A depth excess and also lineup problem knows area for the Rays, that relatively make a trade or 2 at the beginning of each offseason to reapportion places to gamers they intend to stay out of the Rule 5 draft. This winter season saw former top infield possibility Xavier Edwards delivered together with reducer JT Chargois to the Marlins for a set of small leaguers no place near the majors.
Even with Edwards no more aware, the Rays have lots of infield skill. That could lead to an additional trade, with a various single top small leaguer likewise seeming on the lineup bubble. Vidal Bruj án played in 52 MLB video games last period and also has actually shown up in the major leagues in each of the previous 2 years. He’s yet to develop himself as a day-to-day gamer, however, and also it’s doubtful whether the Rays remain in an excellent placement to offer him that chance.
Bruj án showed up at the back fifty percent of Baseball America’s top 100 possibility listing each period from 2019-22. A switch-hitter with plus rate, he’s installed a strong.274/.355/.440 line and also 70 taken bases over 166 video games at the Triple- A degree. Bruj án does not have massive power, however he’s an innovative call player and also sports adequate to be a top quality baserunner. He’s dropped on strikes in simply 15.9% of his Triple- A plate looks while strolling at a top quality 10.4% clip.
That top minors manufacturing really did not rollover in his initial considerable major league activity. Over 162 plate looks last period, he struck.163/.228/.259 with 3 homers and also 5 takes in 10 efforts. Those numbers aren’t a completely reasonable representation of his efficiency, as Bruj án’s.193 batting standard on rounds in play will definitely turn up over a much longer example. He really did not strike the sphere hard at the MLB degree however remained to make call at an above-average clip.
Headed right into his age-25 period, Bruj án definitely still has guarantee. Yet he does not have the clearest course to at-bats in Tampa Bay, a minimum of to open up the period. Primarily a center infielder throughout his minors period, he’s definitely not displacing Brandon Lowe or Wander Franco if those gamers are healthy and balanced. The Rays have actually offered him some outfield job to capitalize on his athleticism. Bruj án does not have the sort of power one would certainly get out of a main edge outfielder. He’s not most likely to be the quality of facility fielder Jose Siri or Josh Lowe are offered his absence of high degree experience at the outfield’s most requiring placement.
There’s not a clear course to day-to-day having fun time for Bruj án anywhere at the MLB degree today. He still has one staying choice year, nonetheless, elevating the opportunity of him heading back to Triple- A Durham for an extra period.
Trading Bruj án would certainly stand for a sell-low scenario. He would certainly have worth however would not bring an expensive return after a down newbie period. Keeping him in an energy capability provides supervisor Kevin Cash a possible pinch-runner or protective replacement later on in video games however isn’t most likely to pay for Bruj án the at-bats to play his means right into a much more constant duty.
The last strategy is likewise made complex by the Rays’ excess of different bench opportunities. Assuming the club releases 13 bottles and also placement gamers alike, they’ll have 4 book places offered. One will certainly most likely to the back-up catcher. Luke Raley runs out alternatives, implying he’ll need to remain in the majors or be used to various other groups. Taylor Walls really did not struck last period however is an exceptional infielder, one whom the Rays relied on even more consistently than Bruj án when Franco and also Brandon Lowe were hurt in 2022. Walls can be optioned, however doing so would certainly deduct most likely the top protective shortstop from the energetic lineup.
It’s the contrary tale for Jonathan Aranda, that features protective worries however mashed at a. 318/.394/.521 clip in Durham to make a short MLB appearance. Aranda can be optioned back, though he plainly has absolutely nothing delegated verify versus minors throwing. His lefty bat would certainly likewise be a welcome enhancement to a Rays’ schedule that greatly alters right-handed, so it stands to reason the front workplace would certainly like to have Aranda in the majors. Another top infield possibility, Curtis Mead, is likely mosting likely to make his MLB launching in 2023 after striking.305/.394/.548 over 56 video games in Triple- A last period. He was included onto the 40-man lineup this offseason and also rates as the video game’s # 36 possibility at Baseball America.
Juggling this sort of infield skill is absolutely nothing brand-new for a front workplace that often tends to focus on high-contact center infielders on draft day. It’s the sort of depth most various other companies aren’t able to accumulate, that makes also gamers in the direction of the rear of the Tampa Bay lineup appealing to various other clubs. If the Rays really feel Bruj án is trending because instructions, they could open up talks with various other groups that have intense requirements up the center. The White Sox, A’s, Tigers, Pirates and also Angels are amongst the speculative prospects for such a trade– especially considering that non-competitive groups like Oakland, Detroit and also Pittsburgh can pay for to cope with some very early growing discomforts to gamble on Bruj án’s longer-term benefit.
There weren’t any kind of indicators over the offseason the Rays were specifically nervous to relocate Bruj án. Perhaps an injury in Spring Training leads the way for him to think a much more evident duty in Tampa Bay than exists today. If every person’s healthy and balanced come Opening Day, however, he would certainly head right into the period as a fascinating prospective trade chip if the Rays do not turn him throughout Spring Training.
Note: An earlier variation of this blog post improperly recommended Bruj án ran out alternatives. MLBTR has actually verified the Rays were provided a 4th choice year, with Bruj án having one choice period staying. MLBTR is sorry for the mistake.
Image thanks to United States Today Sports.
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