What to Expect from Rays Infielder Curtis Mead

Curtis Mead of the Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are dealing with a number of injuries to both the pitching staff and the team’s collection of hitters. After ace Shane McClanahan went down with a forearm injury, Tampa called up infielder Curtis Mead to the Major League roster. Here’s a closer look at the 22-year-old.

Related: The 2023 MLB Team Power Rankings List (Post-Trade Deadline Edition)

A Look at Mead

It’s been a rough year for Rays prospect Curtis Mead, who was originally acquired by Tampa in a deal that sent left-hander Cristopher Sanchez to the Phillies. The 22-year-old missed two months of the regular season on the IL with a fractured left wrist, but he’s played well when on the diamond.

Mead hit just .255/.301/.383 during the month of April, but stormed back after he returned from the injured list. In 21 games in July, Mead hit .358/.459/.519 with a home runs and ten extra base hits. The Aussie, in total, hit .283/.369/.440 with three home runs, 22 extra base hits, and 28 RBI over 50 games (225 PA).

With a career .302 batting average in the Minors and a 188:111 K:BB ratio through 276 career games, Mead’s received plus contact grades for his hit tool. MLB.com rates his future contact ability as a 65 on the 20-80 scale, while his power’s also received above-average projections.

Mead’s been an extra base hit machine in the Minors, and he’s shown the ability and strength to think he can be an above-average power hitter. Additionally, his .374 career on-base percentage is a good harbinger that Mead can be a selective hitter and work counts.

There are some concerns over his arm, which has led to some speculation that Mead — who’s played mostly third in the Minors – will have to slide over to second in the coming years. He has seen time at second, as well as first base, in his MiLB career.

The 22-year-old made a strong impression this past spring, and now Mead gets his chance to play in the Majors. He’ll take over the roster spot vacated by Shane McClanahan after the left-hander went on the IL.

What it Means for the Rays

With a deep infield that includes Yandy Diaz at first, Wander Franco at short, Brandon Lowe at second, and Isaac Paredes at third, it’s not a guarantee that Mead will see a ton of playing time while he’s on the roster. However, Mead’s been able to hit both lefties and righties in the Minors. Thus, his versatility and bat should make Mead a utility bat for the Rays.

At the very least, Mead could be a platoon option — as Tampa does love to make use of the platoon — and see time at second on days that Tampa faces a left-hander and wants a righty in there instead of Lowe. Lowe is a career .223/.283/.448 hitter (.731) against left-handers, compared to a .253/.348.499 slash line (.846) against righties. He’s also an option on days that Paredes — who’s put up better numbers against left-handers — doesn’t get the hot corner.

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