Results tagged ‘ Tim Beckham ’

Four Biggest Barriers Standing in the Way of Rays Division Title

It’s been a rough start to the year for the Tampa Bay Rays. Anemic offense has been the theme of the first two weeks of the season, which shows in the Rays’ 5-9 last-place record.

But of course, it’s still very early, and anything can happen in the next 149 games. Life in the AL East is never easy, however, as the Rays have plenty obstacles to overcome in duration of the season if they want to be crowned division champs in October.

Without further adieu, here are the four biggest barriers for the Rays standing in the way of a division title.

Heavy Competition

The Rays have their work cut out for them this year, as they compete in what is maybe the toughest divisions in all of sports.

The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are all potential playoff teams in 2013. Each one of them is a definite threat to a division title, but the Rays have a good enough team to compete with all four of these talented clubs.

There are a few things we’ve learned about Tampa Bay’s competitors after the first two weeks of the season. If one thing’s for sure, the Yankees are no team to overlook. Despite having a huge chunk of their roster out with injury, the Yanks stand at a surprising 8-5, as they’ve been finding ways to win ballgames while on the mend.

Once they get the rest of their team back—which includes Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Michael Pineda—they should be very dangerous.

The Red Sox didn’t come into the season with high expectations at all, but have started off the season very strongly with a first-place 10-4 record. Boston’s rotation was supposed to be the team’s main weak spot, but has shockingly been outstanding thus far. Their rotation has been by far the best in the division and probably the best in the American League, posting a 2.30 ERA and a 3.45 FIP.

The Orioles have began to prove that their 2012 success was not a fluke. They’ve played solid baseball and appear to have a pretty well-rounded team. The O’s are a team to watch out for if Chris Davis continues to put up big-time numbers at the DH spot.

As for Blue Jays, it’s been a disappointing start for them. As bad as they look right now, they’re a team that can turn things around quickly with that star-studded roster. Jose Reyes’ ankle injury, however, will be a big blow for them until he returns after the All-Star break.

The Offense

The Rays’ offense has been flat-out awful in the first two weeks of the regular season. With a wOBA of .277 and a wRC+ of 77, they are currently the worst hitting team in the American League.

Outside of Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Kelly Johnson, who’ve all had solid starts to the year, nobody in the lineup has given the Rays any kind of significant production offensively.

Lack of power is one of the main issues for Tampa Bay, as they’ve posted just a .113 ISO. Another major concern is the how much runners the Rays are stranding on base. They’ve had a very tough time getting the man in, hitting just .192 with RISP.

Although the offense is very worrying for Rays fans at the moment, there is an optimistic way of looking at it: It will more than likely only get better from here.

Designated hitter Luke Scott has been out with a calf injury since spring training and has yet to play this season. Once he gets back, the lineup will surely be more potent with Scott in and Sam Fuld out.

As the season progresses, the Rays will also get a boost from their minor league system. Wil Myers should be terrific addition later in the year, and Brandon Guyer could also contribute.


In 2012, the injury bug was the largest barrier that stood in the way of a third division title for the Rays. Evan Longoria’s hamstring tear highlighted a plethora of injuries suffered by a very banged-up ball club.

So far this season, the Rays have done a pretty good job avoiding the DL. Luke Scott is the only player who has missed any time at all this year due to injury.

For this team to function properly, the entire team is going to have to stay relatively healthy throughout the season. I don’t see the Rays winning the division as a possibility if they’re hit with injury issues again.

Prospect Development

Tampa Bay has a handful of prospects who could be a key part of the team later this season.

Wil Myers, who is arguably baseball’s top hitting prospect, may be the Rays’ X-factor once he’s called up to the majors. He appears to be about ready for The Show, but it’s possible he won’t make his MLB debut until July due to financial reasons.

Whenever he is called up, his immediate impact will be crucial, especially with the lineup as weak as it is.

