Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dane De la Rosa is fourth ex-Seal in the minors

This entire off-season, I have been under the mistaken impression that three former Victoria Seals are currently in the affiliated minor leagues. Well it turns out that there is a fourth ex-Seal and he just might be the closest one to the big leagues.

Dane De la Rosa briefly pitched for the Seals in 2009 before his contract was sold to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League. During his July/August 2009 stay in Victoria, De la Rosa had an 0-1 record with one save and a 2.45 ERA in six relief appearances. We were impressed with his stuff when he arrived, touting him as a potential closer for the Seals. It turns out that his upside was a bit higher than we thought.

De la Rosa was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2010 season and he spent last year pitching for the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Advanced A, Florida State League) and Montgomery Biscuits (AA, Southern League). De la Rosa made 47 relief appearances for Montgomery and sported a nifty 9-3 record with a 1.97 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Most impressively, he addressed what was previously one of his biggest flaws -- surrendering too many walks. De la Rosa only walked 3.2 batters per nine innings while averaging 9.3 strikeouts per nine. He was even promoted to the Durham Bulls for the AAA playoffs, but he did not appear in any games with Crash Davis' old team.

Just before Christmas, De la Rosa got the amazing news that he was added to the 40-man roster by Tampa Bay and was invited to spring training with the big club. For now anyway, De la Rosa is sharing the same clubhouse as Manny Ramirez. With an impressive spring, De la Rosa could break camp with the big club, but at the very least he'll start the 2011 season at AAA with the Bulls.

The Rays play their first spring training game on Friday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Here is an updated list of the ex-Seals who are currently playing in the minor-league system of MLB teams:

Year(s) played for Seals
MLB organization
Likely starting level for 2011
Dane De la Rosa
Tampa Bay Rays
Austin Bibens-Dirkx
Chicago Cubs
Chris Bodishbaugh
Chicago White Sox
Advanced A
Anthony Pluta
Los Angeles Angels
Advanced A or AA