It appears that the Devil Rays front office is starting to let up on the reigns of some of their young prospects. Earlier this week J. P. Howell, Ben Zobrist and B. J. Upton were called up to the majors and made their Devil Rays debut on Tuesday night. Now comes word that Evan Longoria, this years first round pick, along with the Cajun God of Baseball, Reid Brignac and Patrick Breen, have all been promoted from high-A Visalia to AA Montgomery.
Brignac was 4th in the California League with a .326 batting average, 2nd with 83 RBI, tied for 2nd with 21 home runs and 2nd with a .939 OPS. Much like his older counterpart, Upton, Brignac has struggled with the glove, making 27 errors. Breen was also tied for second in the league with 21 home runs while hitting .282. Meanwhile, while some teams are still coming to terms with their top picks, the Rays top pick, Longoria, has already been promoted two times. Longoria started out at single-A Hudson Valley (mainly because of the California League All-Star break), where he hit .424-4-11 in 8 games. He was then promoted to Visalia where he hit .327-8-28 in 28 games.
While Brignac still needs some seasoning, especially with his glove, Longoria is clearly on the fast track to the major leagues. But at what position? Will Longoria be given a chance to win the starting shortstop job next spring? Probably not, but the team will definitely give him a look there next Spring and also in 2007 where he will probably start the season at AAA Durham. Then again, if he keeps hitting the way he has hit so far as a professional, is it really out of the question that we could see Longoria playing at The Pit in September?