Devil Rays (66-96)
Durham pitching coach, Xavier Hernandez is considered to be a major league pitching coach-in-waiting. Having spent 2006 with Montgomery and this past season with the Bulls, X may have as much to do with the recent surge in top pitching prospects in the Devil Rays organization as anybody. In a recent interview, X discusses various topics including the Rays top pitching prospects and making the adjustment from AAA to the majors. On Mitch Talbot:

“Talbot, he was a little bit inconsistent, but he did lead the league with 15 [wins],” Hernandez said. “I think he learned a lot just about himself. He realized that the Triple-A hitters are a lot more disciplined. So he has to work on just being aggressive with being in the strike zone more often. Stuff-wise, he’s good. But he still has a little bit more growing, has to learn about himself.”

On Jeff Niemann:

“He’s going to be good,” Hernandez said. “He still needs a little bit more seasoning, and I think it was probably the right call to not bring him up [this season]. He will be ready, and probably in the near future. He’s definitely got a Major League career ahead of him.”

Having never heard or read an in depth interview with Xavier Hernandez prior to this one, it is difficult to know whether these comments are muted to keep the young hurlers motivated or if this is exactly how X feels. If they are his true feelings, the comments on Niemann may be very telling. The tone of the comment leads one to believe that Hernandez does not see Niemann as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. On Andy Sonnanstine and the transition from AAA to the Majors:

“There were some things we needed to work on at Triple-A, but he was a little bit resistant because he was having so much success,” Hernandez said. “And we’d say, ‘You’re going to have to do this to be successful at the Major League level. But he wouldn’t do it, because he had success. Then once he got here and struggled some, it was like, ‘That’s what X was talking about.’ … Sometimes you’re going to have to experience failure to grow.”

Hernandez aiding hurlers in Durham [MiLB]

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. Can Jake McGee and Wade Davis do anything without each other? The latest? McGee and Davis find themselves together on the second team for Baseball America’s Minor League All-Stars. Only five pitchers were named to the second team. If and when they ever get married, I hope their future wives know what they are getting themselves in to…In all, the Devil Rays had five players named to the All-Star team. Evan Longoria was named first team third baseman. Joining Davis and McGee on the second team are Ryan Royster and Desmond Jennings. [Baseball America]
  • Pythagoras did more than invent triangles. He is an amazing predictor of how well baseball teams will perform. Of the 3o major league teams, Pythagoras predicted within 5 wins, the record of 24 teams. And maybe we shouldn’t have looked at this season’s record for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a disappointment. The team’s final record of 66-96 is exactly what Pythagoras predicted in the preseason.
    [Batter's Box]
  • Evan Longoria has a sex tape out on the internet? [Lalate]

It’s sex tape season! Britney Spears? Evan Longoria? Meg White? Natalie Portman?

  • Dave Martinez, an original Devil Ray, may be returning to the team as a coach. Last week, he interviewed for one of the vacant coaching positions. [tampabay.com]
  • The Montgomery Biscuits were named the MiLB AA team of the year. [Our Sports Central]
  • Carl Crawford is the only player in recent memory to come close to winning the speedster’s triple crown (lead the league in steals, runs and triples). In 2004 and 2006, CC lead the AL in steals and triples, but neither time he was in the top 10 in runs scored. Dom DiMaggio is the last player to achieve the triple, in 1950. [Baseball Digest Daily]
  • Man, I knew somebody would eventually discover that I had a major league arm. I just didn’t realize that it had already happened. [Bradenton Herald]
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