Every spring training, there are players that break out from the pack and perform above any expectation.
Shelley Duncan fit that role for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. He signed a minor league deal with the team that included an invitation to spring training in January 2013. He then led the team with five home runs tied for third on the team with 10 RBI during spring training last year. At the conclusion of the spring, he earned a spot on the Opening Day roster made available due to a Luke Scott injury.
He was designated for assignment in April 2013 once Scott was ready to return.
In 2012, Stephen Vogt found himself on the Opening Day roster after an injury to B.J. Upton. During spring training, he compiled a .323/.382/.484 line in 31 at-bats, the best of any catcher. He started the season with no hits and no walks in 17 at-bats over 10 games. He was sent back to Triple-A before being called up in September to finish the season with two walks and no hits in 25 at-bats over 18 games.
Who will be the breakout player this season?
Here are four players that could play their way onto the Rays’ Opening Day roster this spring training.
All statistics obtained from Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.