The Tampa Bay Rays are taking a sneak peek into their future this week. The team is hosting 31 of their most talented minor league prospects.
The group includes the newest addition to the team, the most talked about player during the offseason, Wil Myers. Half of the players are first-round picks, and that doesn't include Myers, who came to the Rays in a seven-player deal that sent James Shields to Kansas City.
"There are some great players here," said Myers. "I've seen them in the cage and out here. There is definitely a lot of talent here."
"You know you are not the Baseball Minor League Player of the Year just because they like you," said Mitch Lukevics, Rays Minor League Director of Operations, speaking of Myers. "You have to have the ability to do it. He put up the numbers. We had the opportunity to get him, and we are glad to have him."
All eyes are on Myers. The 22-year-old has the best chance of making the big club this season.
"Every ball player has confidence that they are ready for the Major League level," Myers said. "That's not my decision. It's for the front office, and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity."
"He's a good player and a better person than a player," Lukevics said. "When you add that type of player, character, and you add that type of ability, then good things happen."
The Rays' winter development camp isn't all about field work. The prospects were invited to Tropicana Field for one reason: to be taught the 'Ray Way,' an orientation into the organization.
"I think one of the biggest benefits is getting familiar with the area," said Andrew Friedman. "The Trop, meeting the staff, media training, there are a lot of things that when they ultimately get called up we really think it's going to help their transition, so they can focus on their baseball."
Developing these prospects is critical for the Rays to remain contenders. These players are the next generation of stars – arrival date to be determined.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?