Tampa Bay Rays Minor League Roundup (AA and AAA)

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Tampa Bay Rays Minor League Roundup (AA and AAA)
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With the first two months of the season in the books, we'll take a look at how Rays prospects have performed at the two highest levels.

Each team is loaded with talent, as the Rays feature one of the top farm systems in the game.

We'll have a look at who's off to a hot start and who's struggling, with special attention to some of the Rays' most noteworthy prospects.

 

AAA: Durham Bulls (31-23, First Place, IL South)

Who's Hot

First baseman Dan Johnson, famous for his pinch-hit home run at Boston during the 2008 playoff run, is leading the International League with 15 homers and is batting .324. He's 30 years old and a very known quantity, but he is making a strong case that he belongs in the big leagues somewhere.

Top pitching prospect Jeremy Hellickson has continued his dominance of AAA, going 8-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings pitched and striking out 67. He recently took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Mike Ekstrom has anchored the bullpen since his demotion, giving up just one earned run in 20 innings pitched.

 

Who's Not

It's hard to find players that are disappointing on this team, as it is stacked in both its hitting and pitching. Outfielder Fernando Perez has struggled of late though. After hitting .282 in the first month, he hit just .165 in May. He's batting .237 but has stolen 16 bases.

 

Notable

Desmond Jennings, the Rays' top outfield prospect, has had his ups and downs in 2010. Injuries have kept him from getting into a groove at the plate, and he is batting .248 in 101 at-bats. He has no home runs but has stolen 16 bases and been spectacular in the field.

 

AA: Montgomery Biscuits (29-23, Second Place, Southern Division)

Who's Hot

Pitching has been the strength of this team, and Jeremy Hall has been the workhorse of the staff, logging 57 innings in 10 starts. He's currently 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA.

Alex Torres, one of the Rays' top lefty pitching prospects, has been equally impressive, striking out 57 batters in 50 innings. He's 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 10 starts. Starting pitcher Alex Cobb has added to the success of the rotation since coming off the DL, posting a 1.86 ERA in four starts.

Infielder Drew Anderson and catcher Nevin Ashley have paced the offense, batting .321 and .319 respectively.

 

Who's Not

Pitcher Rayner Oliveros has been hit hard for a 6.32 ERA in more than 30 innings pitched. Outfielder Cody Straight is hitting just .195.

 

Notable

Starting pitcher Jake McGee, in his first full season after surgery, has had his moments but has also struggled at times. He has a 4.42 ERA in nine starts, with a very good 41 strikeouts in 38 innings.

Corner infielder Matt Sweeney, acquired in the Scott Kazmir trade along with Torres, was promoted to Montgomery from Single-A Charlotte. The 22-year-old has struggled in his first 53 AA at-bats after showing some good pop with Charlotte. He's hitting .208 with just two walks and 16 strikeouts and has yet to hit his first home run.

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