Mar 24, 2010, 1:43 PM EDT
Joe Maddon announced that rookie Wade Davis has won the final spot in the Rays’ rotation, with Andy Sonnanstine heading to the bullpen after making 72 starts over the past three seasons.
Sonnanstine pitched well in 2008, winning 13 games with a 4.38 ERA and 124/37 K/BB ratio as a 25-year-old, but got knocked around for a 6.77 ERA and .311 opponents’ batting average in 99.2 innings last season. He’s a control pitcher with a fastball that tops out in the high-80s, so he figures to be more of a long reliever than late-inning option.
Davis’ control is perhaps his biggest weakness, but his fastball regularly approaches the mid-90s and he looked very good in a six-start September call-up after posting a 3.40 ERA and 140/60 K/BB ratio in 158.2 innings at Triple-A last season. He projects as a potential mid-rotation starter, although Davis may not get enough strikeouts or ground balls to thrive without cutting down on walks at least somewhat.
Opening Day starter James Shields is the oldest pitcher in the Rays’ rotation at 28, followed by Jeff Niemann (27), Matt Garza (26), David Price (24), and Davis (24). And they also have 23-year-old stud prospect Jeremy Hellickson likely beginning the season at Triple-A.
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