Sunday, April 5, 2015

Several 2014 Durham Bulls Make the Rays Starting Roster

The Tampa Bay Rays announced their opening day roster [Tampa Bay Times, Rays Index] and several players with substantial recent experience with the Durham Bulls are on it.


The purest rookie of the bunch is middle infielder Tim Beckham. He did get a few at bats with the Rays at the end of the 2013 season, but his on and off status in recent years has been mostly with the Bulls. He got in a few games at the end of 2011, came to the party late in 2012 after a 50-game drug suspension to play in 72 games, put in a full year in 2013, but blew out his knee just prior to spring training in 2014 and did not show up with the Bulls until late in the season. We think it’s great that he’s starting off with the Rays. At a guess, however, he mostly a placeholder for Nick Franklin who is starting the season on the disabled list. We could be seeing Mr. Beckham back with the Bulls by the end of the month. Probably not for the whole season, though, since he seems to be coming into his own and will likely go back to the Rays to stay by the end of the year.

The rest of the recent Bulls list are pitchers, but they are all interesting guys.

Kirby Yates had a terrific year with the Bulls in 2013, banged the door open to the Rays in early 2014, and never looked back. Happy to see him stick with the Rays.

A case could be made that Steve Geltz was the Durham Bulls’ finest reliever in 2013. In 2014 he screwed up and sat out a 50-game suspension before throwing 40+ games in relief and earning a callup (the Bulls could have used him in the playoffs).

We were thoroughly unimpressed with Nathan Karns last year. That goes to show you what we know. He’s in the starting rotation for the Rays this year. Nevertheless, I’d guess that after the platoon of Rays on the disabled list get healthy, he will be back in Durham.

Jeff Beliveau, on the other hand, was a big help to the Bulls in both 2013 and 2014. He went up to the Rays a couple of times in 2013 and put it a good bit of bench/travel time. He had a breakout year in 2014 with the Bulls and went up to the Rays to stay in late July.

Then there’s Matt Andriese, who also did not impress us in 2014, but we did note that he was the best of a not very stellar Bulls starting rotation. However, he won two of the playoff games and he’s now with the Rays as a reliever.

Will we see any of these fellows this year? Probably. The Rays have 5 (count ‘em - 5!) pitchers with various forms of disabledness.

Meanwhile, again, congratulations. Very, very few ballplayers make it to opening day in the major leagues. Have fun.

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