When the Yankees traded Brian Bruney for Jamie Hoffmann, they passed on John Raynor (who they could have chosen, instead). And, the Pittsburgh Pirates then quickly took Raynor – who, like Hoffmann, is a right-handed batting outfielder. More on that from back in December:
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced they have selected outfielder John Raynor off the Florida Marlins’ Triple-A roster (New Orleans) in the Major League Phase of the Rule Five Draft. The announcement was made by Pirates Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.
In 2009, the 25-year-old Raynor hit .257 (115-for-447) with 24 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 36 RBI, 63 runs scored and 19 stolen bases during his first season with New Orleans.
“John Raynor is an athletic outfielder, with some threat at the plate,” said Huntington. “He has the speed and defensive capability to play all three outfield positions and has the upside to project as a potential everyday outfielder in the future. He will compete for a bench role in spring training.”
After being selected by the Marlins in the ninth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Raynor made his professional debut with Jamestown and was named to the New York-Penn League All-Star team that season after hitting .286 with 21 stolen bases, which ranked third in the league.
In his first full season of professional baseball in 2007, he was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Valuable Player after hitting .333 with 13 home runs, 57 RBI and 54 stolen bases with Greensboro. He was also named Florida’s Minor League Player-of-the-Year that season while being named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team and to Baseball America’s Low Class-A All-Star team.
Raynor paced the Marlins minor league system with 104 runs scored and 48 stolen bases in 2008 while also hitting .312 with the Carolina Mudcats. He also ranked fourth among Florida farmhands in hits (141), a .402 slugging percentage and 62 walks while being tabbed by Baseball America as the “Fastest Baserunner” in the Southern League, where he was named to both the mid-season and post-season All-Star teams.
So, how is Raynor doing this Spring? To date, he’s played in 12 games, come to the plate 27 times, and has a BA/OBP/SLG line of .385/.407/.692 – which ain’t too shabby.
There’s a very good chance that the Yankees made the wrong call on this one.