What to Expect from Rays Infielder Osleivis Basabe

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A report from El ExtraBase on August 12 indicated that the Tampa Bay Rays are set to call up one of the team’s best infield prospects up from the Minors. Infielder Osleivis Basabe will reportedly join the Rays and Tampa’s deep infield. Here’s a closer look at Basabe.

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A Look at Basabe

Originally signed by the Rangers, the Rays acquired infielder Osleivis Basabe along with outfielders Heriberto Hernandez and Alexander Ovalles in a December 2020 trade with Texas that sent Nathaniel Lowe the other way. While Texas benefited greatly from the trade, it’s taken a while for the Rays to net benefits from the deal.

Basabe’s emerged as the big name from that trade, and he’s steadily worked his way up the Minor League ladder since the deal.

A career .311 hitter in the Minors, Basabe’s shown very little power. The 22-year-old has just 12 home runs over 1,646 career MiLB plate appearances, but reports and the stats indicate he’s shown an exceptional ability to put bat on ball and do damage.

MLB.com gave Basabe a 60-grade future tool for contact and 40 for power.

He’s shown an ability to swipe bases. Basabe stole 16 bases in 2023, and he accumulated an additional 39 between 2021-22.

Defensively, Basabe’s moved around the diamond. While he’s seen a plurality of games at short (108 GP), he’s also seen a fair amount of time at second (76 GP) and third (93 GP).

Basabe is the second notable infield prospect to be called up to Tampa in recent weeks. Recently, the Rays promoted Curtis Mead up from Durham (AAA). In his first 14 plate appearances in the Majors, Mead hit .083/.214/.083 with just one base hit.

What it Means for the Rays

Mead hasn’t received much in the way of playing time since he was promoted by the Rays. Despite an injury to infielder Taylor Walls, the Rays do have a number of reliable names in Isaac Paredes, Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, Yandy Diaz, and Luke Raley that can slot in the infield.

Basabe’s likely to slot in to a utility role for a Rays team that’s fitting to secure a spot for the 2023 MLB Playoffs.