Seven Rays prospects are playing for the Salt River Rafters in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Second baseman Vidal Brujan (No. 3, MLB No. 39), right-hander Shane Baz (No. 6, MLB No. 94), catcher Ronaldo Hernandez (No. 7), outfielder Josh Lowe (No. 11), right-hander Drew Strotman (No. 24), right-hander Simon Rosenblum-Larson and right-hander Alex Valverde. Outfielder Josh Lowe (No. 11) was removed from Salt Lake's roster on October 23 after hitting .327 with two home runs and a .937 OPS over 15 games.
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Here’s a day-by-day look at how Tampa Bay's AFL contingent is faring:
Oct. 26: Salt River 5, Surprise 1
Ronaldo Hernandez recorded the second and third hardest-hit balls on Saturday as he helped power Salt River to a 5-1 win over Surprise in the AFL title game. The Rays’ No. 7 prospect hit a 106.6-mph double off the center field wall in the second inning, but was thrown out trying to extend the hit into a triple. In Hernandez’s next trip to the plate in the fourth, he knotted the score at 1-1 with an RBI single to center field that had an exit velocity of 107.6 mph. He finished the game 2-for-5 after batting .359/.381/.513 in 11 games for the Rafters during the regular season.
Alex Valverde retired both batters that he faced out of relief in the eighth, getting a flyout to right and a soft grounder back to the mound. The 23-year-old polished off a Fall League stint that saw him allow just one run over 10 2/3 frames when including his regular season work.
Oct. 25: Salt River 6, Peoria 1
Vidal Brujan worked a pair of walks in an 0-for-2 performance from the leadoff spot for Salt River on Friday. The Rays No. 3 prospect’s average dipped to .256 with the performance, and he’s now gone 1-for-his-last-17 in his past five games. Simon Rosenblum-Larson tossed two scoreless frames out of the Rafters’ bullpen, lowering his Fall League ERA to 2.13. He struck out two batters, walked one and allowed one hit.
Oct. 24: Salt River 0, Mesa 0
Alex Valverde made easy work of Mesa’s middle of the order, striking out the side in a perfect ninth. Eight of his nine AFL appearances have been scoreless, fueling a strong 0.90 ERA.
Oct. 23: Glendale 5, Salt River 4
Ronaldo Hernandez recorded his second three-hit performance in five games, going 3-for-4 with a sacrifice fly for Salt River. He hit three singles in the contest, including 104.4-mph knock in the third inning, and owns a .359 average through 11 games in the Fall League. Vidal Brujan is batting .263 after an 0-for-3 showing, although he did record a pair of walks and scored a run.
Drew Strotman struggled early for Salt River on Wednesday, allowing one run on two hits and two walks in the first inning, but he bounced back and ultimately completed four frames of one-run ball, scattering five hits. The 23-year-old right-hander fanned the side in the fourth to finish with six strikeouts, his highest total in six AFL starts. Overall, Strotman, who lost most of the regular season to Tommy John surgery, pitched to a 6.43 ERA and 18/8 K/BB across 21 innings in the Fall League. 20-year-old righty Shane Baz ran his fastball up to 99.5 mph and averaged 97.7 during an inning of relief. The Rays’ No. 6 prospect recorded one strikeout and threw 13 of 19 pitches for strikes, but also allowed one run on two hits.
Oct. 22: Scheduled off day for all Arizona Fall League teams.
Oct. 21: Salt River 11, Glendale 7
None of the Tampa Bay prospects playing for the Salt River Rafters appeared in Monday's game.
Oct. 20: Salt River 2, Surprise 1 (10 innings)
Vidal Brujan started Sunday’s game off on the wrong foot, committing a defensive error on the first batter of the game and going 0-for-4 at the plate to begin the contest. The game would go to extras, however, where Brujan was the hero, picking up an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to walk if off for the Rafters. The RBI was Brujan’s 10th of the fall. Simon Rosenblum-Larson tossed a pair of scoreless innings out of the Salt River bullpen, allowing only one hit and striking out one batter along the way. He has a 2.53 ERA in eight appearances in the Fall League.
