Devil Rays (66-96)
Don’t look now but Elijah Dukes is playing baseball and hitting home runs.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Evan Longoria and Justin Ruggiano have begun play with Team USA. Before heading to the World Cup in Chinese Taipei, Team USA is playing warm-up games against the rest of the Arizona Fall League. Longoria batted 3rd and played 3rd and went 1-3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts in the first game. Ruggiano was 1-4 with an RBI. In the 2nd game, Longoria DH’d and hit clean-up going 1-4 with an RBI and 2 strike outs. Ruggiano was 0-3 with a walk.
  • Evan Longoria and Reid Brignac in the Arizona Fall League are not the only big name Devil Rays playing baseball right now. In the Dominican Winter League, Elijah Dukes is trying to put his troubled past behind him and trying once again to show why he is considered one of the most talented prospects in baseball. He is off to a hot start. Before Sunday’s game, he was 8-21 with 5 extra-base hits and 4 walks. [Rotoworld]
  • Bugs & Cranks is rooting for Elijah Dukes and reviews his first week in the Dominican Winter League. [Bugs & Cranks]
  • In their second installment of “The Redemption of Elijah Dukes”, Bugs & Cranks provides us with the above video as well as a second video of an RBI single by Elijah Dukes. [Bugs & Cranks]
  • John Romano compares the Colorado Rockies path to success to the path that the Devil Rays are currently on. Yes, there are a lot of similarities, but the notion that the Rockies invented the idea of building a successful low payroll team through drafting and developing young talent is a stretch. Yes, they are team du jour but plenty of teams have used this method long before the Rockies employed it and several of those teams have enjoyed the same level of success. That is, playoffs. No titles. [tampabay.com]
  • We are not sure why Marc Topkin feels the need to compare that Rays to the success of other “low-payroll” teams. Those teams (Cleveland, Colorado and Arizona) all had a 2007 payroll of approximately twice the Rays payroll. They may be in the lower third of the league in terms of payroll, but that does not mean the Rays are in the same league. [tampabay.com]
  • Baseball Prospectus includes the Devil Rays bullpen as one of the 10 most disgraceful performances of 2007. Considering the bullpen ranked as the worst bullpen of all time in several categories, one could argue that they should be #1. [Baseball Prospectus]
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3 Comments

  1. Robert Rittner says:

    Before every season, my son and I pick the 5 Rays we consider sleepers. My 5 picks were Shields, Pena, Navarro, Reyes and Dukes. Of those 5, the one I thought had the highest ceiling was Dukes, so you can imagine how disappointed I was with how things worked out. What I see is an incredibly talented ballplayer with outstanding plate discipline, a terrific work ethic, tremendous baseball intelligence and a fierce desire to star.

    At this point, I could not complain if the Rays send him packing even for little return, but I live in hope that what appears a sociopathic character can manage to survive in TB. I think the Rays have been very smart in their handling of the situation, refusing to throw in the towel on so much talent while not allowing him to pollute the atmosphere. If there is any chance at all that he can perform, I hope he does it here, because I really think he is special. But I am not optimistic.

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  2. The Professor says:

    I mentioned it earlier in the season when the news first broke about the troubles with him and his wife...when the season started he was the one player that i was most looking forward to see play. not delmon young. not bj upton. not carl crawford. not even rocco, who appeared ready for a healthy season. nope. it was dukes. the pure raw natural ability hinted that he had a good chance to be just as good and probably better than all of those other players.

    so i think we are in the same boat. part of me says good riddance. but another part of me says, man, i would love to see what this kid can do. and maybe just maybe, he wont have this attitude his entire career like milton bradley or carl everett.

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  3. Robert Rittner says:

    If Dukes can stay in the majors like Bradley and Everett did he has a chance to really be something special. I think the performances of the other two have certainly been affected by their characters but injuries have also limited their success. If Dukes can avoid the injuries, which so far do not seem to be an issue, and just manage to remain out of legal trouble, the Rays may have a star.

    We are indeed on the same page about this. His failure was my biggest disappointment in 2007, and I am no longer so much hopeful as resigned.

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