Matt Moore

With Alex Cobb down, Matt Moore is ready and willing to help the Rays

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In another organization, Matt Moore would likely already have arrived in the majors.  The 22-year-old was dominant right from the start in Double-A this year, going 8-3 with a 2.2o ERA and a 131/28 K/BB ratio in 102 1/3 innings.

The Rays, though, are probably more cautious with their pitching prospects than any club in baseball.  And it’s worked for them.  They could have called on Moore when Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis went down, but they kept him in Double-A and only recently promoted him to Triple-A Durham.

Moore, meanwhile, has gone about his business without complaint.  He struck out 10 and walked none in another win for Durham on Sunday.  In four starts in the International League, he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA and a 39/5 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings.

The Rays again have an opening for Moore with Alex Cobb landing on the disabled list over the weekend due to numbness in his pitching hand.  Still, Cobb was the sixth man in a six-man rotation, and the Rays were looking to return to five starters anyway.  Besides, especially now that they’re 10 games back in the wild card, they may decide against giving Moore a look this year.

That’d be a shame, because the left-hander is probably the best pitching prospect in the minors at the moment and it’d be fun to see what he could do against AL East competition.  He’ll get his opportunity next season, but perhaps not in April or May.  Even discounting the financial incentives for holding prospects back. the Rays believe in taking their time with young pitchers.  Of course, they can only hold him back so long.  By 2013, David Price and Moore could form one of the game’s best one-two punches in the game.

Corey Dickerson has lost 25 pounds

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Corey Dickerson #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during the Rays' photo day on February 25, 2016 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.

Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!