- Evan Longoria. In his first week of professional games, Longoria is making the Devil Rays look good with their selection of the infielder with the 4th pick in this year’s draft. In 7 games, Longoria has 14 hits and is batting .452 with 4 home runs and 11 RBI. In his first week, he has a 5-6 game and last night he was 3-4 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI. And while it is still early, he has an impressive 4:3 strikeout to walk ratio. Andrew Friedman has stated that the plan is to have Longoria play the entire season at Hudson Valley, and manager Joe Maddon is on the record as saying that the team’s prospects need to prove themselves at each level before they will be promoted. It will be interesting to see if the team moves up the timetable for Longoria if he continues to dominate the single A New York-Penn league.
- Jeff Niemann. Niemann made his second start of the 2006 season Sunday. The team continues to bring him back slowly as Niemann only worked four innings picking up his second loss. He allowed 3 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs, while striking out 5. The Biscuits have yet to score a run in Niemann’s starts.
- Delmon Young. Young has picked up right where left off, following his 50-game suspension. In 7 games he is 9-24 (.375). Unfortunately he still hasn’t shown the power this season that is expected from him. In those 7 games, he has 1 extra-base hit (double) and 4 RBI. In 27 games Young has only 5 extra-base hits (4 doubles and 1 triple). No home runs must be a reason for concern for the Devil Rays brass. Delmon had 26 home runs between Montgomery and Durham last season and is considered one of the better power prospects in the minors.
- J. P. Howell. Howell was scheduled to make his second start for the Durham Bulls last night, but the game was rained out. Look for Howell to be on the mound for today’s double-header.
- Juan Salas. The minor league player we want most to see playing in the Trop? B. J.? No… Delmon? No… Jeff Niemann? No…The player we want in the majors more than anybody is Juan Salas. Another week for Salas and another week not allowing any runs. The converted infielder can hit the upper 90s with a fastball that has been labeled as a “natural cutter”. Since his promotion to Durham, Salas has pitched 7 innings in 5 appearances, allowing 2 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 8. We understand that Salas has only been in Durham for two weeks, and the team does not want to rush him, but what are they waiting for? He does walk batters a little more than you would like, but it seems like nobody can hit him. In 41.2 innings this season, he has allowed 15 (!) hits. The Devil Rays need help in the bullpen. Juan Salas is that help.
- Other Notes. Kevin Witt continues to lead the International League in home runs and RBI with 19 and 53. He is hitting .297 and has major league experience. Look for Witt to share time with Ty Wiggington at first base if and when Travis Lee is traded…B. J. Upton leads the IL in stolen bases with 30, but has been caught 13 times. He is hitting .264-5-31…2B Eliot Johnson is hitting .290-10-30 with 11 doubles, 7 triples and 13 stolen bases at Montgomery…SS Reid Brignac is 3rd in the California League with a .334 batting average, and is 4th in home runs with 14…Jacob McGee and Wade Davis are 1-2 in the Midwest League with 108 and 101 strikeouts respectively.