Rays get Baz from Pirates in Archer deal

No. 95 overall prospect dealt as PTBNL two weeks after trade

Shane Baz has struck out 73 batters over 69 innings during his two seasons in the Minor Leagues. (Brian McLeod/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 14, 2018 4:10 PM

When the Rays and Pirates completed a deal before the deadline that sent Chris Archer to the Bucs for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and a player to be named later, the unknown was considered by a Pirates source to be "significant ... the kind of player who our fans already know his name," according to Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic.

This certainly fits the bill.

No. 95 overall prospect Shane Baz is headed from the Pirates to the Rays as the player to be named later in the Archer deal, both teams confirmed Tuesday afternoon. John Dreker of Pirates Prospects was the first to report Baz's inclusion.

Pittsburgh grabbed the 19-year-old right-hander with the 12th overall pick out of a Texas high school in the 2017 Draft and signed him for $4.1 million, just above the slot bonus assigned to the pick. He was sent to Rookie-level Bristol to begin the 2018 season and posted a 3.97 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with 54 strikeouts and 23 walks in 45 1/3 innings before the deal. His Bristol tenure ended on a high note as he was named Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week last week after striking out 12 over 9 2/3 scoreless innings. It marked the first time this season that Baz had posted zeros in consecutive outings.

Despite the rough overall numbers, Baz has remained a top-100 prospect because of his impressive arsenal. His fastball can reach the mid-to-upper-90s while his cutter, slider and curveball are also considered potentially above-average. Speaking to MiLB.com on Monday, Baz mentioned that he has increasing confidence in his changeup and that the offering has led to his 62 percent groundball rate, highest in the Appy League. The overall package has helped him lead the Rookie-level circuit with a 26.1 percent strikeout rate, but issues with control have also led him to walk 11.1 percent of the batters he's faced. 

Baz gives Tampa Bay six top-100 prospects and will slot in at No. 6 in MLB.com's ranking of the organization behind Brent Honeywell, Brendan McKay, Jesus Sanchez, Wander Franco and Matthew Liberatore

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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