Bauers has been the Rays’ best rookie so far

by Gary Shelton on July 19, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Bauers has been the team's best rookie./CARMEN MANDATO

Bauers has been the team's best rookie./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 4 a.m.

No one wants the elevator to go back down. No one wants the flight to be interrupted.

And it was recently that we all shared in the disappointment of Willy Adames, who once again did not stick with the Tampa Bay Rays.

In his brief stint in the majors, Adames showed that he had a lot of the "it" factor. He hit home runs this year off of Chris Sale, Sonny Gray and Jacob deGrom. He showed he had the jump to cut off line drives.But the Rays -- who haven't traded shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria -- wanted Adames to play every day. That, supposedly, will help juice his .216 average. So they sent Adames down to ripen.

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Adames is expected to return soon./JEFFREY S. KING

Adames is expected to return soon./JEFFREY S. KING

And so, even as the Rays consider moving some of their mainstays, they have to realize that joining the majors is rarely a seamless transition. Yes, we wait Brendan McKay and Garrett Whitley and Lucius Fox and Jesus Sanchez and Justin Williams and the rest. But often, it isn't full speed ahead.

We would like it to be, of course. We can't wait to get this movement started, because the best thing about the current team is its youth. It's only partially what Jake Bauers can do now; it's what you can imagine him doing in the future. The farm system can be the only oxygen this team gets.

Yarbrough has eight victories so far./JEFFREY S. KING

Yarbrough has eight victories so far./JEFFREY S. KING

At the core of it, we all know that there is one way that the Rays get significantly better. It isn't by outspending other teams, and it isn't by outshopping them. The only way they get better (and they haven't done this well enough in recent seasons) is to draft and develop their farm system.

A glance at the best Rays' rookies so far.

1. Jake Bauers. Has handled himself well since coming up from the majors. Still, he's hitting just .149 over his last 14 games. Still, he's hit a walk-off home run against the Yankees and had a four-hit night. The Rays are 19=11 in his 30 starts.

2. Ryne Stanek. He might not be atop some lists because his assignment is so unique as a team "opener." But Stanek has 11 starts on the season, and since the first of June, he has a 0.82 ERA. Opponents have hit .133 against him.

3. Ryan Yarbrough. He's won eight games already at the All-Star break. If that doesn't sound like a lot, consider this: The Rays had only three pitchers with more last year, and no one had more than 12. Yarbrough has a 3.62 ERA.

Stanek has started 12 games for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Stanek has started 12 games for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

4. Willy Adames. Granted, he never did find his hitting rhythm. But didn't you like to see him in the lineup?

5. Joey Wendle: No, Wendle doesn't have the press clippings of some of the other Rays' young players. But he's hitting .283.

6. Wilmer Font. Font was well on his way to be the reclamation find of the season when he was injured. He allowed an ERA of just 1.67 for the Rays after being released by the As and Dodgers.

6. Diego Castillo. He has limited opponents to a .171 average this season. Opponents are batting .050 (1-for-20) against him when they are behind in the count.

7. Johnny Field. Field played 62 games for the Rays, and he had himself some moments. In the end, however, he hit only .213 before being sent down to Durham.

8. Christian Arroyo: Arroyo has been on the disabled list since June 26. Even before being hurt, his playing time was compromised by Matt Duffy's good year and a glut of middle infielders.

9. Anthony Banda: Banda had only one start (three appearances) but looked sharp, Then came the Tommy John surgery.

10. Yonny Chirinos: Chirinos started five games for the Rays and showed a bit of promise. He had an ERA of 3.72.

11. Jaime Schultz: Schultz got his first major-league win early this season. He's in his second stint with the Rays. He has an ERA of 4.76.

12. Andrew Kittredge: Has a 7.77 ERA in 16 games. Still, he's flashed some potential.

13. Chih-Wei Hu: In two games, he has a 5.87 ERA for the Rays.

13. Adam Kolarek: He's struggled so far, posting a 12.79 ERA.

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