Who's having most impressive spring for Rays?
Players pick the standouts halfway through Spring Training
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- At the halfway point of Spring Training, the Rays are beginning to get a good sense of the talent they have inside the clubhouse. Tampa Bay currently has 67 players in camp, all possessing a unique skill set.
But as spring has progressed, some players have created a buzz among their peers. Players like Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows aren’t the first ones who come to mind when someone is asked, “Who has impressed you?” because everyone knows how talented they are.
MLB.com went around the Rays' clubhouse asking players who has impressed throughout camp, and most of the buzz has centered on the acquisitions the front office made over the offseason.
Let’s take a look at the most popular choices:
Hunter Renfroe, OF
Renfroe was acquired from the Padres in December in a deal that sent Tommy Pham to San Diego. Renfroe is projected to get most of the playing time in left field, and while he is a solid defender, he has made an impression on his teammates with his bat.
“Hunter has unbelievable power,” Meadows said. “It’s unbelievable. His batting practice is ridiculous.”
“I’ve been in the outfield when he’s hitting, and there aren’t many balls to be caught because most of them are flying over the fence,” catcher Mike Zunino said. “I played against Hunter when he was in Mississippi State and in the Minors when he was with San Diego. Obviously, [there's] the numbers he put up last year, but I think he’s just getting better and better. That power is going to be big in our lineup.”
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, 3B/OF
Tsutsugo was the Rays' big free-agent acquisition, signing a two-year, $12 million deal in December. Tampa Bay felt confident enough to make an investment in the Japanese slugger, and through a couple of weeks, Tsutsugo has impressed his new teammates, especially with his defense.
“All you hear about is how he can hit and handle the bat, but he looks very comfortable out there in the outfield,” Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people with what he can do on that side of the ball.”
Manuel Margot, OF
Margot was acquired from the Padres just a few days before the Rays opened camp, and he will get plenty of playing time in the corner outfield spots as a key defender. Margot has proven to be an elite center fielder over his three full big league seasons, but now he’ll look to show his new team what he can do. So far, so good.
“Manny, on all sides of the ball, he’s very fast,” Meadows said. “He is a really good dude. I feel like I’ve known him for more than two weeks.”
Shane McClanahan, LHP, Rays' No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline
McClanahan has been the prospect who has created the most buzz around camp. He possesses a firm fastball, which can reach 100 mph. The left-hander also possesses a good breaking ball. McClanahan will likely start the season at Double-A Montgomery, but it’s possible he'll get promoted to Triple-A Durham. Regardless of where he starts, McClanahan has a chance to help the big league club during the 2020 season.
“He had a couple early outings that he was a little shaky with the command, but he’s settling in nice and he’s throwing the ball extremely well,” Zunino said. “I think he’s just showing the potential of what he can be.”