Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Durham Bulls Fan Looks At the 40-Man

… and the news is good.

One of the first things things about Triple-A baseball that needs to be understood is the 40-man roster. Fortunately, WDBB has been helpful in this regard and a brief explanation is here. Briefly, players on the 40-man and not on the 25-man “active” roster can be called to the Rays on a moment’s notice.

The Bulls have five position players on the Rays’ 40-man: Catcher Jose Lobaton, and outfielders Matt Joyce, Desmond Jennings, Justin Ruggiano, and Fernando Perez. The other eight players are on minor league contracts. A player not on the 40-man roster is much less likely to be called up.

Let me say right here, on the remote chance that a Bulls player sees this, that on a player-by-player basis, WDBB would be happy to see any Bull currently on our roster playing in the major leagues tomorrow. Happy up to a point, that is, since we’d also like to be able to go to a ball game tomorrow. For that purpose, WDBB also wants to see the best possible Durham Bulls team on the field.

Here are the numbers for our current position players, sorted by Weighted On Base Average (wOBA), a metric that does a good job describing a player’s performance.

Name/ wOBA / Games/ RBI/ Age
Chris Richard / .430 / 48 / 33 / 36
Dan Johnson / .407 / 53 / 50 / 30
J.J. Furmaniak / .391 / 10 / 3 / 30
Jose Lobaton / .369 / 30 / 13 / 25
Joe Dillon / .368 / 41 / 24 / 34
Ryan Shealy / .358 / 44 / 34 / 30
Matt Joyce / .351 / 13 / 7 / 25
Desmond Jennings / .343 / 37 / 11 / 23
Elliot Johnson / .343 / 55 / 28 / 26
Justin Ruggiano / .342 / 44 / 19 / 28
Angel Chavez / .341 / 46 / 28 / 28
Alvin Colina / .336 / 30 / 22 / 28
Fernando Perez / .263 / 50 / 12 / 27

What jumps out is that, except for Jose Lobaton, all the players on the 40-man are (1) outfielders and (2) not very high on the list.

The good news, then, is that almost all of our power is safe from call up and some very good players who haven’t hit their stride yet (Justin Ruggiano and Fernando Perez) aren’t likely to get the call either. Stability is pretty rare in minor league ball and this implies that we could be reasonably stable for a while.

What this really means, given my track record, is that the Rays are about to rip the heart out of the Bulls, but maybe not today. We can hope.


  1. I would think that, if the Rays needed a player now, Dan Johnson would have his contract purchased and get called up. He just seems like the most major-ready player right now.

  2. Agree. And although they'd have to put someone on waivers (I think) to clear a spot on the 40-man, that's also doable. If they were younger, I'd think the top of this list would be prime candidates for trades, and Dan Johnson might be part of a package. Better, however, is the idea of keeping him here just in case. He does a pretty good job at third, to my surprise. Good arm and smart.