Despite the fact that San Diego was obviously skeptical about his ability to be a productive major-leaguer, banishing him to Triple-A for the last four months of the 2017 season, Schimpf has been one of the most interesting players in the majors to follow for the past two years. While he’s been in the majors for what amounts to just one full season, Schimpf has hit 34 big-league homers in 441 at-bats.
He’s been the king of the “three true outcomes”—the home run, strikeout, and walk—and has homered, struck out, or walked in 278 (53 percent) of his 527 career plate appearances. Those splits were even more pronounced in 2017, as he achieved one of the three true outcomes in 111 of 197 plate appearances.
Schimpf, 29, has two minor-league options remaining and will have to battle for a spot on Tampa’s big-league club in 2018, but he gives them some interesting options in the infield. In addition to the possibility that he could serve as a utility infielder and power bat off the bench, Schimpf could also be a candidate to start at second base if the Rays don’t sign another first baseman and Brad Miller shifts back to first base. Matt Duffy could also be a candidate to fill that role but has struggled with injuries over the past year and a half and will be a question mark going forward.
The Rays could also shift either Schimpf or Duffy to third and start the other at second base if they end up trading Evan Longoria, a possibility that has been discussed in recent weeks.
Tansel, a 5-foot-8, 155-pounder, was a 32nd-round pick in 2016. He’s shown the ability to play second base, third base, and shortstop over two minor-league seasons and has posted a solid .280/.345/.392 slash line, but as a 23-year-old who has yet to advance past short-season A-ball, his odds of reaching the major leagues are slim.