Rays getting glimpse of future with Junior Caminero, Carson Williams

SARASOTA — Elite infield prospects Junior Caminero and Carson Williams are big parts of the Rays’ future.

And while they are in camp this spring, the 20-year-olds have the chance to show what they are capable of doing when when they get to the big leagues.

Both impressed in Monday’s 8-3 win over the Orioles. Caminero blasted a three-run, go-ahead homer to centerfield off big-league reliever Cionel Perez, while Williams made several slick defensive plays and laced an RBI double.

Manager Kevin Cash said the Rays have a sense of what Caminero, who was promoted from Double A to the majors in September, can do and the power he has.

“I’m not surprised by it,” Cash said. “There’s a reason he’s the No. 3 prospect in baseball. The guy hit 30 home runs last year. He’s going to hit a lot of home runs throughout his career.”

Caminero seems most likely headed to Triple-A Durham to start the season and is well aware that decision is out of his control.

“My job is just to keep working, keep working hard,” he said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “All I can control is my efforts and the hard work that I put in; everything else is in (God’s) hands. My job is just to work hard every day, and let’s see what happens.”

Williams, a top-20 prospect on some lists likely headed to Double-A Montgomery after spending most of last season with High A Bowling Green, has made a good all-around impression his first time around the big-league team, including a backhanded toss from his glove during pregame work.

“This will be a big year for him,” Cash said “Not putting pressure on him, but he just does things so well. When you watch him take ground balls, he looks like a like a big-leaguer. He’s so good defensively, so sure-handed, (his) body moves really, really well.

“And then with the bat, I know he’s put the work in. (Hitting coaches Chad Mottola and Will Bradley) said a lot of those balls he fouled off (Monday), he’s missing last year. So, he made some nice adjustments.”

Pitching in

Prospect Trevor Martin, the Rays’ 2022 third-round pick from Oklahoma State, was summoned from the early minor-league camp to start Monday and made the most of it, striking out Orioles All-Star Cedric Mullins to start the game.

The 23-year-old worked 1⅔ innings, striking out three and allowing a two-run homer to big-leaguer Tyler Nevin. Then Martin went back out to the field to watch, since he’d never seen a big-league, spring-training game before (and only one regular-season game).

“A dream come true,” he said. “It’s fun. Baseball is always fun.”

As for facing Mullins and Adley Rutschman, another All-Star? “Honestly, I didn’t know who was up to the plate,” he said.

Cash said he saw why Martin is highly regarded in the organization: “He threw the ball really, really well.”

Game details: Rays 8, Orioles 3

Cash was pleased with the offense and pitching overall as the Rays (1-1-1) got their first spring win. … Camp invitee Tanner Murray hit a two-run homer. … Reliever Kevin Kelly “looks right where he left off” last season, striking out two of the three batters he faced. … Recent addition Amed Rosario went 1-for-3 in starting at shortstop, with plans to begin playing the outfield soon. ... Minor-league reliever Jeff Belge, who is legally blind in his right eye, was given the win after getting the final out of the second inning.


The Rays continued conversations Monday with former catcher Francisco Mejia, who was released from his minor-league deal with the Angels on Sunday. … Leftfielder Randy Arozarena and second baseman Brandon Lowe are slated to make their spring debuts Tuesday. … Catcher Ricardo Genoves, who played for the Giants’ Triple-A team last year, signed a minor-league deal.

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