Tampa Bay Rays (66-96)
It takes three things to win in baseball: Pitching, Pitching and Pitching.
On Wednesday, the Rays added Matt Garza to a rotation that already features two of the best young pitchers in baseball, in Scott Kazmir and James Shields. Garza, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, was ranked #21 in Baseball America’s list of “2007 Top 100 Prospects”.
Earlier this week we mentioned that MiLB was unveiling their top 50 prospects and shortstop Reid Brignac was the first Rays farmhand to make the list at #32. Well, considerably more of the list has been revealed and three more Rays prospects have made the list, all starting pitchers.
11. David Price – He’s got tremendous stuff, with a plus fastball, slider and above-average changeup, excellent command of his pitches and the kind of leadership on the mound that screams “future ace.” Price has great makeup and is extremely competitive. Add in the fact that this enticing package all comes in a left-hander and it’s no wonder he nearly hit the top 10.
12. Wade Davis – Davis and McGee. McGee and Davis. It doesn’t matter in which order you put them (though on this list, Davis is ranked higher); both will reach Tampa in short order and help support its quickly improving young offense. Davis got the bump up to Double-A in 2007 earlier than McGee and thus might be a touch closer to joining Scott Kazmir in the Rays’ rotation.
20. Jake McGee – If the Rays are known mostly for their young offensive talent, McGee is a big reason why they’ll soon be known for pitching as well…Another year in the Minors wouldn’t be a bad thing, but he could be ready by late 2008 should the need arise.
With the top 10 yet to be revealed, we don’t know yet whether Evan Longoria will come in at #1, but he will be on the list, which gives the Rays five players in the top 32 and four in the top 20, including three starting pitchers, two of whom are left handed.
One can never assume that prospects will be productive major leaguers, much less develop into a perennial all-star. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that all three of these starting pitchers develop into mid-rotation major league starting pitchers, with one of them blossoming into an ace. If the Rays struggle to sign Soctt Kazmir to a long-term contract, there is a very good chance he will be traded following the 2009 season. Until then? Let’s enjoy the show.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Troy Percival passed his physical yesterday and will be introduced today as the Rays new closer. The deal is 2 years for $8 million, with up to $2 million in incentives. [tampabay.com]
- ESPN is reporting that the Rays have talked to Geoff Jenkins agent for the purpose of playing right field for the Rays in 2008. We understand that it is the Rays responsibility to explore all options, but Jenkins is a player the Rays DO NOT want. He hit a combined 38 home runs the past two seasons and hit .255 last year. He just completed a long-term deal with the Brewers that paid him over $7 million each of the last 4 seasons. What is he commanding on the open market? We have no idea. But if it is more than the league minimum it is too much. A combination of Justin Ruggiano and Jonny Gomes can produce the .255-21-64 line Jenkins produced last year and play defense just as well, if not better. [ESPN]
- Baseball America has the best breakdown yet of all six players involved in the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza trade. [Baseball America]
- Marc Lancaster has quotes from a conference call with Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett. [TBO]
Garza seems to be a live wire, certainly not lacking in confidence, who already has studied up on the Rays and is definitely excited to be coming to Tampa Bay. Bartlett was a bit more reserved and was surprised by the trade, but that fits his businesslike reputation.
- Beyond the Boxscore examines the numbers posted by the six players involved in the trade. [Beyond the Boxscore]
- One Twins blogger thinks the Twins finally got the “uncontrollable hotheaded immature player” that they needed, demonstrating Delmon Young’s effect on the Minnesota clubhouse with…Legos [MN Gameday]
- Yahoo! Sports takes a look at the Rays off-season needs and 2008 projections. We lost them when they referred to Scott Kazmir and James Shields as “a reasonable one-two”. [Yahoo! Sports]
- A lighter take on the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza trade. [Fox Sports]
- One blogger thought it was important enough to take time from his busy life to let everybody know that the Delmon Young-for-Matt Garza trade was not a “blockbuster” as many people have referred to it…Apparently trading a #1 overall pick that hit .290 and drove in 90 and has one of the best arms in baseball, AT AGE 21…for one of the top 20 prospects in baseball does not qualify for “blockbuster” status. We all owe Blogging Baseball an apology. [Blogging Baseball]
- A collection of YouTube clips featuring the three players acquired from the Twins. [DRaysBay]