Rays' Adames heading to Majors for debut

No. 2 prospect joining Tampa Bay with Wendle on paternity list

Willy Adames has produced a .793 OPS over 170 career games with Triple-A Durham. (Carl Kline/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | May 22, 2018 3:45 PM

Willy Adames is coming to Tropicana Field for his first taste of The Show.

The Rays are calling up their No. 2 prospect from Triple-A Durham to make his Major League debut, the club announced. Adames is slated to start at shortstop and bat fifth in the Tampa Bay lineup against the Red Sox on Tuesday. The move comes as a result of Joey Wendle's move to the paternity list. 

Playing in his second season in the International League, the 22-year-old shortstop has batted .311/.387/.466 with four homers, three doubles and five doubles in 40 games. That's an overall improvement from the .277/.360/.415 line Adames produced over 130 games with the Bulls last season, but it should be noted that the right-handed slugger hit .303/.389/.455 from June onwards -- a sign that he has simply picked up where he left off after some initial struggles in 2017.

Tweet from @RaysBaseball: Tonight's starting shortstop.#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/9W9vA44xEe

Originally signed by the Tigers out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, Adames joined the Rays organization two years later in the three-team deal that sent David Price to Detroit. He's methodically climbed the Tampa Bay ladder, hitting Class A Bowling Green after the trade followed by Class A Advanced Charlotte (2015), Double-A Montgomery and Durham (2017) before repeating a level for the first time this season.

Video: Durham's Adames blasts his fourth home run

The 6-foot infielder has the potential to be an above-average hitter with average power. However, his overall package plays up thanks to his plus glove and arm at the premium shortstop position. Even with Adeiny Hechavarria in the organization, it's long been believed that Adames would take over at short long-term. He did make 11 starts at second base last season but has not played there at all in 2018.

Adames's trip to the Majors isn't guaranteed to be a long one. Wendle has been the club's primary second baseman, occasionally sharing duties with Daniel Robertson -- both of whom have been above-average hitters this season. Robertson, who starts at second base Tuesday, had started the last three games at shortstop with Hechavarria on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain that doesn't appear to be serious. Wendle's pending return and Hechavarria's comeback not long after will likely leave Adames as the odd man out, especially if the Rays want to help his development with consistent playing time. But that won't stop MLB.com's No. 22 overall prospect from getting the chance to make a big first impression.

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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