Outfielder Brandon Guyer and middle infielders Hak-Ju Lee and Tim Beckham are other position player prospects who could all see big league action this year. All three have the potential to bolster both the Rays’ offensive and defensive depth down the stretch.

the Rays have probably more pitchers on the verge of breaking into the majors this season than they do hitters. Chris Archer—the organization’s top upper-level pitching prospect—looks to be ready to take over a spot in the rotation once the time comes. This time, he’ll likely stay there for good.

The development of these Triple-A prospects will definitely come to play in this year’s pennant race. They Rays might need as many minor league contributions as they can get in order to win the AL East.

Rays Fall in Extras 7-6, Yankees to Acquire Vernon Wells

The Rays lost their fifth straight Grapefruit Game Sunday afternoon in Tampa, falling to the Yankees 7-6 in 10 innings.

Jeremy Hellickson worked seven innings (95 pitches), allowing 4 runs on 8 hits while walking two and striking out just one batter. Although he was knocked around a bit, it was nice to see some good efficiency in this outing and him being able to get through seven innings.

It hasn’t been a good spring for Helly, who currently owns a 5.03 ERA in 19.2 IP, but it shouldn’t be too much of a concern, especially considering what an awful spring he had in 2012 (9.00 ERA in 20 IP).

Reliever Jamey Wright followed Hellickson with two innings. Wright gave up two runs—a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis (his second of the day)—and also walked two.

The best performances at the plate came from Desmond Jennings (2-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Ben Zobrist (4-5, RBI) and Matt Joyce (2-4, RBI and SB).

Low-level minor league prospects Drew Vettleson and Jake Hager both made their Grapefruit League debuts in this game. Vettleson went 0-2, but Hager hit a game-tying RBI double in his only at bat, down to his last strike with two outs in the ninth.

Right-hander Josh Lueke came on for the Rays in the bottom of the tenth. The first batter he faced was Ronnier Mustelier, who belted a walk-off dinger to left field.

Here’s a full boxscore of Sunday’s game.

Rays News and Notes:

  • The deadline for the Rays to decide whether or not to keep Jamey Wright on the 25-man roster or not is Tuesday. It looks like Joe Maddon will keep him, and Wright will be in the Tampa’s bullpen for Opening Day. The 38-year-old right-hander says he just needs a bit more time to get his sinker down. The sinkerball, of course, is the groundball specialist’s bread and butter.
  • Sam Fuld (hamstring tightness) went 2-6 in a minor-league spring training game Sunday. Fuld said he felt “100 percent” and is ready to return. He should be rejoining the Rays in the Grapefruit League within the next few days.
  • Also down in minor league camp, Wil Myers has been sidelined for a few days with a minor right wrist injury, said to be just soreness. Tim Beckham has also been experiencing wrist soreness, and is scheduled to return soon.
  • The Yankees, who have a decent-sized portion of their team on the DL, are reportedly on the verge of acquiring Vernon Wells in a trade from the Los Angeles Angels.

Rays Lose 9-2 to Red Sox, Myers Optioned Down to AAA

The Rays were on the losing side of a 9-2 rout Saturday afternoon, dropping their eighth Grapefruit League game of the spring to the Red Sox.

Roberto Hernandez got the start, and obviously a crucial one for him as he battles Jeff Niemann for the fifth spot in the rotation. Hernandez allowed 2 [earned] runs on 6 hits, a walk and 5 strikeouts.

Relievers Jake McGee and Jamey Wright also made appearances in this game, both giving up a run in one inning each.

Not much to talk about offensively from this ballgame. Leslie Anderson, who’s now hitting .425, continued his red-hot spring with a 3-3 day.

Sean Rodriguez went 2-2, hitting a homer to provide Tampa with their two only runs.

Speaking of S-Rod, the Rays’ utility man was involved in what nearly led to a bench-clearing brawl. After being hit by a pitch by Alfredo Aceves and then being barked at, tempers flared. Here’s Rodriguez’s take on the incident.

Here’s a full boxscore of Saturday’s game.

