Bulls Roster Begins to Take Shape

Jake Faria was one of seven 40-man players optioned to the Minors on Wednesday by Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Rays made their first round of Spring Training cuts late Wednesday afternoon, with several potential 2017 Bulls among the group.

Seven total players were optioned to minor league camp. While any of the seven could appear in a Bulls uniform this season, INF Willy Adames, RHP Jose De Leon, RHP Jacob Faria, and RHP Ryne Stanek appear as the likeliest candidates to open the season in Durham.

Adames, 21, currently ranks as the №1 prospect in the Rays system and the №21 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com. The 6’1” Dominican Republic native went 4–18 (.222) with 1 HR and 5 RBI over 10 Spring Training games with the Rays, after hitting .274–11–57 in his All-Star season with Double-A Montgomery last year.

De Leon, 24, will actually be making a detour to play for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic before reporting to the Rays minor league camp. In his first Spring Training with Tampa Bay following his offseason trade from the Dodgers the Rays №3 prospect appeared in two games this spring, allowing 7 R on 4 hits, 3 BB, and 3 Ks over 2 games and 3.2 IP. De Leon spent the majority of last season with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City, where he went 7–1, with a 2.61 ERA and 111 Ks over 86.1 IP.

Faria, 23, spent half of 2016 with the Bulls and he appears ticketed for Durham to start the 2017 campaign as well. The California native made five relief outings for the Rays this spring, where he allowed 5 R on 8 hits over 7.1 IP, but also struck out 9 while walking just one. Faria started last year in Montgomery (1–6, 4.21) before joining the Bulls in late June and going 4–4 with a 3.72 ERA and a .190 opponents’ average over 13 starts totaling 67.2 IP.

Stanek, 25, also split last season between Double and Triple-A. The 2013 first round selection out of Arkansas appeared in five games totaling 3 IP this spring, where he was touched up for 10 R, 8 ER, on 11 hits. Stanek pitched exclusively in relief for Durham in 2016, going 2–4 with a 5.92 ERA over 24.1 IP.

Also of note from yesterday was the Rays assigning six non-roster invitees to minor league camp.

Of this group, both RHP Jeff Ames, and INF Ryan Brett stand a good chance of being on the Bulls Opening Day squad.

This is just the first round of cuts for Tampa Bay. The Rays spring roster now sits at 42 players, with less than three weeks remaining for the team to be trimmed down to the Opening Day 25-man roster.