Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tampa Bay Rays: Mitch Talbot RHP # 51

As we continue on our 40 Rays in 40 days series, our next Ray is P Mitch Talbot.

Mitch Talbot
RHP #51
HT:6'2 WT:200

The Dish: Mitch Talbot was the second round pick(70th overall) of the Houston Astros in 2002. Due to signing issues Talbot didn't begin his pro career until 2003, but immediately impressed Astros executives and scouts. At the age of 19 Talbot's fastball was already touching out at 95 on the radar gun. In 2005 Baseball America rated his change up as the best in the Astros organization, very impressive for a 21 year old single A pitcher. By 2006 Mitch was on the fast track to the Majors pitching for AA Corpus Christi, when he was traded to the Rays along with SS Ben Zobrist for IF/OF Aubrey Huff. Talbot made an immediate impact in his new organization joining AA Montgomery. In the month after the trade Talbot was named Rays minor league pitcher of the month in Aug. 06 going 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA with 47 K's(A Southern League High). He helped the Biscuits to their first of back to back championships and was named the AA top playoff performer. Talbot's 2007 season was spent at the Rays highest minor league level, AAA Durham. In his first full season at Durham, Talbot lead the International League in wins. Though he struggled at times last year, it seems Talbot has matured and plans to figure in the Rays immediate plans.

2007 Numbers:(AAA Durham)Record 13-9, 161 IP, 4.53 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and only 59 BB's.

Role in '08: This spring Talbot was named by Joe Maddon as a candidate for one of the remaining two rotation spots. However, his chances of making the team are slim. Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine are the two leading candidates, and Talbot's Durham teammates Jeff Niemann and J.P Howell are also in the mix. Talbot would need a lights out spring and would need Jackson, Sonnanstine and Niemann to all struggle in order to make the team. It's more likely that Talbot will start the season again at Durham and be one of the first callups should a starting pitcher get injured or is ineffective.

Jule's Fantasy Impact: Mitch's value is minimal for this season. He's more of a player to watch for on the waiver wire. You probably get him for a $1 in the late rounds of auction leagues and hope for the best.

Tommy's Bottom Line: I think we will see Talbot at some point this season. If the Rotation stays healthy and all members pitch well Talbot most likely will be a September callup. However, most teams never have the luxury of an injury free rotation and with the questions surrounding Edwin Jackson effectiveness there is a real chance Talbot could be up sooner. I'll say we see Mitch sooner than later going 3-3 with a 4.87 ERA in 10 starts.

We caught Mitch chatting with Jeff Niemann at Practice


Baseball Reference