Despite yesterday being an off day for the Rays, organization-wise, a lot happened.
As a result of a domino effect started by the surprise promotions of Jake Bauers and Jacob Faria to double-A, a number of players around the Rays system have spent time traveling to their new levels (including five top prospects). So far this season, several of the Rays top prospects have put up solid performances that have warranted promotions, or a brief cup of coffee (Mikie Mahtook & Ryan Brett) in the majors.
Here's a quick recap of the past few days, starting at the major league level.
- Acquired first baseman Mark Krauss from the Angels in exchange for Kyle 'Fonzarelli' Winkler, whom the organization signed as a minor league free agent earlier this season.
- Optioned the heavily-slumping Nick Franklin to triple-A Durham.
- Promoted outfielder Boog Powell to Durham.
- Promoted Jacob Faria and Jake Bauers to Montgomery.
- Promoted Brent Honeywell and Jace Conrad to Charlotte.
Mark Krauss will provide that Rays with something they very much need: an actual first baseman. James Loney has twice gone to the DL this year and in his place, the Rays have allowed the likes of Jake Elmore, Logan Forsythe, Nick Franklin, and Allan Dykstra to attempt to play the position with disappointing results (none of those players have combined both acceptable defense with first-base-caliber offense). One wonders why this move wasn't made sooner, considering that Loney is due back in only a couple of weeks and then something will need to be done with Krauss, but the Rays will cross that bridge when they come to it.
Boog Powell will be joining Richie Shaffer as the second Rays top prospect to be promoted to Durham this year. Shaffer has excelled in his month at triple-A. After slashing .262/.362/.470 with 7 HR in 39 games with Montgomery, Shaffer has dominated the International League by slashing .306/.393/.694 with 9 HR in only 24 games, which also included a three-homer game. Shaffer has also been selected as one of two members to represent the Rays at this year's Futures Game.
Powell was acquired this past offseason in the Ben Zobrist trade and has hit well all season long for Montgomery. He has slashed .328/.408/.416 with 11 SB and 1 HR in 61 games so far this season, which is good for 140 wRC+. Powell also sports a 13.9 K% and a 10.6 BB%. Durham will have to free a spot on their roster for Powell, but that should be easy considering the number of minor league journeyman on the team.
Here's how Durham looks:
|Notes top-30 Prospect*|
Montgomery is already filled with multiple Rays prospects and they have been joined by four more since the year began; Blake Snell, Ryne Stanek, Jake Bauers, and Jacob Faria.
Snell began the year with an incredible scoreless streak that nearly lasted 50 innings and was split between his time at Charlotte and Montgomery. Since joining Montgomery in early May, he has been solid (albeit not unhittable like he was earlier in the season), but has definitely improved upon his prospect status.
Ryne Stanek was next in line to be promoted and he joined Blake Snell atop of the Biscuits rotation. It seems like an eternity ago when Stanek was selected in the first round of the 2013 draft. He made his professional debut last year but was hampered by injuries. He's seemingly healthy now and is in his first full year with the Rays and the results in Montgomery have been solid.
Jake Bauers was acquired in the Wil Myers deal back in December and is quickly climbing up the Rays prospect ranks. He's likely going to finish the season in Montgomery as a 19 year old, making him the youngest player on the team by more than a year. He arrived in Montgomery with a bang as he homered and went three-for-five yesterday.
Jacob Faria spent three seasons in the rookie leagues, and although he was decent each year, never was given a promotion. In 2014, he finally broke out of the rookie league and became a front-of-the-rotation starter for Bowling Green, and this year, he has continued that breakout. Due to his sudden success, Faria was selected to be in the FSL allstar game (which he started) and has since been promoted to Montgomery.
Here's how the Biscuits currently stand:
|Notes top-30 Prospect*|
Taking Bauers and Faria's spots at Charlotte are Jace Conrad and everyone's favorite screwballer, Brent Honeywell.
Conrad is having a very good year in his second second season after being taken in the thirteenth round of last year's draft. He's been a threat this year both with the bat and on the base paths as he has 10 stolen bases to go along with 10 home runs.
Brent Honeywell was a surprise early round pick in last year's draft, but once we learned what he threw, he became a fan favorite. Honewell is one a few select pitchers who can consistently throw a good screwball and it seems to be easily fooling hitters in the lower levels. He struck out over 30% of hitters in his debut season and hasn't really slowed down this year, while he's kept his walk rate under 5%.
Here's how Charlotte looks today heading into play:
|Notes top-30 Prospect*|
Last year around this time. The Rays system looked barren and bleak, but with a couple of trades and several good draft selections, it's now thriving.