Tampa Bay Rays prospect Chandler Simpson has been tearing it up for Single-A affiliate Charleston. The dynamic outfielder has become the table setter for the Riverdogs.
As of Sunday, the fleet-footed Simpson was batting a respectable .286 with 24 RBI, and a .687 OPS. But it’s what he’s doing once he’s on the base paths that has everyone hooting and hollering.
The Rays 17th-ranked prospect has a minor league-leading 78 stolen bases, and let’s just say, once he reaches base, he stresses the hell out of pitchers.
In just 95 total minor league games, Simpson has 86 base thefts.
Charleston hitting coach Perry Roth, who was Simpson’s college coach at UAB, talked about the pressure he puts on pitchers.
“He divides a pitcher’s mind right away. You just see them as soon as he gets on. You just see how their world speeds up on them. And gives opportunities for pitches to hit for the people behind him,” Roth said.
Chandler Hoping To Help Bring Back Bag The Stolen Base
Simpson’s ability to steal bases is one of the lost arts in baseball. But, with the new rule changes now in effect, a player like Simpson can help a team even without his bat. As evidenced by his prolific base-stealing this season, he’s got that part of his game down to a science, and he knows it’s only because of the countless hours of work he puts into his craft.
Hustle RBI single from Chandler Simpson then steals his 68th base!!! pic.twitter.com/VXsUDvU1Tq
— Tampa Bay Rays Minor League Updates (@raysfarmreport) July 23, 2023
“It means a lot. It’s a testament to the work I’ve put in. And I’m just showing the God given ability that I have,” Simpson recently told reporters.
“I’m honored to be one of the pioneers bringing it back to see more people run so I’m glad I get to be one of those people.”
Chandler Simpson Can Hit Too
Simpson is not just a one-trick-pony either. The speedster has also mixed in a 14-game hitting streak as well this season.
Minor League Spotlight this week was hard to catch…really showing off that 80 speed grade. Check out the blog to learn more about Chandler Simpson’s journey to becoming a top 20 #Rays prospect
— Chopping Lines (@ChoppingLines) July 22, 2023
Chandler says he knew he was extremely fast when he was younger, and he used to show it at school all the time.
“I was always that kid that wanted to race at recess, things like that. So, I guess that’s where it came from,” said Chandler.
Tampa Bay Drafted Chandler Simpson In 2nd Round: Hit .433 In College
That elite speed and consistent bat were huge reasons why the Rays used a second-round pick on Simpson in the 2022 MLB Draft. In his final collegiate season at Georgia Tech in 2022, Simpson led all of Division I in batting average (.433) average, while swiping an ACC-leading 27 bases. He became the first Yellow Jackets player since former MLB player since Mark Teixeira to bat (.400), and he was a thousandth of a percentage point from tying Jay Payton’s school record batting average of (.434) in 1994.
Simpson’s skill set has the Rays super excited for what’s to come, and they expect him to get the call-up to the majors by the 2025 season.