Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tampa Bay Rays: James Houser LHP #45

Sorry we've been behind on our 40 Rays in 40 Days. We've caught "it" and our heads were about to explode for the past three days.

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

James Houser
LHP #45
HT:6'4 WT:185

The Dish: Sarasota's own James Houser was drafted by the Rays in the 2nd round(38th Overall) in the 2003 draft. Houser was drafted out of Sarasota H.S. and made his pro debut at age 18 for the Princeton Rays in the Appalachian League. In his first three years at the lower levels of the minors, Houser was 11-13 with a 3.23 ERA. He also posted some impressive K and Walk numbers. In those three years Houser pitched 188.2 innnings, striking out 180 batters and only walking 57. By 2006 Houser had finally moved on to High A Visalia. Houser went 12-4, but his ERA was a little high at 4.35, however he only walked 46 batters in 151 innings. In 2007 Houser was promoted to AA Montgomery where he went 5-4 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 20 starts. His season was cut short when he was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. The suspension was cut short when the Rays found a loophole in the system. In order to protect Houser from the Rule V draft the Rays added him to the 40 man roster this offeason. Once he was placed on the 40 man he was deemed no longer "subject to the minor-league rules and is no longer considered suspended,'' Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said.

2007 Numbers:(AA Montgomery)20 Starts, 5-4 with 3.65 ERA and 1.23 WHIP

Role for '08: Houser will most likely will start the season back at AA Montgomery in order to catch up on some of the time he missed last season. As long as the Rays keep him on the 40 man roster, the suspension remains void even though he is still in the minor leagues. Depending on his success Houser could be in the AAA Durham rotation by seasons end. For what it's worth, Houser has pitched two scoreless innings this spring putting out the fire on bases loaded jams both times.

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