Oct. 19: Salt River 8, Surprise 1
Ronaldo Hernandez is batting .314 in the Fall League after a 1-for-5 showing for Salt River. The Rays’ No. 7 prospect has hit safely in eight of his past 10 games. Alex Valverde notched a pair of strikeouts during a scoreless seventh inning out of the Rafters’ bullpen. In the process, the 23-year-old righty lowered his ERA to 1.00, and he’s now kept opponents off the board in seven of his eight appearances.
Oct. 18: Peoria 9, Salt River 0
Shane Baz made his first start of the Fall League season after having already made six relief appearances. The Rays’ standout arm went two innings, allowing one run on an RBI single in the second. He struck out just one batter and allowed three hits, bringing his Fall League ERA to 8.10 over 10 innings.
"It was nice," Baz said. "I've kind of almost forgotten what it's like [to start], just being here the whole time and being in the bullpen everyday and getting ready really quick. It was definitely a little different, but it was familiar at the same time. I really liked it."
Oct. 17: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.
Oct. 16: Salt River 4, Peoria 2
Vidal Brujan went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, dropping his Fall League average to .290. He did reach base via a walk, but was back-picked at first base by Peoria catcher Colton Shaver. Josh Lowe was replaced defensively in the fifth inning after an 0-for-2 showing at the plate.
After a pair of shaky starts (11 R in 5 1/3 IP), Drew Stotman bounced back to allow two runs on four hits over five innings for Salt River in his longest AFL start. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out two batters without issuing a walk and threw 48 of 64 pitches for strikes. Strotman has had an inconsistent Fall League campaign, pitching to a 7.41 ERA across 17 frames, though the Rays’ No. 24 prospect is also making up for lost time this fall after Tommy John surgery wiped out most of his regular season. Simon Rosenblum-Larson took over in the sixth and delivered a scoreless frame with two strikeouts.
Oct. 15: Scottsdale 2, Salt River 1
Vidal Brujan led off the game with a base hit and reached base three times as he also drew a pair of walks. The shortstop, who is batting .308 in Arizona, finished 1-for-2. He also showed off his elite speed by stealing his fourth base of the fall. Ronaldo Hernandez got back in the hit column with a 1-for-4 night at the plate. Hernandez has hit well throughout the Fall League, batting .333 through nine games. Josh Lowe drew a walk and also stole his fourth base in the Fall League, but finished 0-for-3 at the plate.
Oct. 14: Scottsdale 6, Surprise 5
Right-hander Alex Valverde was the only Rays player to see action in Monday night’s game. He allowed one run in the seventh on two hits and a walk, though it could have been much worse. After allowing a double to Mets catcher Ali Sanchez and a walk to Logan Warmoth, Valverde gave up a single to the Mets’ Andres Gimenez, but got some help from his defense when Sanchez was thrown out at the plate.
Oct. 13: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.
Oct. 12: East 4, West 2
Here's how every player performed in the Fall Stars Game. More »
Oct. 11: Mesa 3, Salt River 2
Vidal Brujan, the Rays’ No. 3 prospect (MLB No. 39), didn’t collect a hit on Friday, going 0-for-3 with a walk, though he did hit the ball hard all day from the left side of the plate, missing home runs down the right-field line in two different at-bats and also hitting a lineout to the right-center field gap that was batted down by the wind. He’s hitting .302 through 16 games for Salt River. Ronaldo Hernandez (No. 7) struck out swinging on curveballs in each of his three at-bats to snap a five-game hitting streak.
Oct. 10: Mesa 9, Salt River 3
Vidal Brujan drilled a 1-1 pitch off of the wall in right-center field and raced around the bases for an RBI triple, his fourth in the Fall League. The Rays’ No. 3 prospect, who started at shortstop on Thursday, finished the game 1-for-3 to improve his average to .317. Josh Lowe reached base twice for the Rafters, going 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. He also showed off his plus arm strength from right field when he threw out a runner trying to extend a single into a double.