Rays News and Notes:

  • Wil Myers, Brandon Guyer, Tim Beckham, Robinson Chirinos, Hak-Ju Lee, Josh Lueke, Juan Sandoval, Wil Inman and J.D. Martin were all optioned back down to the minor leagues in the Rays’ latest rounds of cuts.
  • Matt Moore was much improved in his start during the Rays’ 3-1 win over the Phillies Friday. Moore didn’t give up a single earned run on 3 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts through 5 innings. Stephen Vogt gave the Rays the victory with a walk-off homer in the 10th inning.
  • World Baseball Classic news: The United States were eliminated from the tournament by Puerto Rico Friday night after a heart-breaking 4-3 loss. Ben Zobrist went 0-2 in the game with an RBI walk, finishing the Classic 3-for-11. The Dominican Republic clinched the top seed Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 win over Puerto Rico, and Fernando Rodney picked up his fifth save of the tournament. Puerto Rico advances to face Japan in the semifinals while D.R. will square off against the Netherlands.
  • After being rejected by both Chipper Jones and Derek Lee, the New York Yankees have signed outfielder Brennan Boesch.
  • Before Friday’s game against Philadelphia, 65 members of the Rays organization shaved their head in an annual event to raise awareness and funds for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. The Phillies’ Michael Young also participated in the event.
  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports Sam Fuld (hamstring) won’t be returning for another 4-5 days.

Rays Beat Orioles 4-3, Price and Hellickson Make Minor League Starts

The Rays improved their Grapefruit League record to 12-7 Thursday afternoon, defeating the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 4-3.

Jeff Niemann was pretty sharp in his outing, allowing just one run on four hits and three walks in his 4 1/3 innings of work.

His velocity was down (didn’t throw a single pitch over 88 MPH), but it was nothing to be concerned about. Both Joe Maddon and Niemann said after the game that he was just working on movement.

Juan Sandoval and Josh Lueke came on in relief following Niemann. Sandoval continued to struggle, allowing two runs (off a Matt Wieters) home run in 1 2/3 inning. Lueke, on the other hand, continued his excellent spring tossing two scoreless innings.

The Rays’ four runs were scored an Evan Longoria RBI double, a Luke Scott two-run homer and a Tim Beckham RBI single. Wil Myers also had a double Thursday in his only at bat.

On the injury front, Beckham (face) returned yesterday but Sam Fuld (hamstring) remains out. He could return in the next few days.

Here’s a complete boxscore of Thursday’s game.

Rays News and Notes:

  • The Rays optioned down Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Torres to Triple-A Durham in their latest round of cuts Tuesday.
  • David Price pitched five scoreless inning in a minor-league spring training game against the Orioles’ Class A squad Wednesday. He allowed just four singles while striking out six and walking none.
  • Jeremy Hellickson also had a minor-league start this week, but it didn’t go nearly as well for him. He gave up two runs on four hits, four walks (and a HBP) and three strikeouts through 3 1/3 innings pitched. He pitched 70 pitches, just 41 of them strikes.
  • Here’s Price on being named the Opening Day starter earlier this week.
  • More David Price: could special K-9 seating when Price starts be a thing this year for the Rays?
  • The United States lost 3-1 to the Dominican Republic Thursday night and are now on the brink of elimination. Fernando Rodney collected his fourth save (out of four opportunities) of the World Baseball Classic, continuing what has been a terrific tournament for him thus far. Ben Zobrist also appeared in this game, striking out in his only at bat.

Rays Trounce Pirates 8-2, Win Fifth Straight

The Rays extended their Grapefruit League winning streak to five Wednesday afternoon with a 8-2 victory over the Pirates in Bradenton.

Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson both made their spring debuts. Niemann pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, and Hellickson followed with a scoreless outing of his own—allowing three hits, no walks and striking out two through 1 2/3 innings pitched.

MLB Future Game southpaws Felipe Rivero and Enny Romero both made appearances in this game. Rivero allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings and Romero tossed one scoreless inning.

Offensive notables from yesterday include prospect Tim Beckham, Luke Scott and Jose Molina, who all had good games at the plate. Beckham went 2-2 with a double and a triple, Scott also went 2-2 with an RBI, and Molina went 2-3 with an RBI as well.

