The recent cagey signing of Adam Kennedy to a minor league deal the other day is yet further evidence that the Rays under Andrew Friedman are just about the best run organization in baseball.
Not only are the Rays stocked up and down the system with an incredible array of talented prospects, but they are also stocked in AAA Durham with an amazing collection of major-league ready talent.
These are not just replacement-level mediocrities playing out the string. Virtually everyone on the team could easily be starting in the majors for the right team, and would have a reasonable shot to perform above replacement level.
Check out the projected 2009 opening day starters and rotation of the Durham Bulls:
C John Jaso – .820 OPS last season in AAA
1B Chris Richard – 26 homers, .922 OPS last year in 467 AAA at-bats
2B Adam Kennedy – solid infield glove and .276 avg for 10 seasons in the Show
3B Morgan Ensberg – former All-Star 3B for the Astros is still only 33 years old
SS Reid Brignac – one of the top prospects in the Rays system
LF Justin Ruggiano – .911 OPS including 11 homers and 20 SB in 66 AAA games last year
CF Fernando Perez – 43 SB at AAA last year
RF Matt Joyce – 116 OPS plus for the Tigers last season
SP1 – David Price – 12-1, 2.30 ERA (minors), 0-0, 1.93 (MLB)
SP2 – Wade Davis – 4-2, 2.72 (9 AAA starts)
SP3 – Jeff Neimann – 9-5, 3.59 (AAA)
SP4 – Mitch Talbot – 13-9, 3.86 (AAA)
SP5 – Ben Hendrickson – 10-9, 4.58 (AAA)
So who would have a better record if this team played the Royals 2009 schedule?
In all honesty it would probably be the Royals, but the point is that the Rays are certainly in good shape with some cheap in-house solutions if they run into any injury woes this year.