The Rays, always looking for versatile and inexpensive pieces, added second baseman Logan Forsythe and four other players from the Padres for lefthanded reliever Alex Torres and high Class A righthander Jesse Hahn.
The four others headed from San Diego to Tampa Bay are righty relievers Brad Boxberger and Matt Lollis, righthanded starter Matt Andriese and second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum. Boxberger is the only one with big league experience.
Jesse Hahn, rhp
Career Transactions: Selected by Rays in sixth round of 2010 draft; signed Aug. 14, 2010 … On disabled list, Aug. 16-Oct. 5, 2010 … On disabled list, June 20-Sept. 19, 2011.
Simply put: Hahn has starter stuff but reliever durability. He ranked No. 15 among on the Rays Top 30 Prospects list in 2014, down from No. 13 in 2013, but the organization was beginning to see the potential he showed at Virginia Tech before he had Tommy John surgery shortly after turning pro in 2010. The Rays limited Hahn to three-inning starts to open the 2013 season and never allowed him to go more than five innings before he was shut down for a month in late July. His fastball sits in the 90-93 mph range and touches 97 with plus life. He also throws a heavy two-seamer in the low 90s with impressive sink, an overhand curveball with a sharp drop and a changeup that has the potential to be above-average. He’s ready for Double-A.
Alex Torres, lhp
Service time: 0.141. Options Used: 4/4.
Torres blossomed out of the Tampa Bay bullpen in 2013. His control, woeful in 2012, improved overall in 2013, but especially in a relief role, where he walked just eight percent of big league batters while holding them to a .159/.244/.224 line. Torres is not a good candidate to repeat his breakthrough, however, because his low batting average on balls in play (.221) is not sustainable.
Logan Forsythe, 2b/3b
Age: 27. Bats: R.
Service time: 2.113. Options Used: 1/3.
Forsythe enjoyed terrific success against lefthanders in 2012 (.384/.465/.545), but he regressed in 2013 (.211/.282/.368). He profiles similarly as Sean Rodriguez, who he will battle for playing time in Tampa. Like Rodriguez, Forsythe can play multiple infield positions and corner outfield spots while providing offensive value versus lefties. (Minor league signee Jayson Nix also will be in that mix for the Rays.) Forsythe has played second base, third base, shortstop and the corner outfield, fitting in perfectly with Tampa Bay’s profile for multi-position players
Brad Boxberger, rhp
Service time: 0.129. Options Used: 2/3.
Boxberger’s control in the majors has thwarted his opportunities in San Diego. He has good velocity (91-94 mph) and movement on his fastball and a short, tight slider but has averaged 5.6 walks per nine innings in his two partial seasons with the Padres. His minor league walk rate is better (3.7 BB/9), meaning he might be able to harness his control.
Matt Andriese, rhp
Andriese ranks No. 15 on the Padres’ Top 30 Prospects for 2014. He spent the second half of 2013 at Triple-A Tucson and showed a strong blend of command (3.6 SO/BB ratio) and ability to keep the ball on the ground (1.8 groundout/airout ratio). Both ratios placed him within the top 60 for qualified minor league starters. While he gets results, Andriese doesn’t do it pretty, nor does he have knockout stuff. He unleashes low-90s sinkers that run in on the hands of righthanders, doing so with a long, hooking arm action and closed-off delivery that force him to pull the ball across his body. This appears to have no effect on his control because his career walk rate is 2.1 per nine innings. His stuff and pitchability translates best to a back-of-the-rotation starter or reliever in the majors.
Matt Lollis, rhp
Lollis, who is 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, certainly looks the part. But hitters don’t act intimidated and take some very good swings. Though he tops out in the high 90s, he has no secondary pitch to complement the velocity. Still, he showed success after moving to the bullpen in 2013. Eligible for last December’s Rule 5 draft, Lollis went unselected and probably will spend the bulk of 2014 at Triple-A Durham.
Maxx Tissenbaum, 2b
Age: 22 Bats: B.
Tissenbaum is a strong-framed player with an advanced approach at plate. He works the count and can produce quality at-bats. The issue is a lack of a plus tool. He plays adequate defense at second base.