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Shane Baz Widens His Repertoire



Righthander Shane Baz pitched well at Double-A Montgomery early this season, but the 21-year-old understands he is not yet a finished product.

Drafted 12th overall by the Pirates out of high school in 2017, Baz was traded to the Rays along with Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows for Chris Archer at the 2018 trade deadline.

Three years later, Baz was impressing his bosses with what he was doing—and how he was doing it.

“We are very happy with the way the season has started for Shane,’’ said Carlos Rodriguez, the Rays' vice president for player development and international scouting.

“Like many of the guys who were part of alternate training site (in 2020), the improvements he made during the (camp) last summer have continued to show now that we are back in competitive games.’’

Baz recorded a 3.57 ERA through the his first five starts for Montgomery, striking out 35 and walking two in 22.2 innings.

The combination of his power stuff—with a fastball that can hit triple digits—and the ability to throw strikes is what makes Baz such a tantalizing prospect.

And while Baz's fastball and slider are his best weapons, his work at the alt site, through the offseason and at spring training allowed him to add a changeup he can throw in any count. He also was feeling increasingly comfortable with his curveball.

In fact, when Baz was reassigned to minor league camp, he told Rays manager Kevin Cash he felt the expansion of his repertoire over the past year had made the biggest difference.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Baz welcomed the chance to learn firsthand at spring training this year how the big league pitchers develop their routines and go about their business.

“While there is still work to be done, the command of all his pitches keeps improving with each outing,’’ Rodriguez said. “The next step for him is continuing to figure out how to use the weapons he has to work a lineup for the third time.’’

COOL RAYS

— The Rays added another power arm to their bullpen at Triple-A Durham, acquiring Drew Rasmussen, along with reliever J.P. Feyereisen, from the Brewers for shortstop Willy Adames and reliever Trevor Richards.

— Sidelined into mid May with a left quad strain sustained in spring training, shortstop prospect Greg Jones made up for lost time with a sizzling start at High-A Bowling Green, going 5-for-11 with two homers in his first three games and hitting .326 with four homers, 11 RBIs and a 1.072 OPS through 11.

— Two Rays pitchers participated in the Olympic qualifying tournament, righthander Joe Ryan for Team USA and righthander Trevor Brigden for Canada. The Dominican Republic team had interest in top prospect Wander Franco, but in a mutual decision with the Rays he declined.

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