Camp Preview 2015: The Outfielders
With the season nearing, it’s time to preview the Rays’ roster, unit by unit. Here’s the schedule:
Tuesday – Outfielders
Wednesday – Rotation
Thursday – Bullpen
Friday – Depth pieces and minor leaguers
Walking trade rumor
DeJesus probably won’t be on the roster come Opening Day
Guyer finally stuck and looked the part as a competent backup. He did his best work against left-handed pitching, while also adding value defensively and on the basepaths. He’ll have to continue to answer questions about his durability, but expect him to reprise his bench role.
Jennings continues to languish in baseball purgatory; stuck between stardom and mediocrity. The tools for much more remain: above-average speed on both ends, solid glove at a premium position, and pop at the plate. Meanwhile, the in-game results have been mostly average across the board. A cranky knee ended Jennings’ season prematurely, however, it should not stop him heading in 2015.
Kiermaier enters his first full season in the majors with a higher stock than this time last year. He possesses all the tools to become an impact defender, meaning most of the concerns with him are offensive in nature. His aggressive approach and tendency to hit off his front foot could limit him to down-the-order status, though he’s made a career out of defying expectations.
Corner outfielder/first baseman/DH
Acquired in the Wil Myers’ trade, Souza is expected to replace the former Rookie of the Year winner in the outfield and the middle of the lineup. On the flip side of 25, he posted gaudy minor league numbers in 2014 which has set some projections and those who back them on full tilt. However, scouts vary on his potential. If you split the difference, you have an average right-handed hitter with power, a playable glove in the corner, and some speed despite a sizable frame. Vin Scully once surmised that players who do not live up to potential always take the blame instead of the ones who put those labels upon them; if Souza does not live up to the expectations, then it’s probably not his fault.