The Tampa Bay Rays have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young pitching. But instead of being embarrassed by the riches of their pitching, the Rays should flaunt it like Floyd Mayweather does when he posts pictures of his stacks of cash.
Besides their talented major league rotation of David Price (who they’ll probably trade for even more pitchers), Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Chris Archer, the Rays have some excellent pitching in the minor leagues as well.
One pitching prospect – Taylor Guerrieri – is no longer on the fast track, as while recovering from Tommy John surgery he was busted for weed. But although he went up in a puff of smoke, the Rays still have 3 top shelf pitching prospects just itching for the majors: Jake Odorizzi, Enny Romero, and Alex Colome.
Odorizzi came over with Wil Myers trade from the Kansas City Royals and has a solid chance of winning a spot in the rotation to begin the 2014 season. He looked solid in his 2013 late season call up, showing that he has the stuff to get major league hitters out.
Odroizzi has an excellent low-90′s fastball, but he’ll take the next step when his changeup fully develops. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher who will struggle with home runs. But he’s also extremely athletic and he’s done nothing but steadily improve as a prospect.
While the Rays might opt to go with a cheap veteran as their 5th starter in 2014, Odorizzi is worth watching during spring training. He’s certainly worth a $1-3 investment or a late round flyer, as he has the upside to provide a sub 4.00 ERA and 7+ K/9 in his first full season.
The lefty Romero has a killer slider. I also don’t toss out the word ‘killer’ casually. When I say killer, I mean that he can be practically dominate and un-hittable at times.
He can also be extremely wild. As evidence, he once went through a stretch where he allowed more walks than he allowed hits. So while batters couldn’t hit him, he was kind enough to allow them a free base.
But while the Dominican has some work to do, he has a tremendous upside as well. His fastball sits 94-96, but it’s been known to hit triple digits. His curveball has also come a long way and at times has graded as 70 pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale.
Romero probably won’t log many major league innings in 2104 and he could be a risky play if he does. But don’t let his name slide too far off your radar because he has the potential to be a legitimate #2 starter as he matures.
Colome sits right below Romero on Baseball America’s prospect rankings.
Colome is another pitcher from the Dominican Republic, but unlike Romero, Colome is a righty. Colome also has an overpowering fastball, consistently sitting in the mid-to-high 90′s. His fastball is also very lively, showing good movement that makes it hard to square up. To top it off, Colome has an excellent 10 mph difference between his heater and his changeup.
He also got a good look at the majors in 2013 and he could be a fair bet to crack the rotation instead of Odorizzi.
All three pitchers have excellent upside. Their fantasy value is limited mainly because it’s a guessing game to which one pulls ahead and logs the most major leagues innings in 2014. Watch them closely and don’t be afraid to take a chance on any of the three.