The Rays rarely like to speak openly about roster decisions before the decisions are made. And part of that is that the Rays are a team that will rarely make a decision before they absolutely have to.
However, we can get a good idea of the what the Rays are thinking and which way they are leaning on a number of decisions just by looking closely at how the players are being used during spring training.
Below is a table that takes a look at Spring Training playing time. We have some comments on the table below, but first a couple of notes on how the table is laid out.
The first column (“1-5″) represents the number of innings each player has played at that position in the first five innings of spring games. Typically teams use their top players for the first five innings of each game. So if Joe Maddon wants to see how a player performs against Major League competition, the player will play more often early in games. The second column (“6+”) represents playing time in the sixth inning or later. The exception is for DHs. For these players, the first column represents the number of at bats as the starting DH. The second column is the number of at bats as a substitute DH. Players in bold are on the 40-man roster…
This list will be updated frequently…
A few notes on the table…
- It is still early, but right now it looks like the second catcher is a battle between Jose Lobaton and Chris Gimenez. So far, Robinson Chirinos has been limited to end-of-game duty.
- Non-roster invitees will get a lot of looks early to see if they should be part of the mix. This is done so that regulars will get more duty later in the spring.
- Joe Maddon seems at least a little intrigued by Stephen Vogt. He’s not ready now, but at some point, Vogt could be a utility player as well as a third catcher which would give Maddon more flexibility with his guys behind the plate.
- Of the pitchers, it is worth noting that not only have Jhonny Nunez and Ryan Reid pitched more than one inning (something Maddon loves), but they did it early in the games. On the other hand, Burke Badenhop, a player some think will make the opening day lineup was used late in a game.