Chris from Watching Durham Bulls Baseball brought to our attention a glaring weakness in the Rays organizational depth. Not only is there only one active lefty in the Rays bullpen. There are very few lefty options in the minor leagues right now

RAYS – Randy Choate, (JP Howell on DL)

AAA – (RJ Swindle on DL)

AA – Darin Downs

And that’s it. Two healthy lefty relievers in the majors or upper-level minor leagues.

At some point, the Rays may have to turn to one of their lefty starting pitchers such as Heath Phillips or Carlos Hernandez. Phillips career minor league splits don’t suggest that he is any tougher on lefties while Hernandez does have favorable splits against lefties. Also, both Jake McGee and Alex Torres in AA could be lefty options in the future. But neither figures to be available to the Rays anytime soon.

You can be certain that when Andrew Friedman talks to other GMs, he is asking about lefty relievers. But finding one of those this time of the year will not be easy.

Then again, there is always Brian Shouse.



  1. Gus says:

    Every Bulls/Biscut starter better be thinking about a relief role if they want to make the show in the near future. That is a nice staff of big, young guys on the Rays right now.

    • I agree with Gus. I think the Rays are planning on developing either Alex Torres or Jake McGee as a lefty specialist. Both of those guys better embrace that role or they're not going to sniff the big leagues.

  2. td says:

    Lance Cormier does well against lefties. Choate has historically done well against lefties. JP Howell will be back in 4 weeks.

    • Good point on Cormier but Howell worries me. I have no idea what to expect from him when he returns. Not to mention JoeMa has never really used him as a "lefty" reliever.

  3. Alex says:

    Jake McGee will not be a lefty specialist. He has way to good of stuff to be relegated to one batter a game. If he can fully recover and show consistency then he will either be a set up man or future closer.

    • Sorry, poor choice of words. I meant to say a "lefty reliever", not specialist. I haven't seen McGee pitch with my own eyes, so I can't make a judgement on his stuff. However, the McGee to reliever roll came from something I read recently. I want to say it was Topkin over the weekend talking about the Rays bullpen.

      • Alex says:

        Putting McGee in the relief role has been discussed for a while now. I believe it started before he even got hurt because he wasn't really going to have a place on the team with Davis advancing ahead of him, Price, Kazmir, Niemmenn etc..

  4. Alex says:

    I wouldn't worry about lefty specialists as much as I would relievers in general. The Rays got lucky in 08 with the way that pen came together but ever since it has been sort of patch worked together. The rays should put more emphasis on either trading for better younger guys or creating them out of starters. Look at Boston. They sucked KC into trading one year of Cocco Crisp for Ramon Ramirez who, this year withstanding, has been a very good part of their pen. Not to mention they brought up Bard, Paplebon, and DelCarmen (I think). While the Rays are constantly going through the scrap heaps of other teams, minus JP, hoping to get lucky. Which with Balfour we did for one season.


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