Here’s a full boxscore of the game.

Rays News and Notes:

  • The Rays return to Port Charlotte to take on the Tigers today at 1:05. Lots to watch for today as Evan Longoria returns to the lineup, Luke Scott make his first start in the outfield since 2011, Matt Moore makes his spring training debut (in relief), and the ESPN Baseball Tonight bus stops by Rays camp. Here’s today’s lineup.
  • put together an offseason review of the Rays.

Most Exciting Rays Prospects to Watch for in Spring Training


Baseball has returned, and spring training has officially started for the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte as players report to camp.

The Rays have a handful of exciting prospects and non-roster invitees who have plenty to prove this spring, and it should be interesting to see which surprise players will grab everyone’s attention.

Here are seven names to watch for in the next six weeks.

Tim Beckham

Ever since being drafted first overall by the Rays in 2008, Tim Beckham has been nothing less than a disappointment. The 23-year-old middle infielder was obviously drafted with sky high expectations, but has yet to break out in the minors during his four seasons in the organization.

Beckham will most likely be starting the season with Triple-A Durham, but is out on a mission this spring to prove that this is the year he’ll finally break into the big leagues.

Many thought that year would be 2012, but a 50-game suspension and injuries were huge setbacks in Beckham’s progress. Hopefully, spring training will serve as a clean sheet for Beckham to start over and turn things around in what has been an unfortunate young career.

Mike Montgomery

The Rays acquired 23-year-old southpaw Mike Montgomery from the Royals in December’s blockbuster James Shields trade. Montgomery spent four seasons in Kansas City’s organization considered to be one of the teams top prospects, but has struggled the past two years at the Triple-A level posting a lopsided 8-17 record with a 5.46 ERA.

He probably won’t make an impact on the Rays in the near future, but he’s out to prove he’s not too far away from major league ready.

Although he has very good stuff and the tools to be an MLB starter, a career as a reliever seems more likely at the moment. If he pitches well enough in 2013, we could maybe even see him contribute to Tampa Bay’s bullpen this season.

Alex Colome

Alex Colome is one sleeper prospect with very high upside who should be kept an eye on this season. The 24-year-old right-hander has gradually moved up the ranks over the past years in the Rays’ farm system and pitched his way into Triple-A last season.

Colome has impressive raw stuff that can blow away big league hitters, which should make him a sight to watch in Port Charlotte.

This could be the year he makes his MLB debut as he continues to develop as a pitcher. That being said, spring training will be a great opportunity for him to show off his potential to the Rays.

Jake Odorizzi

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi was one of four prospects acquired in the James Shields trade this offseason, adding yet another talented young starting pitcher to the Rays’ organization.

Odorizzi had somewhat of a breakout year in the minors in 2012, going 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA through 25 starts in both Double-A and Triple-A. He also got his first taste of the big leagues with the Royals, making two brief starts.

He’ll be battling for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring against teammates Jeff Niemann, Roberto Hernandez and possibly even Chris Archer. His odds of making the Opening Day rotation are not good at all, but if he shines bright enough he could maybe just sneak in there.

Even if we don’t see Odorizzi with the Rays early in the season, we can expect to see him contribute to the team sometime later in the year.

Wil Myers

Wil Myers is the prospect to watch in Major League Baseball this spring. The 22-year-old phenom slugger was the prize acquisition in the James Shields trade, and is considered arguably the top hitting prospect in all of baseball.

Even if Myers plays well during spring training, his chances of making the Opening Day roster are very slim. There is one backup outfielder on the 25-man roster, and although Myers may be good enough for the spot, the Rays are not going to want their top prospect to start the year on the bench.

Whether he makes the roster or not, his powerful bat will be a ton of fun to watch in the coming weeks.

Brandon Guyer

After missing almost the entire 2012 season with a shoulder injury, outfielder Brandon Guyer is returning to baseball this spring hoping for a fresh start.

Guyer has already had two very brief stints in the majors in the past two seasons, but has spent most of his time with Triple-A Durham where he has produced pretty well.

