Tampa Bay Devil Rays Minor League Notes
A Battle Of Lefties
Squaring off against former Tampa Bay farmhand Chris Seddon, Jake McGee earned his third career Double-A win in the Montgomery Biscuits’ 4-0 victory over Carolina on Sunday night. In just his fourth start with the Biscuits, McGee dominated Carolina hitters, scattering five hits in seven shutout innings. The 20-year-old lefty – consistently clocked in the mid-90s throughout the duration of the game – is now 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA at Montgomery.
Montgomery touched up Seddon, the Biscuits' Opening Day starter, for six hits and three runs, handing the once-heralded prospect his 10th loss of the season.
Through Monday, Reid Brignac, ranked as the top prospect in all of the minor leagues by Scout.com, has 16 home runs and 73 RBIs for Double-A Montgomery. Brignac, destined to become the Devil Rays’ shortstop of the future, is still at least a year away from being big-league ready.
The 21-year-old, drafted by Tampa Bay out of high school in the second round of the 2004 draft, has made tremendous strides defensively this season, quieting several critics who thought that Brignac might need to switch positions before reaching the major leagues. Combined between Single-A Visalia and Montgomery, he had an excellent offensive season in 2006, hitting .321 with 24 home runs and 99 RBIs. He has regressed at the plate a little bit this year - .255 average - but is leading the Biscuits in homers and doubles (28).
Does Ruggiano Deserve A Call-Up?
During August, Justin Ruggiano, an outfielder for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, has made a strong case for a September call-up to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Ruggiano, a former standout at Texas A & M, has been the Bull’s hottest hitter since the All-Star break. And over his past 10 games, he’s batting a scorching .429 (18-for-42) with three homers and 11 RBIs.
Ruggiano holds a robust .310 batting average with a team-leading 19 home runs and 72 RBIs for the year. Look for the 25-year-old to make in an appearance with the Devil Rays at some point in September.
Jaso Having Strong Season
Tampa Bay catching prospect John Jaso is having a fine season with Montgomery. Jaso, ranked as one of the top five catching prospects in the organization by Rays Digest, is batting .315 with 12 homers and 71 RBIs in 105 games for the Montgomery Biscuits this season. Hot of late, the 23-year-old has hit .302 with 10 RBIs in his past 10 games. The Rays are expected to add him to the 40-man roster this winter, leading many to believe that he will begin next season as the starting catcher for Triple-A Durham.
Rollins Improves To 16-4
On Friday, Heath Rollins earned his minor-league leading 16th victory in the Columbus Catfish’ 15-6 win over Savannah. Rollins gave up three runs on five hits in five innings to set the organization’s record for most victories in a single season. In a dominating season, the right-hander out of Winthrop is 16-4 with a 2.55 ERA in 26 games started.
In the same game, Ryan Royster blasted his 27th homer of the season, chipped in a triple, and made a few excellent plays in left field to back Rollins. Royster, who made headlines when he hit a home run in six consecutive games at the beginning of the month, is leading Columbus with a .323 batting average and 96 RBIs.
Will Longoria Make The Devil Rays’ 25-man Roster Next Spring?
Durham Bulls third baseman Evan Longoria is one of the top infield prospects in all of Major League Baseball. But will Longoria, a teammate of Troy Tulowitzki at Long Beach State, secure a spot with the Devil Rays to start the 2008 season?
He is batting .304 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs between Montgomery and Durham this season, and has a strong shot of taking the starting third base job next March. Which will likely move incumbent Tampa Bay third baseman Akinori Iwamura, having an excellent rookie season defensively, to second base. According to Scout.com, Longoria is an early favorite for the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year.
Brief post… more minor league content to come.