Calvin Faucher Rebounds With Rays
While Nelson Cruz didn't hit as much as hoped after coming over from the Twins in July, the Rays were still satisfied with the deal that sent Triple-A righthanders Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman to Minnesota.
Cruz's presence in the lineup and impact on young players in the Rays' clubhouse had value. So does 26-year-old righthander Calvin Faucher, who also joined Tampa Bay in the deal.
The Rays expect Faucher to factor in the 2022 bullpen, so they had no qualms about adding the reliever to the 40-man roster on Nov. 19 rather than risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft.
Faucher had run up a 7.04 ERA in 19 appearances for Double-A Wichita before the trade, but his turnaround at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham was instant and convincing.
In 13 appearances, Faucher compiled a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings supported by 30 strikeouts, seven walks and a .182 opponent average.
“Calvin’s someone we’ve had our eyes on for quite some time,’’ said Kevin Ibach, the Rays' senior director of pro personnel and pro scouting.
“He had a little bit of (an) issue throwing strikes in the Minnesota system, and we brought him in here—and just the instant reviews we got from Montgomery when he came over were over-the-top positive from (manager) Morgan Ensberg, from (pitching coach) Doc Watson and the staff down there.
"Specifically as it relates to how he can spin a baseball.’’
A few adjustments made a big difference for Faucher, a 10th-round pick in 2017 out of UC Irvine.
“(Pitching coach) Rick Knapp and the group (in Durham) were really able to fine-tune the rest of his game, get him in the strike zone more, allow him to compete with his fastball,’’ Ibach said.
“His bread and butter is the breaking pitch, to be able to go out and throw that for strikes, throw it for putaways deeper in counts. I think he came along and developed nicely as a pitcher.’’
— Second baseman Jonathan Aranda, catcher Rene Pinto, shortstop/catcher Ford Proctor and righthander Tommy Romero also were added to the 40-man roster in November. A sixth candidate, righthander Tobias Myers, was traded to the Guardians for third baseman Junior Caminero.
— Four coaches moved from the minor league to major league staff. Chris Prieto, who was the outfield/baserunning coordinator, was promoted to be first base coach, with Ozzie Timmons shifting to assistant hitting coach. Timmons instead left to be co-head hitting coach with the Brewers, so Dan DeMent, a coordinator, and Brady North, who was with High-A Bowling Green, were moved up to share duties. Triple-A pitching coach Rick Knapp was promoted to the newly created position of assistant pitching and rehab coach.