Tampa Bay Rays: Australian Baseball League

There are four Tampa Bay Rays in the Australian Baseball League, which began its season Nov. 15. The four will play this season for the Perth Heat in the six-team league, which competes into mid-February. The four Rays who will get winter ball experience in the ABL are:

Garrett Whitley, OF
Age: 20 (DOB 03/13/1997)
The first-round draft pick out of high school in 2015 — #12 on our Prospects1500 Tampa Bay Rays’ Top 50— is finally making progress after being brought along slowly after a hamstring injury cost him an opportunity at full-season ball in 2016. His first year at full season Low-A Bowling Green in 2017 produced a .241 batting average, .347 on-base percentage and 13 HR, 61 RBI and 21 SB. Solid numbers for a 20-year-old at this level. Australia will present a new challenge and an opportunity to see if Whitley’s quick bat can play there.

Jake Fraley, OF
Age: 22 (DOB: 05/25/1995)
The LSU outfielder, perhaps the fastest runner in the system, stole 33 bags in his first season in the minors in 2016. He played only 30 games in 2017 because of injury — and fell out of our Top 50 as a result — and the Rays figure an opportunity Down Under will give him a chance to make up for lost time.

Zacrey Law, C
Age: 21 (DOB: 07/08/1996)
The Texan can hit a bit and steal bases. His 2017 season was also limited by injury, to 60 games, and he only stole three bases. More importantly, he was moved from center field to catcher by the Rays. The ABL is an opportunity to spend more time behind the plate. He has yet to break into our Top 50.

Mike Brousseau, IF 
Age: 23 (DOB: 03/15/1994)
Brousseau hit .321 with a .399 OBP, 7 homers and 42 RBI in 99 games at two A-ball levels in 2017. The undrafted free agent signed out of a Michigan community college in 2016 and has played mostly as a utility infielder at all four positions. The Australia opportunity gives him a chance to show if he has upside to be more than that.

Many of the ABL games are televised during the middle of the night here in the United States, but check it out at theabl.com/au.

Article featured image of Garrett Whitley – courtesy of perthnow.com

Michael Parnell is a retired newspaper editor who covers the Colorado Rockies for Prospects1500. He is a longtime fantasy baseball fan who now focuses on his dynasty teams in Diamond Duos and Dynasty Sports Empire leagues. He recently relocated from Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Albuquerque, N.M. Follow him on Twitter @parnellmichael.

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