Some highlights from the last weekend of Spring Training:
- We have a roster!
#Rays roster now set with 28 players, w/ Choi and Phillips headed to the IL. Means Sherriff and Springs both made it. Emphasis seems to be on short relievers given 2 days off in 1st 8. Richards, Fleming, Mazza more length guys may be needed once they get to 30 games in 31 days.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 28, 2021
- We have a pitching rotation, at least for the first time through the rotation:
#Rays Glasnow looked great Saturday, striking out 10 of 20 #MnTwins he faced.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 28, 2021
Season opening rotation looks like this:
G1 Thursday vs. #Marlins: Glasnow
G3: Hill or Archer
G4: Wacha/possible opener
Plus notes from Fort Myers ...https://t.co/beHkeJQIy1
Some surprise to see both Sheriff and Reed, but keep in mind that guys with options (like Fleming for example) are likely to go up and down. Cash as also noted that this group addresses the specific needs of the first week or two of the season; long/bulk guys like Richards, Fleming and Richards can stay stretched out at the alternate site, returning when the team needs more starters.
And as for the “Hill or Archer,” not crazy to think this could be “Hill AND Archer.”
- Speaking of our Opening Day pitcher, Glasnow had some impressive swing and miss stuff on Saturday. He struck out 10 batters in 5 innings, and this was a close to normal Twins lineup. He seemed to get whiffs on all his pitches, so that new slider appears to be coming along well, although Cash mentioned some continued work needed on his breaking balls.
- My colleague Brian Menéndez thinks Glasnow has already made progress in differentiating the velocity on his pitches:
Looks like Tyler Glasnow made made the velocity adjustment he needed/wanted to make on the slider. On 3/17 against the Pirates (1st photo) he averaged 86.9 MPH on the pitch, not getting a ton of separation from the curveball (1/2). pic.twitter.com/BjQykok4sr— Brian Menéndez (@briantalksbsb) March 28, 2021
- You can read more about Glasnow and what he is doing to try to harness that obvious talent more consistently in profiles here and here ($).
- On Sunday, number two pitcher Ryan Yarbrough also had his final pre-season appearance and, like Glasnow, can feel good about the results. He pitched into the sixth, allowing three hits and no walks. Sunday’s game also included a 12-run eighth inning, with minor leaguers like Chris Betts and Moises Gomez getting to show off their offensive tools.
- Speaking of Saturday’s game against the Twins, some strange eighth inning happenings. First the bad news: infield prospect Greg Jones strained his quadricep running out an infield hit in the eight inning. (And this, friends, is why we don’t run out Spring Training grounders). Let’s hope it is not a serious injury. But then oddly enough the Rays didn’t, or couldn’t put in a pinch runner for him (they had run through their bench), so the umpires just chalked it up as another out.
- The Rays have fallen a few notches on this best bullpen list with Nick Anderson’s injury, but how many teams could lose their lights-out guy but still be a top ten bullpen?
- Meanwhile, Rays have added some pitching brain power:
The Rays added Brian Reith to their MLB staff in the role of "Major League fellow, pitching development," supporting coaches Kyle Snyder and Stan Boroski.— Adam Berry (@adamdberry) March 28, 2021
Entering his seventh year with the Rays organization, Reith had been assigned to be the Double-A Montgomery pitching coach.
- With vaccinations soon becoming available broadly, players will be among those able to protect themselves and others from infection. Collin McHugh is among them:
Rays pitcher, Collin McHugh on the vaccine:— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) March 28, 2021
“I got mine already. If we want things to go back to normal, we do have to have some sort of immunity. For me personally, it seems the simplest way to do that is the vaccine.”
- I usually bristle when national writers talk trash about Tropicana Field (really, it’s not that awful. And if you are going to complain about it, YOU figure out how we’ll find half a billion $ to pay for its replacement!) but this Joe Posnanski column is pretty delightful. He doesn’t like our stadium, not wild about our uniforms, but he recognizes that the Rays are a team that almost always comes in the season able to compete ($).
Around the League
As we start year two of the pandemic, perhaps you need some podcast refreshes? Here’s a new one on the baseball scene from Ben Verlander, Justin’s brother and one-time Tigers prospect.
Old friend alert: Wade Davis is returning to the Royals, where he arguably had some of his best years.