On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired right-hander Peter Fairbanks from the Texas Rangers in exchange for INF/OF Nick Solak. To make room for Fairbanks on the 40-man roster, the Rays placed Christian Arroyo on the 60-day IL.
Fairbanks, 25, was selected by the Rangers for the first time this season. The right-hander struggled with command in his short big league stint, walking seven across 8-2/3 innings, while also allowing four home runs, however, he also flashed dominant stuff over that span — notching 15 strikeouts (36.6% strikeout rate) while averaging 97.2 mph on his fastball.
Fairbanks started his career with a low 90’s heater, yet credited the increase in his velocity to a change in his delivery as he rehabilitated from Tommy John surgery.
The rehab team was all on board with it. It’s happened really fast. It’s still baseball. It’s just in front of a lot more people who really care how you do. I knew if I sucked this year, I’d be released, probably.— Peter Fairbanks
FanGraphs called Fairbanks an “impact relief piece,” while grading his fastball (70/70)/slider (55/55) combo as one of the best for burgeoning relief prospects across the minors.
For the time being, Fairbanks will head to Triple-A Durham, where he will be tasked with working on fastball command. The right-hander has the makings of a dominant reliever and this acquisition could bear fruit for the Rays in the near future, especially with Jose Alvarado on the shelf.