With the MLB season underway after the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics battled in Japan, the Tampa Bay Rays’ season is just around the corner. So is the Durham Bulls’ and their roster is taking shape after another round of reassignments and options by Tampa Bay this weekend. Here are some potential players who could join the Bulls this season:
Anthony Bemboom: Bemboom, 29, was reassigned by Tampa Bay in his first season with the Rays organization. The veteran catcher has spent the past two seasons with Triple-A Albuquerque (Colorado Rockies), and hit .232 with five home runs and 29 RBI’s in 2018 (70 games).
Mike Brosseau: Brosseau, 25, has come a long way in the Rays system after going undrafted in 2016, but is on the doorstep of Durham after a great 2018 in Montgomery (AA). Brosseau hit .262 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI’s in 104 games.
Mike Franco: Franco, 27, has worked his way up to Durham after being selected in the 7th round of the 2014 MLB Draft, and should return to the team in 2019. Franco split 2017 between Montgomery (AA) and Durham, going 4–3 with a 3.16 ERA (62.2 IP) in 41 combined games.
Nate Lowe: Lowe, 23, made a big leap forward and was named the Rays 2018 Minor League Player of the Year. Now Lowe is poised to return to Durham, after hitting a combined .330 with 27 home runs and 102 RBI’s between Charlotte (A+), Montgomery (AA) and Durham (130 games) a season ago.
Ryan Merritt: Merritt, 27, first made a name for himself with a brilliant performance in the Cleveland Indians 2016 ALCS Game 5 win after being called on to make a spot start in their series-clinching contest. Now Merritt is in his first season with the Rays, after going 3–3 with a 3.79 ERA (71.1 IP) with Triple-A Columbus (Cleveland Indians) last year.
Ricardo Pinto: Pinto, 25, is another newcomer to the Rays organization and could make an impact in Durham after being reassigned. Pinto debuted in the Major League’s with Philadelphia in 2017 and spent 2018 in the Chicago White Sox organization, going 3–2 with a 5.95 ERA (65.0 IP) between Triple-A Charlotte and Advanced-A Winston-Salem.
Colin Poche: Poche, 25, has been profiled here before, but now appears poised to bring his deceptive game to the DBAP this season. Poche put up video game-like numbers last season, going a combined 6–0 with a 0.82 ERA (66.0 IP) and holding hitters to a .151 batting average in 40 games between Double-A Jackson (Arizona Diamondbacks), Montgomery (AA) and Durham.
Austin Pruitt: Pruitt, 29, is the lone optioned player of the group. Pruitt is a veteran of both Tampa Bay and Durham and could lead the way for the Bulls pitching corps this season. Last season, Pruitt went 3–0 with a 2.95 ERA (39.2 IP) in 14 games with Durham and 2–3 with a 4.65 ERA (69.2 IP) in 23 games with Tampa Bay.
Luis Santos: Santos, 28 is a veteran of two Major League seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and now joins the Rays for the first time. Santos could be a big part of the bullpen for Durham, after going 2–3 with a 2.74 ERA (42.2 IP) in 20 games with Triple-A Buffalo (Toronto Blue Jays) last season.
The recent player movement potentially sends four former Major League players to the DBAP, along with some of the most exciting prospects in the Rays’ system. In the Bulls quest for a third-straight Governors’ Cup title, they have received some strong reinforcements to gear up for another title run.