The latest on Rays top prospects

October 2nd, 2022

Welcome to the Rays prospect update, where you’ll find news, promotions and standout performances, all year long.

Rays top prospect: Rankings | Stats | Box scores

Bruján keys Durham's International League title win (Oct. 1)
LAS VEGAS -- Vidal Bruján’s season has been full of ups and downs as he’s moved between the Majors and Triple-A seven times. But one constant has been his bat when he suits up for the Bulls.

The Rays infielder raked once again, going 4-for-5 with a walk, two RBIs and three runs scored to lead Triple-A Durham to a 13-0 blanking of Nashville in the International League championship game at Las Vegas Ballpark.

“He's been our spark all season,” manager Brady Williams said. “When he goes, we go. And he had a really awesome night -- defensively, offensively.” Full story »

Bradley logs fifth quality start for Bulls (Sept. 27)
Across what has been a banner season for the Rays' farm clubs, just one win stood between Triple-A Durham and the International League East crown. That’s where came in.

Tampa Bay’s No. 1 prospect took the hill and spun six frames of one-run ball en route to a 10-1 Bulls victory that clinched the club a postseason appearance. Bradley’s pinpoint command was on display again, walking just one batter while scattering four hits and collecting three strikeouts -- two of which came against fellow Top 100 prospect Oscar Colas.

Bradley was in cruise control early on, retiring the first six batters that he faced on 17 pitches. He hit a small hiccup in the third when a trio of singles put the lone blemish on his stat line, but he ultimately stranded a pair of runners on the basepaths. MLB’s No. 20 overall prospect finished in a flurry, logging outs against 11 of his final 13 batters.

After an up-and-down first month with the Bulls, Bradley has settled in nicely. His strong performance against Charlotte marks his fifth quality start over his past six appearances, without more than five hits allowed in any of those.

The 21-year-old threw just 74 pitches (45 strikes) en route to his fourth Triple-A victory. With the club set to play Saturday in the Triple-A International League title game (and potentially Sunday in the Triple-A National Championship), Bradley could be tabbed for one final start during his electric year. -- Jesse Borek

High-A affiliate wins second straight league title (Sept. 21)
For the second year in a row, the Bowling Green Hot Rods have taken home a title.

The Rays’ High-A affiliate bounced back from a big defeat in Game 2 and shut down the powerful Aberdeen offense en route to a 4-0 victory in a decisive Game 3 to claim the South Atlantic League crown. It’s the club’s third league title in the last five years.

"We didn't let our locker room get quiet after [Game 2] at all," Hot Rods manager Jeff Smith said. "We made it this far, it's a huge honor to play in the last game of the season. Not many teams get to play that very last day, and we were able to do that and get that last victory. They came out really wanting it today." Full story »

Misner hits two homers in Southern League semis (Sept. 20)
In Double-A Montgomery’s pursuit to win back-to-back titles, Kameron Misner came up big against his former club.

The Rays’ No. 21 prospect clubbed two homers in the Biscuits’ 5-2 win over Pensacola in Game 1 of the Southern League semifinals, one of which was a go-ahead shot after a 52-minute rain delay. Misner went opposite field to put Montgomery back in front, and his second dinger to left-center put some distance between his club and the Blue Wahoos. It’s the 24-year-old’s first multihomer effort of the season and his first since July 31 of last year.

Misner was traded from the Marlins to the Rays in the Joey Wendle deal this past offseason, and the lefty slugger responded by setting a career-high in home runs (16), steals (32), RBIs (62), walks (86) and hits (104) through 117 regular-season games, the most he’s played in his career. -- Stephanie Sheehan

Single-A Charleston claims second league title (Sept. 20) 
Much like it did all season long, Single-A Charleston dominated in the postseason en route to a second straight crown.

The RiverDogs completed a sweep of the Carolina League Championship Series with a convincing 6-2 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats at Bank of the James Stadium.

Charleston completed its championship run with a perfect 4-0 mark in the playoffs. The RiverDogs outscored their opponents 29 to 14, while only trailing for a single inning throughout the postseason. The club completed the regular season with a league-best 88-44 record and +174 run differential.

"I think this group as a whole, from Day 1 throughout the entirety of the season showed up to work every day, wanted to get better every day, stayed hungry and they were never content," RiverDogs skipper Blake Butera said. "So credit to them for wanting it that badly and wanting to be successful, and when you finish a season off this way, it's a surreal feeling." Full story »

Auer cranks homer in spectacular September (Sept. 15)
Mason Auer is having himself a month. 

