The Rays appear set to select the contract of infielder/outfielder Miles Mastrobuoni and option catcher Rene Pinto to Triple-A Durham. Former big league outfielder Denard Span, now a special assistant with the Rays’ baseball operations department, tweeted that Mastrobuoni has been informed he’s going to the big leagues. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Pinto was likely to be sent back down to Durham. The Rays still need to make a corresponding 40-man roster move.
It’ll be the first call to the big leagues for Mastrobuoni, whom the Rays selected with their 14th-round pick back in 2016. The now-26-year-old Mastrobuoni has never garnered much prospect fanfare despite consistently producing at an above-average level in the minors. Baseball America ranked him 20th among Tampa Bay farmhands on their midseason update of the Rays’ system — the first time he’s ever appeared among their top 30 prospects there. FanGraphs listed him 37th among Rays prospects back in March.
The increased attention on the lefty-swinging utilityman is understandable, given his output in recent seasons. Mastrobuoni split the 2021 season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting at a combined .298/.376/.424 clip in 434 plate appearances. This year in Triple-A, he’s continued to hit for average and draw walks at a high clip but has also lowered his strikeout rate and displayed previously unseen power. In 573 plate appearances, Mastrobuoni has slashed .300/.377/.469 with more home runs (16) than he’d hit in his entire career prior to the 2022 season (13). He’s also turned in a career-high 32 doubles and swiped a career-best 23 stolen bases (in 26 attempts).
As with so many players who come up through the Rays’ system, Mastrobuoni is accustomed to playing multiple positions. He’s logged 463 innings at second base this season but also seen action in right field (201 innings), left field (147 innings), center field (123 innings), at shortstop (96 innings) and at third base (17 innings). That defensive versatility isn’t a newfound trait, either; Mastrobuoni has at least 42 career games at all six of those positions, though second base has been his most frequent spot on the diamond.
Now that he’s on the 40-man roster, Mastrobuoni can serve as a flexible depth piece in Tampa Bay for the foreseeable future. He’ll be under club control through at least the 2028 season and will be optionable for the next three years.