The Process Report Spring Preview: The Depth | The Process Report

The Process Report Spring Preview: The Depth

With camp opening this week, we’re going to begin previewing the roster in segments. Today we’ll focus on the players with the potential to appear in the majors throughout the season. The format is as follows:

Player name
2012 role
Expected 2013 role
A brief breakdown of the player

Tim Beckham | Alex Colome | Hak-Ju Lee | Mike Montgomery | Jake Odorizzi | Wil Myers | Frank De Los Santos | Mike Fontenot | Stephen Vogt |  Robinson Chirinos | Alex Torres

Tim Beckham
Shortstop/Second Base
Spent 2012 at Triple-A Durham.
Expected to return to Durham for seasoning; should make his major-league debut in 2013.
Drafted as a shortstop, Beckham started seeing time at second base last summer and could shift around the diamond even more this year in an effort to increase his versatility. He isn’t going to be a star – which is what you’re hoping to get with the first-overall pick in the draft – but he could develop into a useful, low-cost utility player in Tampa Bay as soon as this season.

Alex Colome
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Split 2012 between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.
Expected to spend the majority of 2013 in Durham; could be a second-half bullpen option.
Colome likely would have made his major-league debut last September had he not strained his latissimus dorsi in mid-August. His bread-and-butter pitch is a heavy mid-90s fastball, and he also owns a pair of breaking pitches and a useful changeup. Tampa Bay’s rotation depth could mean that Colome breaks in as a reliever, but he has the upside of a solid number-three starter if his command improves.

Hak-Ju Lee
Spent 2012 at Double-A Montgomery
Expected to spend most of the year at Triple-A Durham.
No one questions Lee’s defensive ability: he’s an acrobat with a strong arm that won’t have any trouble playing shortstop at the major-league level. His future value will be tied to the development of his bat, and scouts are divided on whether he’ll ever be more than a nine-hole hitter.

Mike Montgomery
Left-handed Starting Pitcher
Split 2012 between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in the Kansas City Royals organization.
Expected to take his third crack at Triple-A.
Once considered the brightest of Kansas City’s pitching prospects, Montgomery has hit a wall since reaching Triple A in 2011, posting a 5.46 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, and 1.75 K/BB in 45 games (242.1 innings). The Rays have a strong history of straightening out pitchers at Durham, so there is some reason for optimism in Montgomery’s case.

Jake Odorizzi
Right-handed Starting Pitcher
Split 2012 between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha before making his major-league debut with the Kansas City Royals in September.
Currently eighth on the Rays starting pitcher depth chart, Odorizzi will likely spend the majority of 2013 in Triple-A.
For many clubs, Odorizzi would be penciled in as the fourth or fifth starter heading into the season. In Tampa Bay, however, where depth is king, he’s slated to return to Triple A, a level at which he went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA, 7.4 K/9, and 2.2 K/BB in 2012.

Wil Myers
Split 2102 between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in the Kansas City Royals organization.
Will likely open the season at Durham in order for the Rays to manage his service time.
The centerpiece of the James Shields trade terrorized the upper levels of the minor leagues en route to winning Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year award. He’s close to a finished product now, and should provide a jolt to the Rays offense when he’s recalled sometime in June or July. – Bradley Ankrom

Frank De Los Santos
Left-Handed Reliever
Split 2012 between Double- and Triple-A
Expected to open the season back in Durham with a chance at a promotion throughout the year
An organizational fixture, albeit on the minor-league scene, De Los Santos improved enough on the mound last season for the Rays to add him to the 40-man roster. He pitches in the low-to-mid-90s and his secondary stuff has improved to the point where he might become more than a specialist.

Mike Fontenot
Spent part of 2012 with the Phillies before being released
Expected to serve as organizational depth in Durham
Is a little guy but he hits for more power than you’d expect thanks to a longer, more leveraged swing than most players his size. Boasts above-average speed yet it rarely shows up in-games. Arm doesn’t play well on the left side of the infield. Elliot Johnson-like, except with a track record of big-league success at the plate.

Stephen Vogt
Had a few stints with the big-league club, but otherwise stayed in Durham
Expected to spend most of the year in Durham
Added to the 40-man roster because of his bat, Vogt didn’t record a hit during his big-league stay in 2012. He’s a contact-focused hitter but one with questionable secondary skills and athleticism. Doesn’t have much defensive value so his days on the roster will correlate with his ability to hit big-league pitching. – R.J. Anderson

Robinson Chirinos
Missed all of 2012 after suffering concussion in spring training
Expected to spend most of 2013 in Durham
Forced to prioritize health over any baseball concerns last year while dealing with frightening chronic post-concussion symptoms. Returned to catching this winter in  Venezuela, a positive sign of recovery. Will spend this season trying to regain form that once made him a candidate for a roster spot with the big club. – Joel Kennedy-Ramos

Alex Torres
Left-Handed Starter
Spent entire season in minors
Could sneak into the majors after beginning in the minors
Struggled with control throughout the season. Mechanics were out of whack and weren’t improved until spending time in the low-minors with a long-time coach. Once he returned his numbers improved. Could have a huge bounce back season if the changes stick.- Jason Collette

Tim Beckham | Alex Colome | Hak-Ju Lee | Mike Montgomery | Jake Odorizzi | Wil Myers | Frank De Los Santos | Mike Fontenot | Stephen Vogt |  Robinson Chirinos | Alex Torres


  1. buddaley wrote:

    I wonder if you might add a few more names to the list of players considered “depth”. Examples: Shelley Duncan, Leslie Anderson, Cole Figueroa, Jason Bourgeois, Rich Thompson, Nick Weglarz, Vince Belnome.

    I realize these players are less likely to play in the majors in 2013 than those you list, but there are cases we might hypothesize which would lead the Rays to promote each. Suppose a RH bat becomes desirable due to Loney’s continual ineptitude vs lefty pitchers. Were Duncan to be displaying some power in Durham, might he not be called up?

    Or suppose Fuld were injured and the Rays did not want to promote Myers yet? Might Thompson or Bourgeois get the call?

    Do you see any of them as useful depth, or is it your view that they are simply not worth considering except as minor league roster filler?

    • Tommy Rancel wrote:

      I think it is a good thing that they are in the organization. I am particularly fond of Cole Figueroa. That said, if we get into a position like last year where the Brooks Conrads and Rich Thompsons are playing, things have taken a turn for the worst. I think guys like Guyer, Fontenot, Beckham are most likely the first lines of defense for injury.

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