The Rays' No. 13 prospect's eye-catching display continued in High-A Bowling Green's 10-1 win over Rome. 

The fifth-round (161st overall) selection in the 2021 Draft began the night with an infield single in the second inning and promptly stole second. In his next at-bat, he clobbered a two-run homer to left-center field in the fourth. Auer singled again for his third and final hit of the game. 

The 21-year-old is in just his second professional season and was promoted from Single-A Charleston on June 28. Since moving up, he's hitting .300 with a .429 average in September. -- Ethan Sands

Caminero's breakout continues in playoff debut (Sept. 13)
On the heels of a breakout first regular season in affiliated ball, Junior Caminero keeps raking.

Caminero’s four-hit night keyed Charleston’s 6-1 win in Game 1 of the Carolina League semifinals over Myrtle Beach at Joseph P. Riley Park. The Rays’ No. 19 prospect  connected for RBI singles in the third, fifth and seventh after a first-inning double, to provide much of the offense behind JJ Goss’ six innings of one-run ball.

Goss, the Rays’ No. 27 prospect, struck out three but walked only one while scattering three hits. But the offensive star was Caminero, who hit .314 with 11 home runs and an .882 OPS in 62 regular-season games across two levels this season. A bulk of that production came at Single-A, where Caminero hit .299 with six homers and an .864 OPS in 26 games before his postseason debut. -- Joe Trezza

Bradley is adjusting to Triple-A (Sept. 8)
Taj Bradley is starting to get the hang of the next level. 

After being promoted to Triple-A on July 24 and allowing three or more runs in five of his first six outings with Durham, MLB Pipeline's No. 21 overall prospect has settled down and owned the mound. 

His latest performance came in the Bulls' 3-2 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 21-year-old tossed six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and two walks while fanning six batters. This marked his third straight start where he's given two or fewer runs. 

After being selected in the fifth round (150th overall) in the 2018 Draft, this is Bradley's fourth professional season, and he's on the cusp of possibly being called up to help the Rays in their Wild Card push. -- Ethan Sands

Caminero clutch in clincher (Sept. 7)
After jumping out to an early lead, Charleston needed a few extra innings to secure the Carolina League South second-half title. Behind a two-homer, four-RBI performance from No. 19 Rays prospect Junior Caminero, the Tampa Bay affiliate defeated Columbia, 11-7, in an 11-inning thriller at Segra Park.

Caminero launched his first homer of the night in the top of the ninth to give Charleston some insurance, but Columbia wasn’t going down without a fight. Down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth, Omar Hernandez singled and Gavin Cross -- the Royals’ top prospect -- made them pay with a game-tying, two-run jack to keep the Fireflies alive.

Both teams drove in the free runner in the 10th, but Caminero led off the 11th with his second homer of the night to give the RiverDogs a 9-7 lead. Willy Vasquez and Brock Jones both launched solo jacks to cap a four-run frame to propel Charleston to victory. The club earned its 85th win of the season and improved to 39-23 in the second half.

Auer triples in four-hit night (Sept. 1)
In his second four-hit game of the season, Tampa Bay’s No. 13 prospect Mason Auer tripled, singled three times, walked and stole a base in High-A Bowling Green’s 6-5 loss to Asheville. It’s the first time this season that he’s reached base five times in a game.

The 21-year-old led off with a single to left on the third pitch of the game and followed it up with a base knock to the same side of the field on the first pitch he saw in the third. Auer then swiped his 20th bag with the Hot Rods, his 44th on the season. His third single of the contest in the fifth drove in Bowling Green’s first run of the game before drawing a seven-pitch walk in the sixth and smacking a triple to center in the eighth, his 12th three-bagger of the season.

In his past 10 games, the outfielder is batting .314/.444/.457 with two triples, two steals, four RBIs and eight walks. -- Stephanie Sheehan

Hernandez collects multihomer game for Bowling Green (Aug. 28)
Call him Hamerin' Heriberto Hernandez.

The Rays' No. 18 prospect tied the High-A Bowling Green Hot Rods' single-season home run record with his 22nd and 23rd blasts of the year in a 7-4 win over Rome.

Ahead 2-1 in the third inning, Hernandez gave his team some breathing room with a two-run homer to left field. Two innings later he did it again, this one a solo shot to give him his second multihomer game of the season.

The 22-year-old is now tied with Jordan Qsar, who set the Bowling Green record with 23 home runs in 2021. Hernandez is slugging .513 through 107 games this season, third-best in the South Atlantic League. -- Jacob Resnick