GCL Devil Rays
- Location: St. Petersburg, FL
- League: Gulf Coast League 1996-1998
- Affiliation: Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1996-1998
In 1996, the GCL Devil Rays finished last in the Northern Division of the Gulf Coast League at 24-35. The team was managed by Bill Evers, and was one of only three Tampa Bay Devil Rays farm teams, along with the Hudson Valley Renegades (shared with the Texas Rangers) and the Butte Copper Kings. OF Paul Wilder, the first round draft pick of the Devil Rays, played 53 games hitting .207/~.339/.332, with 3 HR (leading the team), 20 RBI, and a league-leading 66 SO and 37 BB. Tampa Bay's next 4 picks also appeared for the team, including OF Alex Sanchez who led the team with 64 hits, 6 3B, and 20 SB, while hitting .282/~.312/.379. 1B Brian Becker (.271/~.316/.362) hit 12 2B, and UT Tony McCladdie hit .295/~.331/.386 with 14 steals in 15 tries to lead the team in average. Pablo Ortega led the team with 13 GS, 82 IP, 86 SO, and a 1.97 ERA (sxith in the league in ERA), while allowing only 61 hits and 12 BB. Other starters were Cedrick Bowers (3-5 5.37 ERA over 60 IP in 13 GS), Delvin James (2-8 8.87, 48 IP, 11 GS), and Ed Kofler (1-4 5.27, 41 IP, 10 GS). Outscored 304-240, they had the worst team ERA (4.22) in the league.
The 1997 GCL Devil Rays were managed by Bobby Ramos and moved up to 3rd in the division at 25-35. Four of Tampa Bay's first five picks in the draft appeared for the team including #1 Jason Standridge, who went 0-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 13 GS. He gave up 56 hits and only 13 BB in 58 IP, while striking out 55. 2B/SS Derek Mann (.286/~.391/.327) led the team with 48 hits and 34 runs, 2B Luis M. Cruz (.362/~.439/.569) led with 4 HR and 17 SB and would have led the GCL in average had he qualified, and OF Chie Gunner (.285/~.380/.389) had 23 RBI. Marquis Roberts was 6-1 with a 0.51 ERA in 53 IP with 19 BB and 68 SO before promotion to the Princeton Devil Rays. Barrett Wright was 2-5, 3.47 with 22 BB and 33 SO in 49 IP. Roberts was named to the All-star team and #1 prospect, while Cruz was #5. C Humberto Cota (.241/~.327/.346) would later be the starting backstop for the 2005 Pirates.
The 1998 GCL Devil Rays were managed again by Ramos and won the North Division and defeated the GCL Marlins in the first round of the playoffs, before losing to the GCL Rangers in the finals. The Devil Rays had given up their first three picks in the draft for free agents, but #4 pick 1B Josh Pressley played in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .304/~.400/.376 with 1 HR, 16 RBI, 20 BB, and 29 SO in 125 AB. OF Kelvin Ryan (.266/~.297/.378) led the team with 59 hits and 36 RBI and SS Ramon Soler (.252/~.332/.358) had 47 runs and 23 SB. RP Willy Marin was 8-0 2.28 ERA in 27 games with 4 BB and 43 SO in 47 IP, while SP Jose Rodriguez was 3-3 4.26, with 12 BB and 61 SO in 63 IP. The team had no All-Stars but Soler was named #8 prospect. Soler led the league with 47 runs, and 7 3B, while Marin led the league in games pitched and wins. Several prominent players made rehabilitation stints, including Wilson Alvarez (0-0, no runs in 3 innings, 4 K), 3B Herbert Perry (.115/~.207/.115 in 8 games) and 1B Brooks Kieschnick (.500/~.538/1.08, 8 RBI in 4 games).
In 1999, the Devil Rays eliminated their second Rookie league affiliate, keeping Princeton in the Appalachian League.
|1997||25-35||12th (t)||Bobby Ramos|
|1998||36-24||2nd||Bobby Ramos||Lost League Finals|
Devil Rays Team and top Hitter and Pitcher statistics
|1996||.232||4.23||.956||Tony McCladdie||166||49||.295||Pablo Ortega||82||4-6||1.97|
|1997||.238||3.63||.956||Derek Mann||168||48||.286||Marquis Roberts||53||6-1||0.51|
|1998||.258||3.90||.954||Josh Pressley||125||38||.304||Willie Marin||47||8-0||2.28|