On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Rays promoted utilityman Kean Wong, who made his big league debut a few hours later. To make room for Wong on the 40-man roster, the Rays moved southpaw Jose Alvarado to the 60-day Injured List.
Wong was selected as a second baseman in the fourth-round of the 2013 draft. He began to see some time at third before he expanded his defensive repertoire to include shortstop and all three outfield positions.
Because of his versatility, Wong will fit right into a Rays lineup that values multi-positional flexibility. Wong, like Brandon Lowe, is also a southpaw hitter, giving the team a more balance among the middle infield options. Wong joins Eric Sogard and Joey Wendle who bat from the left side, and Matt Duffy, Daniel Robertson, and Willy Adames who are all right-handed hitters.
Prior to his promotion, Wong found himself in the midst of a breakout season, slashing .307 BA/.375 OBP/.464 SLG/.839 OPS with 10 homers, 71 runs, and 63 runs batted in over 506 plate appearances for Triple-A Durham. The surge in power is noteworthy, as Wong’s previous high in SLG was .406.
Wong’s breakout yields some proof that he will be able to hit big-league pitching. Considering his gaudy 2019 numbers, the utilityman boasts a modest .287 BA/.342 OBP/.383 SLG/.725 OPS slash line across 3052 Minor League plate appearances.
— Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell will pitch for Triple-A Durham on Saturday. Right-hander Tyler Glasnow threw a bullpen session on Thursday, and Kevin Cash is debating whether he will make another rehab appearance or rejoin the team. Cash said they want to do right by him and the team.