As spring training begins to wind down, each organization continues to make rounds of cuts, as they option many of their roster hopefuls to either a specific minor league level or simply re-assign them to minor league camp.
For many of these players, it seems as though it will be only a matter of time until they either return to or reach the major leagues for the first time
However, in some cases, it’s worth questioning whether the organization may have been better off breaking camp with the player on the Opening Day roster.
Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Even though he was expected to open the 2013 season in Triple-A, I thought, for some reason, that Myers may still show enough during spring training to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. Although he didn’t showcase any of the light-tower power that led to 37 home runs in 2012, Myers still had a nice camp, batting .286/.333/.429 with four extra-base hits and 10 strikeouts in 39 plate appearances.
For a team that relies on pitching and occasionally outscoring its opponent, the Rays need all of the offensive firepower they can get. And while it makes sense (sort of) to start him in the minor leagues due to service-time concerns, they may ultimately recall the 22-year-old outfielder sooner rather than later.
Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
The fight for the final spot in the Rays starting rotation proved to be one of the more exciting roster battles across spring training. With Jeff Niemann the on-paper favorite headed into camp, both Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi were expected to challenge the incumbent right-hander for the spot.
After a strong showing last season in the major leagues, especially over the final month of the season, Archer did everything within his power to win the roster spot this spring. Prior to being cut from camp on March 12, the 24-year-old right-hander had not allowed an earned run over seven innings. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that he allowed only one hit and three walks while fanning five batters.
Even though he’s clearly one of the team’s five best starting pitchers, the right-hander will presumably open the 2013 season in the Triple-A rotation alongside Odorizzi. I still expect him to spend a majority of the year in the major leagues.
Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
After dominating as the Reds closer in 2012, the organization has shifted hard-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation for the upcoming season—or so it seemed. Now he’s saying that he’d rather close than start, so who really knows how the situation will play out?
However, a move back to the Reds bullpen means a vacant spot in the starting rotation. Although the organization will presumably turn to Mike Leake to fill the void—why? I’m not quite sure; they could look to replace Chapman with another left-hander, Tony Cingrani.
After an impressive stint in the major leagues last season as a September call-up, Cingrani had an up-and-down spring in which he registered a 9.00 ERA and five strikeouts over four innings. Yes, he was a bit rusty this early in the year, but it’s worth noting that the 23-year-old faced almost exclusively big league hitters, as indicated by a 9.7 opponent quality (via Baseball-Reference.com)