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Rays Ready For Next Wave

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Jacob Faria (Photo by Paul Gierhart) Jacob Faria (Photo by Paul Gierhart)[/caption]

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.—Righthander Jacob Faria and lefty Blake Snell, a pair of Rays pitching prospects who joined the 40-man roster in November, got noticed for the wrong reasons on the first day of workouts this spring

Ace Chris Archer called out the duo for not coming early enough to the clubhouse.

But since then, those two, plus prospect righties Taylor Guerrieri and Jaime Schultz, have opened eyes with how they have pitched and how they have handled themselves in their first big league camps.

"I don’t know if I can recall seeing four guys (as impressive),” big league manager Kevin Cash said. "That’s not to discredit anybody, but those four guys have stood out.”

As much as they Rays are known for developing starters, the only two they have produced since Matt Moore made his debut at the end of the 2011 season are Alex Colome and Enny Romero, who both have been shifted to bullpen roles.

Tampa Bay now appears to have their next wave of young starters. Guerrieri (24th overall), Snell (52nd overall) and Faria (20th round) all were high school products of the 2011 draft. That year, the Rays made 10 of the first 60 picks.

The Rays added Schultz in 2013 as a 14th-round pick from High Point.

"There’s a lot to be excited about,” Cash said. "The four of them. Now let’s see how it shakes out for them.”

Guerrieri, who missed parts of two seasons with Tommy John surgery, appears destined for Double-A Montgomery, and Faria probably will join him.

Snell, the reigning Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year who led the minors with a 1.41 ERA and .182 opponent average, is headed back to Triple-A Durham, unless the Rays suffer an injury—or work out a long-term contract that has been discussed.

Schultz, who is not on the 40-man roster, unlike the other three, is probably headed to Durham after a solid Double-A season.


• Catcher Justin O’Conner was sidelined during big league camp but responded to treatment and is expected to be on the field early in the minor league season.

Blake Snell Mattthomasgetty

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• Outfielder Dayron Varona, who signed a minor league deal with the Rays in May 2015, was part of the travel roster for the Rays’ exhibition in his native Cuba.

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