Princeton Notebook: Early Impressions

The Princeton Rays have dropped six of their last eight games as they continue to slump in this early portion of the season. While some players have continued to produce, several prospects have been failing to live up to expectations. Chances are, it will only be a matter of time before we see some changes to the roster.

The P-Rays are now 21 games into the season and the team has started to take shape. After following the team throughout the season, I have made an early list of the three players that I believe are the most impressive, disappointing, and surprising so far considering the expectations.

Most Surprising Player: Infielder Julian Morillo

Not many people expected Julian Morillo to be leading the team with a .360 batting average at this point in the season, or at any point of the season after he hit only .194 in the Gulf Coast League last season. Morillo spent two years in the GCL and never hit above .218, but here at the higher level he has surprised everyone early on.

Manager Michael Johns was among those who did not anticipate the success Morillo as had. "He's a guy who we didn't expect to do well, but he's doing really well," he said. "He's playing really well."

Whether Morillo can keep producing throughout the duration of the season is yet to be seen, but Rays fans should keep an eye on him for the future.

Most Impressive Player: Starting pitcher Blake Snell

Premium subscribers to Rays Digest can learn all about Snell by reading my recent feature story about him. Snell has been far and beyond the most impressive player on the team this year. His start on Monday night was another solid outing as he lowered his ERA to 0.40. Snell is the one constant producer on a pitching staff with question marks all over it.

Most Disappointing Player: Outfielder James Harris

James Harris was a first round pick for the Rays in 2011, but he has not played like one. Last season, Harris hit .165 in 45 games for the Gulf Coast League Rays in his first professional stint. Numbers in the GCL are not always indicative of a player's true potential when they are at such a young age, but things haven't gotten any better for him this season. His average is down to .167 and he is second on the team in strikeouts. He does not look comfortable at the plate, and he seems quite frustrated and lost.

News and Notes:

Infielder Daniel Duran, out of Cal State Los Angeles, has been assigned to join Princeton. Duran signed with the Rays back in June after he was selected in the 24th round in the recent 2012 draft . . . The P-Rays will have Tuesday off before returning to action on Wednesday when they will travel to Danville for a three-game series against the Braves.

Matt Tracy is the Princeton beat writer for Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewtracy.


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