Two Tampa Bay Rays prospects broke camp with the big club when the season started. Daniel Robertson (#14 on our list of the top 50 Rays prospects) earned a spot as a utility infielder and has seen action at shortstop and as the designated hitter. Robertson collected his first major-league hit and has looked steady so far. Austin Pruitt (#24) earned a spot in the bullpen but has struggled in his first two appearances. A starter throughout his minor-league career, Pruitt must adjust to warming up and making shorter stints as a reliever.
Their roles on the Rays are likely short-lived as the team awaits players returning from the DL. When either OF Colby Rasmus or IF Matt Duffy returns, Robertson probably is headed back to AAA Durham. When RP Brad Boxberger returns, Pruitt also will be off to join the Durham Bulls. Pruitt may return sooner if he doesn’t show better in his next outing.
One Bulls reliever who might have been next up is hurt, however. Jaime Schultz (#8), a hard thrower who just missed making the squad in spring training, injured his groin in a minor-league appearance. He’ll be on the shelf for the foreseeable future. RP Ryne Stanek (#9) could get the call, though the Rays have a couple of veteran relievers, former Texas Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson among them, recovering from injuries and more likely to be called up first.
There’s more talent in the wings at Durham: SS Willy Adames (#1), OF Jake Bauers (#3), 1B Casey Gillaspie (#4), SP Jacob Faria (#6) and OF Dayron Varona (#35) all could be called up at some point this summer. SP Jose DeLeon, obtained from the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter, is on the disabled list and at extended spring training with a minor injury, but is expected to compete at Durham and at Tampa later this summer.
SP Brent Honeywell (#2) heads the list of top prospects at AA Montgomery and dazzled with 12 strikeouts in six innings in his first start in 2017.
In other news, 18-year-old Dominican Adrian Rondon (#17) has been moved from shortstop to third base where he is expected to play going forward. The Rays are loaded at shortstop. In addition to Adames and Robertson, SS Lucius Fox (#16), a 19-year-old from the Bahamas obtained in a trade last year with the San Francisco Giants, is an exciting shortstop prospect. Rondon is likely to fill out and bulk up as he matures, and may one day replace Evan Longoria at the hot corner.
Article featured image of Austin Pruitt – Jim Donten/Donten Photography via draysbay.com