The Rays announced they’ve selected right-hander Easton McGee onto the big league roster. Reliever Calvin Faucher was optioned to Triple-A Durham to open an active roster spot, while Tampa Bay designated righty Cristofer Ogando for assignment to create a vacancy on the 40-man roster.
Ogando was just selected onto the big league club last week. That marked his second stint on the 40-man roster this year, but each has proven brief. Ogando made one appearance during Tampa Bay’s series in Toronto in early July, and he came out of the bullpen twice last week before being optioned back to Durham. Those marked the 28-year-old’s first MLB outings, and he’s tossed 4 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Ogando has struck out a pair, issued one walk and averaged 94.6 MPH on his fastball and 81.3 MPH on his breaking pitch.
A former Marlins and Diamondbacks farmhand, Ogando has spent the past few years in the Rays system. Aside from his limited big league action, he’s spent the entire year in Durham. Working as a multi-inning reliever, the Dominican Republic native has pitched to a 4.66 ERA with an average 23.5% strikeout rate and an alarming 11.5% walk percentage through 53 1/3 frames with the Bulls.
This is the second time the Rays have designated him for assignment, and he’ll find himself on waivers in the next few days. Ogando went unclaimed the last time his name was on the wire. If he goes unclaimed again, he’d have the right to refuse an outright assignment in favor of free agency. Even if he accepts an assignment back to Durham, he’ll qualify for minor league free agency at the end of the season unless the Rays put him back on the 40-man roster in the interim.
Taking Ogando’s place on the 40-man is McGee, who’ll be making his major league debut if he’s called upon by manager Kevin Cash. A fourth-round pick out of a Kentucky high school in 2016, the 6’6″ righty has spent seven years in the minors. McGee has never appeared on an organizational prospects list at Baseball America or FanGraphs, but he’s shown excellent control throughout his time in pro ball. He’s never walked more than 5% of opponents at any full-season affiliate, with his strike-throwing ability standing out as his primary attribute.
McGee has never missed many bats in the minors, and that’s continued this season. He has a below-average 17.4% strikeout rate through 107 2/3 innings with Durham this year. The 24-year-old had posted decent ground-ball rates until this year, but he’s given up a fair bit more airborne contact during his first extended crack at Triple-A. McGee has induced grounders on just under 40% of batted balls and has surrendered more than two home runs per nine innings en route to a 5.43 ERA. He’s worked primarily as a starter in the minors but figures to assume a long relief role during his initial big league look, with Cash able to count on him to throw strikes when called upon.