Triple-A Durham is home to a trio of big league-ready arms (righthanders Chris Archer and Alex Cobb and lefty Alex Torres), and shortstop Hak-Ju Lee will play for Double-A Montgomery, but for breakout potential don't overlook the low Class A Bowling Green squad. The heart of the Hot Rods' order features three organization top-20 prospects in right fielder Drew Vettleson, shortstop Jake Hager, second baseman Ryan Brett and third baseman Tyler Goeddel.
Leap Of Faith
Outfielder Mikie Mahtook, the 31st pick in the 2011 draft, signed late and didn't play last season, but the Rays trust his experience at Louisiana State and in the Arizona Fall League (.338/.410/.544 in 68 at-bats) have prepared him for an assignment to high Class A Charlotte.
Where Is That Guy?
Neither of the Rays' top picks from the 2010 or 2011 drafts broke camp with a full-season club. Both left fielder Josh Sale, who hit .210 with four homers in the Appalachian League a year ago, and righthander Taylor Guerrieri, taken 24th overall last year, will start the year in extended spring training. Same goes for 2010 first-round catcher Justin O'Conner.
Time Is Running Out
Righty reliever Matt Bush faces a litany of criminal charges stemming from an alleged hit-and-run accident in Port Charlotte, Fla., this spring. The Rays placed him on the restricted list in late March, but among players who figure to actually play this season, Triple-A lefty Alex Torres has perhaps the most to prove if he wants to avoid being completely overshadowed. Torres is on his final minor league optional assignment this season, but he'll have to dramatically improve his control (5.1 walks per nine with Durham last year) if he wants to stay in the rotation picture in a pitching-rich Rays organization
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