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Rays add seven players to 40-man roster, avoid Rule 5 exposure

Wayne Masut | Sr. Staff Photographere

Seven players have been added to Tampa Bay’s 40-man roster, including two highly regarded prospects that should make their MLB-debut in 2018.

The deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man roster was Monday night at 8pm. The Tampa Bay Rays had eight available roster spots, and in the end, the night ended with one remaining.

The following prospects have been added to the 40-man roster

(Ranking within the Rays Top 30 prospects)

Could make the Opening Day roster

(No. 1) RHP Brent Honeywell

  • 13-9 with a 3.49 ERA (136.2-IP, 53-ER) in 26 starts between Double-A and Triple-A.
  • Led Rays minor leaguers with 172 strikeouts
  • Tied for second in wins and ranked eighth in ERA

Among International League pitchers, he ranked second with 152 strikeouts, trailing Yarbrough (159), and tied for third with 12 wins. Following the season, Baseball America tabbed him as having the Best Changeup in the IL in its Best Tools survey. He is ranked by as the No. 11 prospect in baseball and the top prospect in the Rays system. Selected by the Rays in the second round of the 2014 June Draft, he is 31-19 with a 2.88 ERA (416-IP, 133-ER) in 79 appearances (78 starts) over four minor league seasons.

(No. 5) 1B/LF Jake Bauers

  • Slashed .263/.368/.412 (132 games) with 31 doubles, 13 home runs, 63 RBI and 20 stolen bases
  • Led the International League with 79 runs scored
  • Ranked second with 78 walks and fifth with a .368 on-base percentage

He is ranked by as the No. 72 prospect in baseball and the No. 5 prospect in the Rays system. He was acquired by the Rays from the San Diego Padres in a three-team, 11-player trade in December 2014. Over five minor league seasons, he has hit .275/.361/.409 (555-for-2,018) with 115 doubles, 46 home runs, 303 RBI and 45 stolen bases.

Keep an eye on these guys

(No. 9) OF Justin Williams

  • .301/.364/.489 (110-for-366) with 21 doubles, 14 home runs and 72 RBI in 96 games at Double-A
  • Named Most Valuable Player for Montgomery Biscuits
  • Among the Southern League leaders in batting average (fourth) and slugging percentage (third)

Williams finished among Rays organizational leaders in home runs (second) and RBI (third). He was part of the SL postseason All-Star Team, and was promoted to Durham for the team’s postseason run. Acquired by the Rays from the Arizona Diamondbacks in November 2014, he’s hit .308/.348/.445 (516-for-1,677) with 99 doubles, 36 home runs and 262 RBI over five minor league seasons.

(No. 19) RHP Diego Castillo

  • Posted four wins and a 2.76 ERA (71.2-IP, 22-ER) with 15 saves in 51 appearances between Montgomery and Durham.
  • He led Rays minor leaguers in saves and was named the organization’s Best Relief Pitcher

He was signed by the Rays as a free agent in March 2014 and is 11-16 with a 2.97 ERA (187.2-IP, 62-ER) in 124 appearances (one start) over four minor league seasons.

(No. 23) LHP Ryan Yarbrough

  • 13-6 with a 3.43 ERA (157.1-IP, 50-ER) in 26 starts for Durham
  • Tied for second in the organization in wins and ranked second with 159 strikeouts

He led the International League in strikeouts and also ranked among IL leaders in ERA (eighth), wins (second), innings pitched (third) and games started (tied for first). He was acquired by the Rays from the Seattle Mariners in January 2017 and is 29-19 with a 3.22 ERA (425-IP, 152-ER) in 87 appearances (83 starts) over four minor league seasons.

Lesser known prospects

RHP Jose Mujica

  • 14-8 with a 3.04 ERA (165.2-IP, 56-ER) in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery
  • Promoted after two starts with the Stone Crabs.
  • Led Rays minor leaguers in wins and ranked fourth in ERA (min. 100 IP)

He was selected to the Southern League midseason All-Star Team, and finished the season ranking among SL leaders in wins (13, tied for first), ERA (3.03, sixth), innings pitched (154.1, third), WHIP (1.11, fourth) and opponents’ batting average (.225, third).

RHP Yonny Chirinos

  • 13 wins with a 2.73 ERA (168.1-IP, 51-ER) in 27 appearances (26 starts) between Montgomery and Durham
  • Named the organization’s Pitcher of the Year by the Rays
  • He ranked second in the organization in ERA (min. 100 IP), tied for second in wins and ranked third with 141 strikeouts.

In 23 appearances (22 starts) with Durham, he ranked among International League leaders in ERA (2.74, fourth), wins (12, tied for third), innings pitched (141, fifth) and WHIP (0.98, second). Since joining the Rays, Chirinos is 36-17 with a 2.75 ERA (474.1-IP, 145-ER) in 98 appearances (70 starts) over five minor league seasons.

Notables exposed to the rest of the league in the Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft will take place on December 14, 2017 during the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando. Players are exposed to the rest of the league if they meet the following criteria:

  1. Not on the 40-man roster
  2. Been in the minor leagues for at least 4 years if he was signed after age 19
  3. Been in the minor leagues for at least 5 years if he was signed before age 19

(No. 25) C Nick Ciuffo

Drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 MLB Draft, the South Carolina native has a .248 career average with 12 HR and 134 RBI.

RHP Burch Smith

Injuries are the story with Smith. Acquired in the deal that sent Will Myers to the Padres, the 27-year-old worked his way back from arm injuries in 2017. Expect another team to take a flier and draft him as part of the Rule 5 Draft this winter.

LHP Travis Ott

Acquired from the Nationals, as part of the Steven Souza deal, Ott can be difficult to hit given his unorthodox release-point and delivery. The Rays would probably like for him to go unnoticed during the December 14 proceedings.

What’s Next

The Rays now have 39 guys on their 40-man roster. Several moves can still be made, especially once trade rumors and free agent rumblings roam the halls of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, starting December 10 in Orlando, FL.

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