The Bulls saw 28 different batters come to the plate this year. Two of those were pitchers, Dana Eveland and Eddie Gamboa, only had one plate appearance. Two were short-term rehab assignments, infielders Matt Duffy for 3 games and Logan Forsyth for 2 games. A young minor leaguer, Alec Sole was in three games. We do need to point out that in his one at-bat pitcher Eddie Gamboa got a hit and scored a run ending up with the team-best batting average of 1.000 and OPS of 2.000!
Looking at this chart of OPS numbers we see that we that we have to reach down to the 4th player in the rank-ordering before we find a player above the "average" line and who who had any significant amount of playing time (Jaff Decker).
There was, however, a cluster of promising young players that we'd hope to see again next year: Casey Gillaspie, Johhny Field, Daniel Robertson, and "veteran" 26 year-old Jaff Decker.
|Click on chart for larger image|
This table is sorted by a more "advanced" stat, Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) and includes another stat, Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA) that gives us a hint of the player's contribution to the team this year.
Players are discussed in order of games played. "Slash Line" is Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage. The Bulls played a 144 game season that ended September 5, 2016.
Richie Shaffer (119 games, 496 plate appearances,.227/.329/.367, OPS .695, wOBA .321) did not deliver on his promise from 2015 where he had stellar seasons at Montgomery and with the Bulls. He played in several positions and seems to have a decent arm. Longoria is, of course, in his way at Tampa Bay. Nevertheless, his 27 doubles were in second place on the team (and 14th in the IL), as were his 48 RBI. He also led the team in strikeouts with 135 and drew the most walks at 65. He was up with the Rays a couple of times and went back for September. [stats]
Daniel Robertson (118 games, 511 plate appearances, .259/.358/.356, OPS .713, wOBA .331) was the most promising young (22) player we saw this year. It says something about the Rays that they did not call him up for a "taste" this September. But that does mean that Bulls fans will get to watch him mature next year. In a perfect world, it would be nice if he were a bit quicker (just 2 stolen bases). And the 100 K's are worrisome. He led the team for being hit by pitches (11). [stats]
Dayron Varona (117 games (118 on FanGraphs site), 463 plate appearances, .232/.274/.407, OPS .681, wOBA .306) provided some of the rare excitement this year. His numbers are not all that great, but he did lead the team in doubles with 32 (5th in the IL) and RBI with 59. Mid-season he seemed to slow down, but picked up at the end. He has a terrific arm and covers right or left field quite well. Not quite as explosive a player as his fellow Cuban defector Leslie Anderson. We wanted to see a bit more plate discipline. Tied with Jaff Decker for most outfield assists (12). [stats]
Jaff Decker (99 games, 349 plate appearances, .255/.366/.421, OPS .787, wOBA .357) meant a lot to the Bulls this year. He was one of the few exciting players on the team, exciting to watch, that is. And was a rare left-handed bat. As he has several in the last three years (with Pittsburg and San Diego), he managed some major league time, but did not stick. He was #2 in stolen bases with 18, but led the team in getting caught with 7. He tied with Dayron Varona for most outfield assists (12). We'd like to see him back with the Bulls next year. [stats]
Update: Decker put on 40-man and called up to Rays mid-September.
Jake Goebbert (93 games, 321 plate appearances, .218/.299/.361, OPS .661, wOBA .303) added a left-handed outfielder's bat to the line-up, but, unfortunately, not much else. It is true that several of 10 home runs seemed to come at critical moments. Nevertheless, his OPS was almost 200 points below his 2015 numbers in El Paso (San Diego AAA) and he barely got above the Mendoza Line all year. [stats]
Taylor Motter (88 games, 387 plate appearances, .229/.297/.389, OPS .686, wOBA .311) seemed to be more of a Rays' super-utility man in training than a Durham Bull, this year. He had 33 games with the Rays but did not hit very well. His 2016 numbers are well below his 2015 Bulls numbers of .292/.366/.471. Not sure, but think he might be up for his first shot at free-agency this year. From a fan's perspective, if he can regain 2015 form, we'd like to see him back. [stats]
J.P. Arencibia (78 games, 324 plate appearances, .252/.284/.443 OPS .727, wOBA .326) joined the Bulls after 12 games with Lehigh Valley (AAA team of the Phillies). To be honest, after his superb September with the Rays in 2015, we didn't expect him back. At bat, he led the Bulls in home runs with 15, but overall his hitting was off. As a catcher, however, our guess is that he provided quite a bit of added value to the team because, once Luke Maile went up to the Rays, there was not much left to work with the pitching crew. J.P. announced his retirement at the end of the season. We wish him well. [stats]
Jake Hager (71 games, 293 PA, .228/.269/.324, OPS .592, wOBA .266) came to the Bulls in June after 43 games with Montgomery. This was his first time at AAA. He alternated between second base and shortstop with a couple of games at third. He had a piece of 41 double plays, and made a decent partner for Daniel Robertson at short. His bat needs some work, but he's young. Likely to be back next year. [stats]
Johnny Field (69 games, 285 PA, .275/.338/.455, OPS .793, wOBA .353) came up to the Bulls at the end of May for his AAA debut after 45 games with the Biscuits. The young (24) outfielder has had a good year and is one of the few Bulls with a decent OPS. Not particularly quick afoot (3 steals, 6 caught stealings), he was quick enough to lead the team in triples (4) and he ranked third in doubles with 23. Very likely to return next year. [stats]
