If you exclude Dan Wheeler (who flourished elsewhere before returning to the Rays pen) and Andy Sonnanstine (developed as a starter), the last homegrown right-handed reliever to pitch for the Rays was Juan Salas, back in September 2008. Durham doesn’t hold many answers to the drought, but Montgomery might.
Zachary Quate allowed a home run on Friday night, notable because he had allowed only three in his first 119 professional innings. The Rays 14th round pick in the 2009 draft, Quate has impressed in the lower minors. Between Low-A and High-A, Quate tallied 98 1/3 innings, struck out 124, and walked 22 batters (five of those being intentional)—that’s an ungodly strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.64.
The Rays have taken the kid gloves approach to Quate, advancing him a level per season despite his college pedigree (he attended Appalachian State University). Quate’s fastball is nothing special, although he can locate it well, but his slider gets a plus grade. You can see one of his sliders from the side around the 1:40 mark of this video. I’m not sure what he has to offer against lefties, if anything, but getting a viable big league reliever in the late stages of the 14th round is a win.
Of course, Quate still has to conquer Triple-A and have the Rays deem him worthy before fulfilling that potential, but it would be nice to replace Salas’ name in the trivial record books sooner than later.