With the rest of full-season baseball set to open Friday, the Rays finished announcing rosters for their affiliates.
Durham’s roster has been known for a bit because it’s been playing since Tuesday.
Vidal Brujan leads a group of five top-30 prospects starting the season with the Bulls. He’s listed as an outfielder, but his first two games came in the infield — one as a third baseman, and one as a shortstop. As Cole Mitchem noted in his projections for the minor league rosters, there’s not a true shortstop here. Brujan should see quite a bit of time there.
How the catcher situation plays out may be the most interesting thing to follow. Both Rene Pinto and Ford Proctor both need time behind the plate. They’ve each caught one of the first two games.
Taj Bradley is Montgomery’s top prospect, but their deep infield gets all the attention. All four players — Curtis Mead, Greg Jones, Xavier Edwards, and Austin Shenton — should play every day and are worth watching. Mead, Jones, and Edwards are top-10 prospects in the organization, and it may be the most prospect-laden infield in the minors.
Kameron Misner is the only top-30 prospect in the outfield, but they’re going to hit a lot of home runs.
Seth Johnson and John Doxakis are two of the four top-30 prospects starting the season with the Hot Rods. It’s fair to wonder how long Doxakis will be at this level. He had 73 innings at Bowling Green in 2021 and could move quickly with early success.
As Homin Lee noted on Twitter, it’s a high-contact infield. That includes Osleivis Basabe, who only struck out 39 times in 309 plate appearances with Low-A Charleston last season. Basabe, Abiezel Ramirez, and Alika Williams will likely all move around the infield and see time at different positions.
Heriberto Hernandez leads what looks like a productive outfield.
Nonetheless, the RiverDogs have four top-30 prospects to start the season. It’s not quite Montgomery’s infield, but the progress of Ryan Spikes, Willy Vasquez, and Carson Williams is important to watch.
It’s just the second season since most short-season affiliates were eliminated, and we’re getting more indications of how the Rays will manage rosters with that in mind. In previous seasons, players like Williams and Spikes may have stayed in extended spring training for the first two months of the season before playing with Hudson Valley. Now, they’ll go right to a full-season league.
Sandy Gaston and JJ Goss are the most well-known pitchers on the roster, but Antonio Jimenez is another to watch this season.