Nick Franklin (64 games, 270 PA, .254/.322/.392, OPS .714, wOBA .322) was never expected to be a full-time Durham Bull when he came to the Rays system back in 2014. Maybe, maybe this year was the charm. At least he is now playing regularly with the Rays even if he did put in a substantial number of games with the Bulls this year. He did not have a great year at bat as a Bull, he actually has much better stats with the Rays (OPS .836). We don't expect him back. [stats]
Luke Maile (58 games, 214 PA, .242/.310/.340, OPS .650, wOBA .300) began the season with the Bulls, moved up to the Rays in mid-July, and never came back. Catchers are very difficult to evaluate from the stands. We certainly thought that Maile was ready to go as his stats improved throughout June. Just 25 years old, we expect that he's got a solid career ahead of him. As we will discuss later, however, the Rays are notorious for mishandling/misjudging catchers. We are not confident that he will be finding a place with the Rays as a major leaguer. We liked watching him play, though. [stats]
Kyle Roller (50 games, 187 PA, .216/.316/.377, OPS .692, wOBA .318) never quite delivered on the promise he showed in 2014 with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (OPS .875), although after leaving the Bulls in mid-June he did just fine in independent ball. Overall, the Bulls would have been better served if the Rays had found better ballplayers than Roller, Jake Goebbert, Eury Perez, and Carlos Corporan to fill out the roster at the beginning of the year. [stats]
Casey Gillaspie (47 games, 203 plate appearances, .307/.389/.520, OPS .909. wOBA .407) was a rare breath of fresh air after he came up from the Montgomery Biscuits in mid-July and stayed for the rest of the year. He appears to be a pure hitting first-baseman (switch-hitter, better as a lefty against righties). At 23 he's young and very likely to be back next year. We hope so. We like watching him play baseball. Note that he only made one error at first base as a Bull. [stats]
Patrick Leonard (42 games, 145 plate appearances, .198/.276/.252, OPS .528, wOBA .250) was much less successful in his AAA debut. However, after starting with the Bulls in April, he went to Montgomery at the beginning of June and had a decent year there. Just 23, you have to think he'll get another shot next year. [stats]
Cameron Seitzer (40 games, 144 plate appearances, .178/.229/.200, OPS .429, wOBA .204) appears to have been thoroughly mistreated by the Rays, although we're willing to stand corrected. As far as we can tell he was a backup infielder-in-waiting who filled a roster hole when it was convenient and then transferred (on paper) elsewhere when it wasn't. He was essentially with the Bulls all year, but only played in 40 games. Unfortunately, when he got his rare opportunities, he did not do very well. [stats]
Juniel Querecuto (36 games, 229 PA, .242/.289/.308, OPS .597, wOBA .272) does not have very good numbers for his visits with the Bulls. He started with the Biscuits, came to the Bulls in mid-May and stayed to mid-June. He went back to the Biscuits for a week or so, came back to the Bulls for late June and early July, back to the Biscuits, up to the Bulls, and ended the season with the Biscuits. That's three promotions to the Bulls this year. Not good numbers, even for an infielder. Young at 23, likely playing winter ball. We'll have to see about next year. [stats]
Update (9/12/2016): Added to 40-man roster and called up.
Hank Conger (30 games, 116 plate appearances, .165/.200/.303, OPS .503, wOBA .227) had a few good moments as a Bull after he was sent down by the Rays in mid-July for the last month and a half, but not many. As we mentioned, we have a hard time judging catchers from the stands, but his hitting numbers were not good at all. Unlikely to return next year. [stats]
Mikie Mahtook (27 games, 120 PA, .305/.383/.438, OPS .821. wOBA .371) spent the first six weeks with the Bulls and then went up to the Rays to spend almost all of the season with the Rays or on the DL (he did come back for 7 games at the end of the Bulls season). Mahtook is a major leaguer (even if his season has not gone well), although it sure would have helped to have at least one or two players of his rising talent with the Bulls this year. [stats]
Eury Perez (27 games, 99 PA, .239/.295/.307, OPS .602, wOBA .278) started the system in the Pacific Coast League with Houston's Fresno Grizzlies. Even at 26, he's been with a lot of teams and systems, coming up with the Nationals, then with the Yankees, Atlanta, and Houston before the Rays. He arrived in June and was on and off the roster a good bit. His last at bat was August 17. He had his moments. He was third in stolen bases, even with his reduced playing time. We have no way of knowing if he has any health issues, so hard to predict if he will be coming back. [stats]
Curt Casali (20 games, 81 PA, .254/.407/.365, OPS .772, wOBA .364) began the season with the Rays and stayed there until early August, when he was sent down, apparently to work on his hitting. He went back to the Rays at the end of the Bulls' season. Hitting was always a bit of a weak point with Casali, and this year did not seem to be that much different. With the Bulls, he was sharing time with two other catchers (Arencibia and Conger) and he did just fine with his limited plate appearances. Hard to tell if he's going to stick with the Rays next year. [stats]
Carlos Corporan (20 games, 70 PA, .200/.246/.308, OPS .554. wOBA .255) started the season with the Bulls, but was released in mid-May. He spent the next couple of months with the New Orleans Zephyrs, Miami's AAA team. Yet another example of the Rays having a hard time picking/developing catchers. [stats]
- Mayo Acosta is essentially the Bulls bullpen catcher. He has been on and off the roster for the last four years, essentially succeeding Craig Albernaz in that role (Albernaz, by the way, is with the Rays' Hudson Valley Renegades as their hitting coach).
- Tim Beckham got in 5 games and 12 plate appearances at the end of the season.
- Matt Duffy, an infielder, had 12 plate appearances on a rehab assignment.
- Alec Sole visited for three games in August while he was enroute from the Charlotte Stone Crabs to end the season with 6 games with the Montgomery Biscuits.
- Logan Forsyth had two games on a rehab assignment.