On Wednesday, the Rays made a flurry of roster moves. They started by sending outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the DL with knee bursitis....which he must have contracted from sitting too long on the bench without any movement, as he's had only five plate appearances over the past three weeks. To replace Ruggiano, shortstop Reid Brignac was promoted from Triple-A to the majors.
Why was Brignac promoted? After being demoted a few weeks ago for hitting a pitiful .193 with one homerun and nine walks in 200 plate appearances, he hadn't exactly earned a promotion. Briggy hit .231 during his time in Triple-A, although he did show more plate discipline by walking seven times and only striking out six times. But still, this move seems somewhat odd, considering I doubt Brignac has managed to retool his swing in only 48 plate appearances in the minors.
Instead, Brignac's promotion is all about the players underneath him: shortstop prospects Tim Beckham and Hak-Ju Lee. Beckham had spent the entire season in Double-A and Lee in High-A, and both prospects were tearing up their leagues and ready for a promotion. Here are their season stats through yesterday:
Lee had been having a much better season, but it's worth remembering that Beckham is only 21-years-old (which is considerably younger than most players in Double-A), and he was still hitting at an above-average rate. He wasn't tearing up the league like Lee was, but since Lee needed to move up a level, he was doing well enough that he could justifiably be moved up to Triple-A.
So because Hak-Ju Lee was dominating High-A, his promotion pushed Tim Beckham up to Triple-A and Reid Brignac up to the majors. And now, the Rays have two of their top position prospects in the high minors. Here's hoping they're both up to the challenge, as the Rays certainly could use a new shortstop.