The positions that a player plays in spring training, the amount of playing time the players receive, and when that playing time is logged, gives us some insight into what Joe Maddon is thinking as we head towards the regular season.
Here are the updated numbers after three weeks. This will likely be the final update as things tend to get kinda screwy in the final week as players prep for the regular season.
Playing time is broken down into total innings played in the early innings (1-5) and the later innings (6+). This is important because if Maddon thinks a player is ready for the big league roster, or if Maddon wants to see if a player is ready, that player will see more playing time early (our notes on the table can be found below)…
- Players in grey are on the 40-man roster. These are the players that are most likely to be on the opening day roster. Players in white are players on minor league contracts with an invite to spring training. Maybe one or two of these players will make the opening day roster. Players in cross-shading are minor leaguers that have already been cut or were brought over from minor league camp to help fill out a game roster.
- With the rotation now settled, the only question among pitchers are the final two spots in the bullpen. Interestingly, based on playing time, Mark Lowe may have an edge over Brandon Gomes and Josh Lueke. The Rays do have an open spot on the 40-man roster. If Juan Carlos Oviedo is not ready for opening day, look for Lower and Gomes to make the team.
- Last week it looked like Ali Solis was a lock to be the third catcher, hanging out in Durham. But he’s been cut as has Curt Casali while Mayo Acosta is still in camp. It is possible that Solis is still the guy and the Rays just want him to get more playing time in minor league camp and maybe get to know those pitchers a little better.
- Interestingly, Sean Rodriguez and Logan Forsythe have seen nearly identical playing time this spring in both the infield and the outfield. Joe Maddon has been very complimentary of Forsythe’s bat. However, despite one nice diving grab his outfield defense has been shaky.
- Brandon Guyer is almost certainly the fourth player on the bench although it is interesting that he has only DH’d once this spring. If he was going to do that regularly during the season, you would think Maddon would want to prep Guyer more for what many consider a mental challenge of only playing in part of the game.