After missing such a significant amount of time, Guyer is no longer considered a top prospect in the organization like he was once. Spring training will be a great opportunity for him to prove that he’s an MLB-caliber player.

He’ll also be competing for the backup outfield spot on the Opening Day roster, but it’s probably going to take a standout performance this spring to accomplish that.

Hak-Ju Lee

One of the Rays’ better position player prospects and shortstop prospects in all of baseball, Hak-Ju Lee is definitely a must-watch this spring in Port Charlotte.

His blazing speed and tremendous defensive upside will surely attract plenty of attention in the next few weeks.

Lee has played with both Class A+ Charlotte and Class AA Montgomery for the past two seasons after being acquired in the Matt Garza blockbuster trade. He still hasn’t had the breakout year in the minors that Rays fans have been anticipating, but nonetheless has made slow progress up the organizational ranks.

Lee will be eyeing a spot on Triple-A Durham’s Opening Day lineup, and a good spring training performance would obviously help his case.

Prospects Who Could Make an Impact on the Rays in 2013

As the 2012 regular season winds down to another exciting finish, a handful of Rays minor leaguers look forward to breaking into The Show in 2013. Besides for Matt Moore, no prospects have really made a significant impact on the Rays thus far this season. Hopefully it won’t be the same story next season, and a few names will be able to give the Rays a boost. Here are some farmhands to keep in eye on for 2013.

Hak-Ju Lee

Despite a mediocre 2012 season thus far, Hak-Ju Lee is currently considered the Rays’ No. 1 prospect by many. The 21-year-old is expected to be the franchise’s future at shortstop, and 2013 could be the year he begins his anticipated big league journey. Lee has spent the entire season with Double-A Montgomery, and has hit .261/.336/.360 with 37 RBI and 37 stolen bases. The offensive stats are nothing to get too excited about and neither are his defensive numbers, as Lee has posted a .954 fielding percentage this year. He’s still young and has good potential, so nobody should be surprised to see him with the Rays next September.

Chris Archer

Chris Archer—who’s considered the Rays’ top upper-level pitching prospect—has already made an impact with the club in 2012. The 23-year-old right-hander put up a 3.66 ERA in 25 starts with Durham this season and a 3.86 ERA in his two first major league starts. With James Shields likely not returning next year and Jeff Niemann’s health seemingly always in question, Archer will likely have a much more significant role in the starting rotation in 2013.

Alex Colome

Alex Colome flashed his high potential as he progressed nicely through the Rays’ farm system in 2012. A recent shoulder injury has ended his season, but at this rate many still expect to see Colome as a late-season call-up next year. Colome combined for an 8-4 record and a 3.44 ERA through 17 starts (14 with Montgomery, 3 with Durham) in the minors this year.

Tim Beckham

It’s been another disappointing year for former No. 1 draft pick Tim Beckham. The 22-year-old middle infielder is still fairly young, however, and is gradually progressing in the Rays’ organization. A 50-game suspension for drug use really hurt his chances of making a big league push this season, but he there’s actually still a possibility he gets called up this month. Beckham will likely join the Rays at some point in 2013, obviously depending on how he plays with Durham. This year Beckham has posted a underachieving .256/.325/.361 line with 28 RBI and a .946 fielding percentage through 72 games.

4 Reasons Not to Give Up on the Rays


Here we are in mid-August, less than two months to go in the regular season, and a handful of people have already wrote off the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays stand just a half-game out of a playoff spot, but that hasn’t stopped people from overlooking them, even after their incredible comeback last season.

Although there are some fair reasons to look upon the Rays doubtfully, here are four legitimate reason why nobody should count out the Rays just yet.

Fantastic Pitching

The Rays’ pitching—starting and bullpen—has been absolutely outstanding this season since the All-Star break, and is as hot as ever at the moment. In the last 30 days (post All-Star break excluding a few games), the Rays have posted a (by far) MLB-best ERA of 2.27, the most strikeouts in the league (243) and the best opponents average (.195).