Oct. 9: Salt River 6, Glendale 2
Josh Lowe connected on a two-run homer to right field in the first inning to give Salt River an early lead. Lowe’s homer, his second in the AFL, came on a 1-2, 79-mph changeup and traveled 413 feet. The Rays’ No. 11 prospect added an RBI single to the opposite field in the fifth inning and finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. The former first-round pick (2016) is having a strong Fall League campaign, with a .364 average, seven extra-base hits and 11 RBIs through 12 games. Ronaldo Hernandez (Rays’ No. 7) also swung the bat well as he recorded a perfect 3-for-3 night at the plate. He hit a pair of doubles, including a 113-mph rocket that one-hopped the wall in left field, and scored two of the Rafters’ six runs.
Rays No. 6 prospect Shane Baz (MLB No. 94) faced the minimum in the seventh inning, as he induced a double play and a fly out to left field after issuing a leadoff walk. The 20-year-old right-hander ran his big fastball up to 98 mph in the outing. Simon Rosenblum-Larson issued three walks but tossed two hitless frames in relief for the Rafters to lower his Fall League ERA to 3.52.
Oct. 8: Salt River 11, Glendale 10
Alex Valverde extended his AFL scoreless streak to seven innings with two scoreless frames Tuesday night. Valverde, a 22nd-round pick from the 2017 Draft, struck out two and gave up one hit. Vidal Brujan has impressed throughout the Arizona Fall League and continued to do so Tuesday. The 21-year-old scored three runs, including the game-winner in the 10th, and finished 2-for-4 with a walk. He was also hit by a pitch. Josh Lowe is hitting .350 after putting together his third straight multihit effort. The 2016 first-round pick finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
Oct. 7: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.
Oct. 6: Salt River 6, Surprise 4
Shane Baz took over for Nick Neidert (Marlins), but didn’t have the same level of success. Baz, who averaged 96.7 mph with his fastball and topped out at 99.9 mph, gave up a run on two hits and also issued two walks in 2/3 of an inning. He did, however, strikeout a pair. Vidal Brujan extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a base hit, the lone hit on his 1-for-4 afternoon. Ronaldo Hernandez is hitting an even .300 after going 1-for-3 with his first homer of the Fall League. Hernandez’s blast, a two-run shot, was an absolute no doubter that left the bat at 102.9 mph, and the catcher celebrated with an enthusiastic bat flip.
Oct. 5: Peoria 9, Salt River 7
Simon Rosenblum-Larson entered in the sixth inning and gave the Rafters 1 2/3 innings of much-needed relief after a rough start to the frame. The Harvard product struck out three batters and allowed one run on one hit, both coming on an RBI double. Vidal Brujan batted leadoff and did a bit of everything for Salt River, including notching a single, drawing a walk, stealing a base and scoring twice. Tampa Bay’s No. 3 prospect extended his hit streak to nine games, having produced a .956 OPS through 10 contests.
Oct. 4: Salt River 10, Peoria 9
Vidal Brujan’s AFL-leading third triple plated a run and was the highlight of his 1-for-2 performance at the plate for Salt River. The Rays’ No. 3 prospect (MLB No. 39) also reached twice via walks and had a sacrifice fly to finish with two RBIs. Ronaldo Hernandez went 1-for-4 and scored a run from the bottom of the lineup. Josh Lowe connected on his first Fall League homer, a tape-measure solo shot to the second level of the batter’s eye in center field at Salt River Fields that had an exit velocity of 111.2 mph. Lowe also had a 105.4 mph single in the contest, which he finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base. The Rays’ No. 11 prospect and former first-round pick (2016) is batting .343. Drew Strotman gave up six runs (three earned) on five hits in 1 1/3 innings in his third start for the Rafters. He allowed three walks and didn’t record a strikeout, but did run his fastball up to 95 mph. Alex Valverde notched a strikeout during a perfect sixth inning to earn the win.
