Baseball America

Marc Topkin

Savvy Rookie

Marc Topkin -Premium Content

Third baseman Evan Longoria was playing in college two summers ago and in the minor leagues two months ago, but he hasn't looked anything like a rookie since joining the Rays in mid-April. "Certain players have an ability to slow the game down as the game pressure intensifies, and Evan is definitely one of those players," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "Our scouts noted that about him as an amateur and we have seen it repeatedly with him as a pro."

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Tampa Bay Rays

Second Helping

Marc Topkin -Premium Content

Much of the baseball world was focused on whom the Rays would take with the first pick in the draft, and they waited until the morning of the annual event before revealing they would make Tim Beckham the one. But scouting director R.J. Harrison and his staff put a lot of work into what they would do in the second round, and they felt it paid off when they were able to select LHP Kyle Lobstein with the 47th overall pick.

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Tampa Bay Rays

Short Detour

Marc Topkin -Premium Content

There were a lot of things Justin Ruggiano could have thought when he was surprisingly sent back to minor league camp early in spring training. But Ruggiano, who'd played seven games for the Rays after an unexpected September callup and looked to be a contender for the fifth outfielder spot this spring, took it this way:

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Tampa Bay Rays

In The Spotlight

Marc Topkin -Premium Content

With blond hair and a slight 6-foot, 160-pound frame, Elliot Johnson doesn't look like a villain. But after a home-plate collision with Yankees catching prospect Francisco Cervelli in a March 8 spring training game, Johnson was being vilified on the back pages of all three New York tabloids and blasted by Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Majors | #2008#Organization Reports#Tampa Bay Rays

Reasons To Believe

Marc Topkin -Premium Content

There are extensive studies, lengthy analyses and way-too-complicated-to-understand computer projections attempting to define and categorize how good of a pitcher Rays ace Scott Kazmir could become. Tampa Bay teammate B.J. Upton can do it in two words: "Cy Young."

Majors | #2008#Season Preview