ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired four prospects—outfielder Wil Myers, right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi, left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard—from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for right-handed pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis as well as a player to be named.
Myers, who turns 22 tomorrow, began the 2012 season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and earned a May 16 promotion to Triple-A Omaha. He hit a combined .314 (164-for-522) with 37 home runs (second most in minor league baseball), 26 doubles, 109 RBI, 61 walks, a .387 on-base percentage and .600 slugging percentage in 134 games. After the season, he was named the consensus Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America, USA Today and Topps/Minor League Baseball. In addition, he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect, Best Hitter for Average and Best Power Hitter in the Royals farm system. Myers was a mid- and postseason All-Star in the Pacific Coast League and played for Team USA in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. He spent time at center field (87 games), right field (18 games), third base (15 games) and designated hitter (17 games).
Myers entered the 2012 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 28 prospect in the minor leagues and jumped to No. 3 in their midseason rankings. He was also rated as the No. 3 prospect in the minor leagues by MLB.com after his 2012 campaign. The North Carolina native has hit .303 with 64 home runs, 259 RBI, a .395 on-base percentage and .522 slugging percentage over four minor league seasons after being selected in the third round of the 2009 June Draft by Kansas City.
Odorizzi, 22, made his major league debut in September and went 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA (7.1-IP, 4-ER) in two starts for the Royals, both against the Cleveland Indians. He spent the majority of the season with Omaha where he was named the team’s Pitcher of the Year, going 11-3 with a 2.93 (107.1-IP, 35-ER) in 19 games (18 starts). He began the campaign with Northwest Arkansas and was promoted after going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA (38-IP, 14-ER) in 7 starts. His combined 15 victories tied for third most in minor league baseball. The righthander started for Team USA in the Futures Game in Kansas City. Originally selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) of the 2008 June Draft, he was one of several players traded to the Royals in December 2010 for pitcher Zack Greinke. Odorizzi was recently ranked the No. 5 prospect in the Royals system by Baseball America and No. 3 according to MLB.com.
Montgomery, 23, made 10 starts for Northwest Arkansas and 17 starts for Omaha and went a combined 5-12 with a
6.07 ERA (149.2-IP, 101-ER) in 27 starts. After the season, he was ranked by MLB.com as the Royals No. 6 prospect and by Baseball America as having the Best Changeup in the Royals system. Over the last two seasons (2011-12), the lefthander has gone 10-23 with a 5.69 ERA (300.1-IP, 190-ER) and 133 walks. In three seasons prior to that, however, he combined to go 15-10 with a 2.27 ERA (245.2-IP, 62-ER), 220 strikeouts and only 79 walks. Entering 2012, he was ranked by Baseball America as the Royals top prospect and the No. 23 prospect overall in the minor leagues. He was originally selected in the supplemental first round (36th overall) of the 2008 June Draft out of Hart High School in Newhall, Calif.—the same alma mater as Shields.
Leonard, 20, made his professional debut in 2012 with Rookie-level Burlington. He hit .251 (59-for-235) with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, 30 walks, a .340 on-base percentage and .494 slugging percentage over 62 games and was named a postseason Appalachian League All-Star. The right-handed hitter spent the majority of the year at third base (55 games) but also served as a designated hitter (seven games). He was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 June Draft out of St. Thomas High School in Houston where he played for former All-Star second baseman Craig Biggio. He was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and transferred to St. Thomas for his senior season.
Shields, who turns 31 this month, owns a career 87-73 record and 3.89 ERA and is the Rays all-time leader in wins (87), starts (217), innings pitched (1,454.2), strikeouts (1,250), complete games (19) and shutouts (eight). The seven-year veteran has made a club-record four Opening Day starts (2008-10, 2012). In 2012, he went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA (227.2-IP, 89-ER) and ranked third in the American League in innings pitched and fourth with 223 strikeouts. It was his sixth consecutive season of at least 200 innings—only Mark Buehrle of the Toronto Blue Jays has a longer active streak (12). In his final start for the Rays, on October 2 vs. the Baltimore Orioles, Shields collected a club-record 15 strikeouts in a complete-game two-hitter with no walks but sustained a 1-0 loss. In 2011, he was named an AL All-Star via player balloting and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award race. Shields was selected by the Rays in the 16th round of the 2000 June Draft.
Davis, 27, went 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA (70.1-IP, 19-ER) in 54 relief appearances in 2012, his first season working out of the bullpen after posting a career 4.22 ERA over 64 starts from 2009-11. His 87 strikeouts tied for fourth among AL. Only one AL reliever matched Davis’ combination of ERA and strikeouts: Ernesto Frieri of the Los Angeles Angels (2.32-ERA, 80-SO). After the All-Star break he compiled a 1.50 ERA (30-IP, 5-ER) and 22 of his 25 outings were scoreless. The Rays selected Davis in the third round of the 2004 June Draft.