Oct. 3: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams
Oct. 2: Salt River 4, Scottsdale 2
Josh Lowe recorded a multihit game, including a ground-rule double in the seventh inning that set up a game-winning two-run hit. In 10 games played, Vidal Brujan has hit safely in nine of them, including on Wednesday. This time, it was an RBI single in the first inning as part of a 1-for-4 day.
Shane Baz didn’t record a strikeout in his fifth-inning appearance, but for the first time this Fall League season, he recorded a perfect frame with three fly outs.
Oct. 1: Salt River 5, Scottsdale 2
Simon Rosenblum-Larson made quick work of Scottsdale in his lone inning of relief. Rosenblum-Larson threw 12 pitches (eight strikes) and struck out one in a perfect inning. Alex Valverde gave up one hit and pitched a scoreless ninth.
Vidal Brujan extended his hitting streak to six games and is batting .308 after his 1-for-5 performance. Ronaldo Hernandez reached base twice -- drawing a walk in the fifth and hitting a single in the eighth -- and is also batting .308 after finishing 1-for-3.
Sept. 30: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.
Sept. 29: Salt River 4, Glendale 3
Vidal Brujan started at shortstop and led off for the Rafters, and he picked up his second triple of the Fall League en route to a 2-for-5 day at the plate. He also drove in two runs on a second-inning single with the bases loaded. He’s batting .324 so far this fall and has shown off both his speed and a bit of power along the way.
Josh Lowe scored a run but finished 0-for-3 at the plate, reaching base via a walk in his other plate appearance.
Sept. 28: Salt River 10, Mesa 3
Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez smacked an RBI double in a 1-for-4 day for the Rafters.
Sept. 27: Salt River 6, Mesa 1
Right-hander Drew Strotman didn’t allow a Mesa batter to reach base until Jo Adell led off the fourth inning with a double. The four-inning outing was a bounceback for the fourth-round pick in the 2017 Draft, who was tagged for four runs in 2 2/3 innings in his Fall League debut. This time, the 23-year-old allowed just Adell’s hit while striking out three batters in a scoreless showing.
Shane Baz put his electric stuff on display in 1 1/3 innings of relief for Salt River. He hit 99 mph on the radar gun in his first at-bat, which ended as one of his three strikeouts, but he ended his night with consecutive walks. The 20-year-old, whom the Rays acquired from the Pirates in the Chris Archer deal, is up to nine strikeouts in five AFL frames.
Vidal Brujan went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, but also grounded into a double play and was caught stealing. The club’s No. 3 prospect is batting .310 in the Fall League with a 1.010 OPS. Josh Lowe drove in a pair of runs with a ground-rule double that dropped just inside the left-field foul line and bounced into the bullpen. It was his only hit of the day as he finished 1-for-4.
Sept. 24: Glendale 5, Salt River 4
Vidal Brujan made the defensive gem of the day, ranging to his right at shortstop and firing to first to steal a hit from Brewers prospect Jake Gatewood. Brujan, a 21-year-old second base prospect, also produced a hit -- a double -- and scored a run in the fifth inning. His teammate at Double-A this season, Josh Lowe, recorded an multihit effort (2-for-4), which included a RBI double in the eighth inning.
Alex Valverde pitched 1 2/3 innings of hitless baseball, only allowing an inherited runner to score on an RBI groundout. He otherwise allowed no baserunners, and only a wild pitch separated him from being perfect while recording his five outs. Simon Rosenblum-Larson twirled a scoreless frame of his own, allowing a hit and issuing a walk while also striking out a batter.
