According to Stacy Long, 22-year-old Joseph Cruz will miss the remainder of the season with a superior labral tear in his right throwing shoulder. Cruz entered the season as the 22nd ranked prospect in the Rays organization according to Baseball America. It should be noted that he was ranked 13th last year, and was mostly passed up by the sizable quantity of draftees, acquired players, and international prospects, as Ty Morrison and Alex Cobb were the only stateside prospects to leapfrog Cruz.
Cruz had struggled through his 11 starts this year at Double-A Montgomery with an ERA of 8.43, a home run-inflated FIP of 5.09 and a .366 batting average-against. Like his teammate Matt Moore, Cruz has battled slow starts in the past but perhaps there was more reasoning than just seasoning this time around. Best of luck to Cruz on his recovery following his upcoming surgery.
It has been a disappointing season to-date for the much heralded Biscuit rotation. While ace Matt Moore has become one of the minor leagues’ brightest stars, the rest of the staff has underperformed. Chris Archer has slightly reduced his walk rate to a still-high 4.75 free passes per nine innings pitched but his strikeout rate has dipped south of eight per nine. Nick Barnese has had success with a 3.35 ERA, but his FIP of 4.69 shows reason for concern. Barnese walked less than two batters per nine innings last season with Charlotte, but has seen that rate rise to 4.6 in Class AA. Shane Dyer rounds out the rotation with a solid 3.68 ERA and 3.47 FIP but is striking out less than four batters per nine innings.
Marquis Fleming has had a very impressive showing out of the bullpen for the Biscuits. Through 42.2 innings over 20 games, Fleming has done what so many pen prospects have failed to do for the Rays in making a successful transition to Double-A without a big drop-off. Fleming is second in the Southern League in strikeout rate to Moore, as his 12.02 strikeouts per nine innings trails Moore by only just .09 strikeouts and represents a career high.