PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (September 7, 2017) - Stone Crabs third baseman Kevin Padlo , and relievers Spencer Jones and Dalton Moats have been selected to represent the Tampa Bay Rays in the Arizona Fall League this October.
Padlo, Jones and Moats will join Stone Crabs pitching coach Steve "Doc" Watson and five former Charlotte players in the sport's most prestigious prospect circuit.
"It's a good feeling," Padlo said. "The best of the best go out there. The competition will be great."
Padlo, the Rays' No. 28 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, slugged 25 extra-base hits in 64 games for Charlotte in 2017, missing half of the season due to a hand injury.
"I'm just trying to get some more at bats because I missed quite a few this year," Padlo said.
Jones and Moats both enjoyed breakout seasons in their first full season of professional baseball. Moats posted a 1.86 ERA over 63 innings of relief between High-A Charlotte and Low-A Bowling Green. The Rays' 15th round pick in 2016, Moats held opponents to a .179 average and walked only 12 batters all season (0.81 WHIP).
"I'm very excited. It's an honor for me to represent the Rays. They believe in us and now we have to go out there and prove it," Moats said. "I'm going to work on my changeup, especially against right-handed hitters. I think that's the biggest attribute that I need to improve."
Like Moats, Jones also split his time between Bowling Green and the Stone Crabs in 2017, working to a 2.25 ERA while striking out 74 batters in 68 innings. The former University of Washington Huskie was drafted in the 10th round by the Rays in 2016.
"It'll be a lot of fun," Jones said. "It's kind of a proving point to see what you're made of and see what we got. I think it will be a blast. I've heard good things about it."
While in Arizona, Jones and Moats will have the luxury of continuing to work with their pitching coach from Port Charlotte, Doc Watson.
"I think it's just going to advance our skill set even more," Moats said. "Having another month with him will let him sit down and diagnose everything we do to help us improve every aspect of our game."
The three Stone Crabs will play for the Surprise Saguaros, one of six teams in the AFL. They'll team up with the Rays' four other selections as well as prospects from the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. The 30-game regular season runs from October 10 until November 18.
Joining the Stone Crabs' trio on the Saguaros are former Charlotte second baseman Brandon Lowe , catcher Brett Sullivan and pitchers Benton Moss and Burch Smith .
The only Florida State League Player of the Year in Stone Crabs history, Lowe hit .311 with nine home runs and 46 RBI this year, setting the franchise's single-season record in slugging percentage (.524) and OPS (.927).
Sullivan was promoted with Lowe on August 2 after hitting .301 with eight home runs over 83 games. Despite spending the final month of the season in Double-A, his 67 RBI ranked second in the Florida State League.
Moss posted a 3.72 ERA over 138 innings for the Stone Crabs in 2016, finishing second on the team in strikeouts (118) and innings pitched. The former North Carolina standout made two starts for Charlotte in 2017 before being promoted to Double-A Montgomery on June 9. Moss worked to a 3.58 ERA over 12 starts with the Biscuits.
Smith returned to action in 2017 after spending three seasons on the shelf with elbow injuries. The Texas native earned a 2.43 ERA over eight starts with the Stone Crabs before making three effective starts for Triple-A Durham down the stretch (1.65 ERA).
Former Charlotte outfielder Braxton Lee was also named to the AFL, and will represent the Miami Marlins as a member of the Salt River Rafters. Lee was traded from the Rays to the Marlins in exchange for Adeiny Hechavarria in June. The Ole Miss product hit .281 over 115 games in 2015.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.