Sept. 25: Salt River 8, Glendale 4, postponed due to lightning
Josh Lowe, the Rays’ No. 11 prospect, was one of three Salt River Rafters players to collect multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored before the game was postponed. Ronaldo Hernandez (No. 7) was held hitless, but reached on an error in the fourth inning.
Sept. 24: Salt River 4, Hermosillo 1
Vidal Brujan reached base three times as part of a 2-for-4 effort that included a triple and a run scored. Brujan also drew a walk and was caught stealing.
Sept. 23: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.
Sept. 22: Salt River 11, Scottsdale 4
Vidal Brujan, batting from the left side of the plate, hit his second homer of the AFL in the fourth inning, a 406-foot blast that also had an 102.6 mph exit velocity. Brujan, a 21-year-old whom the Rays signed in 2014, also singled earlier in the game, but was caught stealing third base. After his 2-for-5 night at the plate, Brujan is hitting .250 in Arizona.
Josh Lowe put together a strong night at the plate and led all batters in the game with three hits. The 21-year-old, a first-round pick from the 2016 Draft, not only tripled, but he collected a pair of singled and also reached once via an error. Lowe finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs, and he's now batting .294.
Shane Baz was roughed up in his Fall League debut (six runs in 1 2/3 innings) but was dominant on Sunday night. Baz, whom the Rays acquired via a trade from the Pirates, walked the first batter he faced, but then struck out five in a row -- all via fastballs, including one at 99.1 mph -- and picked a guy off to complete two innings. The 20-year-old, a first-round pick from the 2017 Draft (Pirates), spent the entire season with Class A Bowling Green and pitched to a 2.99 ERA with 87 strikeouts over 87 1/3 innings (17 starts).
Sept. 21: Surprise 12, Salt River 0
Drew Strotman got off to a fast start as he retired six of the first seven batters he faced and struck out the side in the second. However, things fell apart in the third as Strotman gave up four runs and was unable to finish the frame, departing after 2 2/3 innings. Simon Rosenblum-Larson gave up four runs (two earned) on four hits in one inning. Moises Gomez struggled in his lone inning of work as he walked two and gave up two hits. Gomez gave up a trio of runs, but only one was earned.
Josh Lowe went 0-for-3 at the plate. Ronaldo Hernandez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Sept. 20: Surprise 4, Salt River 1
Alex Valverde struck out one and walked one in his scoreless inning of relief. Vidal Brujan struggled atop the Salt River lineup and finished 0-for-4 with a trio of strikeouts. Josh Lowe also struck out three times, but he also singled and scored as part of a 1-for-4 effort.
Sept. 19: Salt River 4, Mesa 1
Vidal Brujan opened the scoring in Thursday’s game with a two-run home run in the first inning. The 21-year-old second baseman hit the ball 389 feet out to right for his first home run of the Fall League season. Playing for the Class A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs and Double-A Montgomery Biscuits this season, Brujan hit only four home runs, but did steal 48 bases and hit .277 with 28 extra-base hits in 99 games. The two-run shot was his only hit of the game. Josh Lowe entered the game as a defensive replacement in the sixth inning and would get a chance to bat, driving a soft liner into left for a single. Right-hander Simon Rosenblum-Larson entered the game in the seventh inning and allowed two walks to begin the frame and a third with two outs, but would escape without allowing a run. He finished his only frame without allowing a hit or run, picking up one strikeout.
Sept. 18: Peoria 10, Salt River 6
The Rays had three of their top 11 prospects in the starting lineup for the Salt River Rafters on Wednesday. Vidal Brujan, who was a late addition to the Fall League, hit ninth and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Ronaldo Hernandez hit right in front of Brujan and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Josh Lowe started in center field and hit second. He went 0-for-4, though he did draw a walk and score a run. Shane Baz struggled when he came into the game as a reliever, though he was lighting up the radar gun close to triple digits at times. The right-hander gave up six runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Right-hander Alex Valverde came into the game in the ninth inning and struck out the Astros’ J.J. Matijevic on three pitches to end the inning.