The bullpen has probably been the most spectacular part of Tampa Bay’s dominant pitching staff. The ‘pen has been pretty much untouchable as of late, and like the Rays’s starting rotation, has probably been the best in baseball recently. Closer Fernando Rodney—who has been the league’s best relief pitcher this year—has been perfect in save opportunities since the All-Star break and set the franchise record for most consecutive scoreless innings (22) earlier this week.

As bad as the Rays’ offense has been, I believe that they can clinch a playoff spot if their pitching continues to be this great down the stretch. The good sign is that it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, and it could even improve with the return of Jeff Niemann.

The Return of Evan Longoria and Luke Scott

Another positive sign for the Rays is that it appears as if their offense can only get better from here. The much-missed Evan Longoria finally rejoined the Rays after being on the DL for over two months, which of course means the Rays’ struggling lineup will get a big boost.

But Longoria isn’t the only key bat the Rays have missed, as Luke Scott has been on the DL with an oblique strain. Scott, the DH who could likely platoon with Longoria (due to his lack of ability to play third base at the moment), is expected to return next week. His return would be another huge boost for the Rays, and would mean they would have a 100% healthy lineup for the first time this entire season.

A healthy Rays offense is definitely better than the horrible one we’ve witnessed for the past couple of months, which is why—when combined with great pitching—the Rays should have themselves a dangerous team down the stretch.

September Call-Ups

Tampa’s offense could use any help it can get, and some answers could be found down in the farm. Any potential call-ups to boost the offense would probably be in September.

One legitimate option is Henry Wrigley. The slugging first baseman has hit .319/.355/.523 with 11 homers and 47 RBI ever since being promoted to Triple-A Durham 74 games ago. With the Rays now planning to play Carlos Pena less against left-handed pitching, Wrigley could possibly platoon with him at first, or he could perhaps just serve as an extra right-handed bat off the bench with the rosters expanding to 40 men.

Tim Beckham could finally break into the big leagues this September after five disappointing years in the minors. I’m not sure how much Beckham—who’s currently hitting .262/.342/.342 with Durham—would boost the Rays’ offense. His best-case scenario in 2012 is taking over Will Rhymes’ role, and he could contribute if he gets hot down the stretch.

One last Triple-A bat worthy of mentioning is that of C/OF Stephen Vogt. Vogt failed to record a hit in 17 at-bats with the Rays earlier this season when he was called up, but he’ll likely get a second chance in September. He has hit .290/.359/.456 with nine homers and 40 RBI this season in Durham.

They’re Only a Half-Game Back!

If anybody can comeback from a Wild Card deficit to clinch the playoffs it’s the Tampa Bay Rays. The “comeback kids” were trailing the Red Sox for their only chance at a playoff spot by nine games as late as September 1 last season, and we all know how that story ended.

Now trailing by only a half-game with plenty of time left, the Rays have a much easier challenge in 2012. The teams ahead of them—such as Baltimore, Oakland and Chicago (assuming Detroit outplays them down the stretch)—are probably weaker teams than the 2011 Red Sox.

Another reason to like the Rays’ chances of making the playoffs is the new postseason format; there’s now an extra Wild Card spot. This heavily increases their playoff odds, and makes them a Wild Card favorite in my eyes.

Update on Rays’ Top 5 Prospects

20120514-172925.jpgAfter a little over a month of baseball, the MLB—and MiLB season—is now in full swing. Back in February, I did an evaluation on the Rays’ top prospects on The Rays Rant, and I think it’s about time we check-in how they’re progressing thus far. As you can see from the list, Matt Moore is still technically considered a prospect. However, he’s already pitched nearly 50 innings as a Major Leaguer, so I decided not to include him in this article. Here’s the current status of the Rays’ top five minor league prospects:

Hak-Ju Lee

It’s been a slow start to the season for 21-year-old shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, who earned a full-season promotion to Double-A Montgomery after a breakout 2011 season. He’s batting .229/.293/.314 as the Biscuits’ leadoff hitter, with 12 RBI and nine stolen bases (caught three times). He hasn’t gone yard yet, but he does have 10 extra basehits including three triples. Lee is not only struggling with the bat, as he hasn’t been sharp defensively either. He hasn’t been smooth at short so far this season, committing seven errors already (.955 fielding percentage). It’s clear that the talented youngster has not yet adjusted to the Double-A level, and seems to still be in the process of getting used to the speed of the game. Hopefully it’s nothing more than a slow start for Lee, as the Rays could really use a shortstop like him as soon as possible on the roster.

