of his daughters are involved with gymnastics and he helps them practice by performing moves like splits and jumps with them around the house.

Brett Phillips, OF

  • How did they arrive: Acquired from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for SS Lucius Fox on August 27th, 2020
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .174/.269/.326 with 1 HR over 52 PA / 63 wRC+ / 0.0 fWAR (between Tampa Bay and Kansas City)
  • Tidbit from Royals media guide:

Was neighbors with professional wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage as a teenager in Seminole, FLA...They used to play HORSE together every day after school, but Phillips never won.

Hunter Renfroe, OF

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with INF Xavier Edwards and a player to be named later from the San Diego Padres in exchange for OF Tommy Pham and INF Jake Cronenworth on December 6th, 2019.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .148/.244/.400 with 8 HR over 131 PA / 75 wRC+ / -0.5 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Days after the Padres made him their top pick out of Mississippi State in 2013, Hunter caught a possum with his bare hands as a friend captured the achievement on video…the clip made the rounds on social media…the next day, his coaches suggested he cease the practice, since the Padres might not appreciate it as much as his friends.

Trevor Richards, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with RHP Nick Anderson from the Miami Marlins in exchange for RHP Ryne Stanek and OF Jesus Sanchez on July 31st, 2019.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 0-0 / 5.91 ERA / 4.96 FIP / 18.0 K% / 7.3 BB% / 0.1 fWAR / 9 G / 32 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Trevor spent two offseasons as a substitute teacher for his home school district…he would wake every morning at 4 a.m. to go to the gym, then head to school to teach anything from science to physical education…he’d go to the field afterward to work on his pitching.

Ryan Sherriff, LHP

  • How did they arrive: Signed as a minor league free agent on October 17th, 2018
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 1-0 / 0.00 ERA / 3.41 FIP / 6.5 K% / 6.5 BB% / 0.1 fWAR / 9 G / 8.2 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Pitched for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifying rounds

Aaron Slegers, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Claimed off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 30th, 2019
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 0-0 / 3.52 ERA / 3.10 FIP / 20.0 K% / 5.6 BB% / 0.4 fWAR / 10 G / 23 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

In 2019, he became the tallest player in franchise history, passing Jeff Niemann (6’9”) and Mark Hendrickson (6’9”)

Kevan Smith, C

  • How did they arrive: Signed as a minor league free agent on January 13th, 2020.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .222/.364/.407 with 1 HR over 34 PA / 122 wRC+ / 0.1 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Was on the paternity list in 2018 from Aug 3-5 for the birth of his son, Wyatt Daniel, named after his late former teammate and close friend Daniel Webb. He wore “Webby” on the back of his Players’ Weekend jersey and hit his first home run of the season on his first swing of the game on Aug 25 at DET

Blake Snell, LHP

  • How did they arrive: Selected in the first round of the 2011 draft on June 6th, 2011.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 4-2 / 3.24 ERA / 4.34 FIP / 31.0 K% / 8.9 BB% / 0.6 fWAR / 11 G / 50 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

He remodeled his home in Lynnwood, Wash. over the offseason…it features a dedicated gaming space with a custom computer and four monitors on the wall…he collects cleats from fellow athletes to display in the room…he is in the process of remodeling his St. Petersburg home as well, and purchased jet skis to entertain his family and friends.

Ryan Thompson, RHP

  • How did they arrive: Selected from the Houston Astros during the Triple-A phase of the 2018 Rule-5 draft on December 18th, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 1-2 / 4.62 ERA / 4.52 FIP / 18.9 K% / 7.2 BB% / 0.0 fWAR / 24 G / 25.1 IP
  • Tidbit:

Started throwing sidearm a high schooler during a baseball camp at Western Oregon University in 2007 at the suggestion of the coaches there.

“The coaches at Western advised me to give sidearm a try. It was a situation where I had nothing to lose, being a JV player the previous season as a sophomore. I trained with my dad all winter and never looked back. That very next season broke 10 school records and a handful of state of Oregon records.”

Yoshi Tsutsugo, OF

  • How did they arrive: Signed as a free agent on December 16th, 2019.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .195/.305/.403 with 8 HR over 174 PA / 98 wRC+ / 0.2 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Six Rays staffers, including Kevin Cash and Erik Neander, discreetly slipped away from the Winter Meetings in San Diego this offseason to drive to Los Angeles and meet with Yoshi in person following an introductory phone call… the Rays presented a 20-page information guide on the team and Tampa Bay area

Joey Wendle, 2B

  • How did they arrive: Acquired from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for C Jonah Heim on December 11th, 2017
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .281/.337/.438 with 4 HR over 175 PA / 114 wRC+ / 0.9 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Joey is one of the leaders among Rays players when it comes to the weekly baseball chapel… he frequently leads the players’ weekly bible study and serves as the team contact for visiting chaplains

Ryan Yarbrough, LHP

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with OF Mallex Smith and INF Carlos Vargas from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for LHP Drew Smyly on Janaury 11th, 2017.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: 1-4 / 3.78 ERA / 3.98 FIP / 18.0 K% / 5.4 BB% / 0.7 fWAR / 10 G / 52.1 IP
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

He grew up a Rays fan and kept some 2008 World Series gear in his bedroom of his Lakeland home, which he found after he was acquired in a four player trade from the Mariners…he admired David Price, James Shields and Scott Kazmir as a youngster, and still has a Kazmir jersey he received as a 15-year-old hanging in his closet.

Mike Zunino, C

  • How did they arrive: Acquired along with OF Guillermo Heredia and LHP Michael Plassmeyer from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for OF Jake Fraley and OF Mallex Smith on November 8th, 2018.
  • On the 40-man roster: Yes
  • 2020 Performance: .129/.218/.357 with 4 HR over 78 PA / 57 wRC+ / -0.1 fWAR
  • Tidbit from Rays media guide:

Mike’s parents met in Italy while playing in the country’s premier baseball and softball leagues…his father, Greg, was selected by the Yankees in the 1981 June Draft and is a southeast crosschecker for the Reds…his mother, Paola, was a catcher on the Italian national softball team