Tim Beckham

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 Kevin Cash and the Rays are thinking as we head towards the regular season.

Below is a look at how the players are being used so far this spring.

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 the Rays think a player is ready for the big league roster, or if Cash wants to see if a player is ready, that player will see more playing time early. Playing time for designated hitters is represented by at bats as a starter or sub (our notes on the table can be found below)…

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  • 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. At most, one or two of these players will make the opening day roster. Players in cross-shading have already been cut or were brought over from minor league camp to help fill out a game roster.
  • Kevin Cash does 2 things in the spring differently than Joe Maddon: 1) Cash appears to be resting his starters more than Maddon did with starters often only playing 4 innings so far this spring. Maddon almost always kept starters in for 5-6 innings even early in the spring; and 2) Maddon liked to do NL-style double-switches in the spring and Cash does not. For example, if Tim Beckham is replacing Asdrubal Cabrera in the field, Cash will also have Beckham replace Cabrera in the batting order. A straight substitution. Maddon almost never did that. For example, Beckham might move into Evan Longoria’s spot in the batting order even though he will play shortstop and at the same time maybe Logan Forsythe would take Cabrera’s spot even though he would be playing third base.
  • It looks like Logan Forsythe will see plenty of playing time at first base this year against left-handed pitchers. He will also serve as the back-up third baseman.
  • It’s looking more and more like Asdrubal Cabrera will be the shortstop and Tim Beckham will be the second baseman with Nick Franklin serving as a utility player.
  • David DeJesus will be the fourth outfielder unless he gets traded.
  • If Grant Balfour, Brad Boxberger, Kevin Jepsen, Jeff Beliveau, and Ernesto Frieri are locks for the bullpen, that leaves 2 spots. The leading candidates would appear to be CJ Riefenhauser, Kirby Yates, Steve Geltz, Brandon Gomes, and Everett Teaford.
  • If you are looking for a non-roster invitee to make the team, the two best bets are catcher Bobby Wilson and pitcher Everett Teaford. At the very least, Wilson looks like he will be the all-important third catcher that will be in Durham but will almost certainly be needed in the big leagues at some point this season.
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3 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks for the post Cork! Probably my favorite chart you put together all season. It will be interesting to see how Cash decides on the utility/bench players. Casilla and Elmore both have gotten a lot of play time. It doesn't look like Juan Francisco will have a spot on the big club.

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  2. Kevin says:

    Thanks cork. Surprised it's fairly one sided at second base but looking forward to seeing beckham on a regular basis after all these years.

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  3. Ted Sheckler says:

    I think the early spring playing time may be a little skewed this year at the 2b/ss. I think the Rays would have preferred a platoon of Franklin and Beckham at short but weren't sure if Franklin could handle short. So Franklin got most of his early innings at short. And since Beckham hadn't played very many games at all since September 2013, they gave him a ton of playing time at both short and second. I think the early spring has shown that Franklin probably can't play short regularly, and Beckham needs to play every day for a while in AAA to get back into actually playing baseball again (and continue to improve). I would be surprised if Franklin wasn't starting at 2b against righties this year and Beckham wasn't bouncing between 2b and SS at AAA this year. The problem with that is Lee needs regular time at short in AAA and Ryan Brett has no business going back to AA. Maybe they'll give Brett some games in the outfield at AAA this year to increase his versatility if they send Beckham to AAA. Wouldn't be a bad idea. And contrary to a report or two out there, Beckham is not out of options yet.

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