Chris Archer

The Rays’ top right-handed pitching prospect is probably Chris Archer, who continues to provide the Rays with even more pitching depth down at the farm. After a poor April start to the year, it appears as if Archer is now on the right track. Archer currently owns a record of 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA this season with Triple-A Durham, but he’s had a great start to the month of May. In his three starts this month, Archer has gone 2-0 with an ERA of 2.00, going six innings deep in all three outings. He outdueled Yankees’ top prospect Manny Banuelos on Sunday, shining in the Bulls’ matinee matchup with the Yankees (Scranton/WB) throwing nine strikeouts without allowing an earned run. We know he has good swing-and-miss stuff, but the main concern with Archer is his command. The 23-year-old simply walks too many batters; he’s walked 28 already this season (averaging 3.5 base on balls per start). This is something Archer clearly needs to improve on if he hopes earning a promotion to the big leagues at any point this season.

Tim Beckham

After a good 2011 season, the former first-overall draft pick has disappointed the Rays once again in 2012. After just 13 games with Triple-A Durham, where he hit .204/.290/.278 four RBI, the 22-year-old shortstop was issued a 50-game suspension from MiLB for his second violation of the league’s drug policy (marijuana). This could not come at a much worse time for Beckham and the Rays, as 2012 was supposed to be a crucial year in his development as he continues to near is MLB debut. The Rays and their fans hope that Beckham won’t become the next Josh Hamilton.

Mikie Mahtook

Drafted in the first round of last year’s draft, Mahtook has had a solid start in his first year of full-season ball. He’s put up a .278/.340/.317 line with 13 RBI and nine stolen bases with Class A+ Charlotte in the Florida State League. The only thing that hasn’t come around yet this season is the power, as Mahtook remains homer-less with four extra base-hits after the first 34 games (126 at-bats). He definitely has some pop in his bat, and hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the power arrives.

Taylor Guerrieri

Also drafted by the Rays in the first round last summer, Guerrieri gives Tampa’s organization another exciting young arm. The 19-year-old is starting the year in extended spring training, and is yet to throw his first pitch as a professional. He’s expected to soon start the season in the Rookie League, with the Princeton Rays. A complete scouting report on the hard-throwing right-hander can be found here.

Rays Update: Moore Struggles in Loss to Boston

The latest Rays news and notes:

  • The Rays hosted the Red Sox yesterday in a sold out and televised game at Port Charlotte. Matt Moore squared off against Clay Buchholz in his first spring start, and was hit pretty hard by the Boston bats. Moore allowed 4 earned runs and 3 walks in just 2.1 innings pitched, setting the tone for the 8-4 loss. Some notable Rays performances included Kyle Farnsworth (one scoreless inning of work), Evan Longoria (2-3 with a home run), Desmond Jennings (two hits), Luke Scott (1-4 with an RBI), and Jose Molina (RBI single). Click here for a full boxscore.
  • The Rays have an off-day today, so next up is the Florida Marlins in Jupiter Tuesday.
  • The Rays apparently have a new catchphrase for the 2012 season. Joe Maddon came up with ‘MoRmentum’, which means ‘more momentum’. Maddon says momentum will be a key factor to the Rays’ success this year.
  • The Rays made their latest round of cuts yesterday, optioning five more players down to the minors. Among Sunday’s cuts were Tim Beckham, Matt Bush, Dane De La Rosa, Brandon Guyer, and Steven Vogt.
  • Rays beat writer Bill Chastain writes about reliever Jake McGee in his recent article.
  • Bill Madden of New York Daily News praises the Rays’ rotation, claiming it’s the deepest staff in all of baseball.