Sleepers in the Tampa Bay Rays Organization
Here are some players to watch in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system.
Vidal Brujan, 2B
Vidal Brujan is from the Dominican Republic and was assigned to the DSL Rays when he was only seventeen years old. Brujan has the ability to hit from both sides of the plate, which is a feature we are seeing less of today.
When Brujan was in the DSL in 2015 he hit .301 with a .411 OBP. In 2016 Brujan was with the GCL Rays (Rookie) and was a late addition to the Hudson Valley Renegades (A short). With the GCL Rays he hit .282 and only struck out 15 times in over 200 at-bats.
Last season with the Renegades he had 23 extra base hits and scored 51 runs. Brujan is with the Bowling Green Hot Rods this season. Against Midwest League competition he is hitting .302/.389/.389 with 30 steals.
As Brujan continues to mature he’ll be an asset to this organization as a leadoff man with both speed and plate discipline. We need to remember that speed kills. He’s also got great hands in the field posting a .960 fielding percentage throughout his career in the minors.
Nathaniel Lowe, 1B/DH
The Tampa Bay Rays in the 13th Round of the 2016 MLB Draft drafted Nate Lowe. In that same draft Nate’s younger brother, Josh, was drafted by the Rays with their first round pick. Nate decided to leave Mississippi State after his junior season.
Nate was assigned to the Hudson Valley Renegades (A short) in 2016. With the Renegades he hit .300 with four home runs. His power didn’t come until later in the season but the ball would fly off his bat. In 2017 he split time between the Bowling Green Hot Rods and the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Between the two leagues he hit .274 with seven home runs and 59 RBIs.
This season Nate has split his time with the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and he is absolutely tearing it up. He is hitting a combined .355 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. His strikeouts have also been going down only striking out a combined 44 times in 256 at-bats.
Nate continues to get better. He is definitely a power bat in the middle of the lineup and could put runs on the board with only one swing of the bat.
Tobias Myers, RHP
Tobias Myers was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 6th Round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The Rays acquired Myers when they sent Tim Beckham to the Orioles. Myers has yet to turn 20 years old but he has had his ups and downs in his short career so far.
In the New York Penn League (NYPL) between Aberdeen (Orioles) and Hudson Valley (Rays) he had a 3.54 ERA with a 4-2 record. He pitched in 56 innings allowing 45 hits and 22 earned runs. He also was able to strikeout 73 batters in those innings.
This season Tobias has been with the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the Midwest League. This season he is 8-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 13 games with a 62/32 K/BB. One weakness this season has been the long ball, allowing 9 home runs.
Tobias Myers is on this list because he is young and can hit 95-96 MPH. He has a lot more to learn about locating his curveball and change-up but at age 19 he has lots of time to do so.
Spencer Jones, RHP
Spencer Jones was drafted in the 10th Round out of the University of Washington. In 2016 in Hudson Valley (A short) he appeared in 15 games. That season he went 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA.
In 2017 he split time between the Bowling Green Hot Rods (A Full) and Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Advanced). He had a great season posting a 2.25 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 68 innings.
This season he’s with the Charlotte Stone Crabs. He’s pitched in 20 games with a 3-2 record. Spencer definitely has bullpen stuff. His best pitch is his slider and will use it in any count. Jones could be used as set-up man if he’s able to continue how he’s pitching.
Chris Betts, C
Normally Chris Betts wouldn’t be considered a sleeper by any means. Betts was a 2nd Round pick in 2015. He didn’t play during the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery. In 2016 he split time with the GCL Rays (Rookie) and the Hudson Valley Renegades (A short). He only got 112 at-bats with only 20 hits.
Again in 2017 his season was shortened due to injury only appearing in 3 games with the GCL Rays. This season he started with the Bowling Green Hot Rods (A Full) and appeared in 16 games, hitting .232/.313/.304 in 56 at-bats. He was then sent to the Hudson Valley Renegades when the New York-Penn League opened in June and is currently hitting .315/.403/.556.
The Rays will take their time with Betts given his age and the fact that he was so highly praised out of high school. He’s just now finally healthy and catchers who can hit are rare enough that no one will give up quickly.