No, that splash sound you just heard isn’t a 250-pound man leaping into a swimming pool. It’s the sound of several Tampa Bay Rays rookies making a splash this season.
2) RHP – Alex Cobb
Most Rays fans had likely never heard of Cobb until he was called up for a start on May 1 due to an injury in the rotation. He was involved in a no-decision in an outing against the Yankees during which he allowed just two runs on three hits. He also struck out nine in a road game against the Mariners. More impressively, he never suffered a loss in his first seven major-league starts – a rare record for a rookie. Cobb has a 2.79 ERA with twice as many strikeouts as walks.
3) OF – Desmond Jennings
In high school, Jennings played baseball as a centerfielder, basketball as a guard and football as a receiver, QB and defensive back. He was a Division I prospect in all three sports (according to Rays beat writer Marc Topkin). These talents seem very similar to former Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford, who is arguably the greatest player in franchise history. He has already made his mark by hitting .354 with two triples, three homers and a solid .708 slugging percentage. Rays TV broadcaster Dewayne Staats has called Jennings a “special player.” He is already living up to that description.
Perhaps the name Robinson just sounds like a good baseball name because of some of the greats who have had it. Although he has only seen action very recently, Chirinos has already put himself in the category of one of Tampa Bay’s most exciting catchers after recording the game-winning hit against Toronto in the 12th inning on Aug. 4. The Venezuela native spent over a decade in the minors before getting an opportunity with the Rays this year. In 13 games, he has a .273 ERA with a homer and six RBI. Rays fans can only hope he’ll provide more offensive production than any catcher they’ve used this year – or maybe ever.