The Tampa Bay Rays always make early November trades as they look to trim from their surplus of talent near the active roster in order to help clear space on the 40-man roster while also keeping an eye on the future.
In years past, the Rays have parted ways with the likes of Tobias Myers and Christopher Sanchez in little noticed trades that brought Junior Caminero and Curtis Mead to the team; two players that eventually ranked as two of the best prospects in all of baseball.
During a frenzy of roster activity last week, the Rays two more trades that’d be easy to miss.
They traded catcher Blake Hunt to the Seattle Mariners for another catcher, Tatem Levins, and RHP Michael Mercado to the Philadelphia Phillies for RHP Adam Leverett.
Catcher Tatem Levins
Tatem Levins crushes a game tying 3-run HR! Modesto was down 7-0. pic.twitter.com/1sALQnZgwS— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 4, 2023
Levins hits from the left side of the plate and is already 24, having just finished his first full season as a professional. He spent the entire season in Single-A, where he hit .286/.35/.476 with 9 HR over 279 plate appearances, registering 124 wRC+ as one of the oldest players in Single-A. He was an eighth round selection by the Mariners in the 2022 draft.
Here is what Baseball America had to say about him prior to his selection:
Levins played three years at La Salle before transferring to Pittsburgh this season. As a 23-year-old in 2022, Levins hit .321/.435/.613 with 33 walks, 31 strikeouts and 16 home runs in 56 games, producing his power with more strength than bat speed. He’s an offensive-minded catcher who should be an inexpensive senior signing.
RHP Adam Leverett
Nasty changeup from Reading's Adam Leverett to get out of the 2nd inning pic.twitter.com/SXLJkQlTFO— Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL) July 18, 2021
Leverett seemed to be a prototypical hurler when the Phillies selected in the 15th round of the 2019 draft. A peculiar note on this trade is that Leverett is also eligible for the Rule 5 draft, but the Rays seem keen to thick him unlikely to be selected.
He made his pro debut in 2019, but then like most minor leaguers, missed out on 2020. He was back in in 2021 and pitched in a couple of Triple-A games, but has only thrown in Double-A games over the past two seasons since.
The 2023 season was his best yet, but there weren’t many great performances to compare that to; Leverett finished the 2023 season with a 3.94 ERA | 3.96 FIP with a 19.0 K% and 9.9 BB% over 64 innings pitched.