Montgomery Biscuits first baseman Rhyne Hughes was promoted to Durham today (well, actually, Pawtucket, where the Bulls are) and infielder Matt Hall sent back down to (Port) Charlotte. It’s the second time this year that Hall has gone up and down the Durham elevator.
The transaction probably has a good deal less to do with Hall, who was really just filling some holes during an injury-plagued and callup-filled stretch, than it does with Chris Richard. Richard recently missed a little over a week with hamstring tightness. Since he returned from the disabled list, he hasn’t looked himself: he’s just 2-23 with a pair of singles. His swings have looked uncomfortable, Richard often pulling off the ball and popping up. Although Richard hasn’t been put back on the DL, Hughes’s promotion indicates that help is needed at first base.
And Hughes is no scrub replacement. The 25-year-old lefty is among the Rays’ better prospects. He currently leads the AA Southern League in home runs with 15. Like a lot of sluggers, he also strikes out a lot, basically once per game. If he can work on his plate discipline, he’ll be a dangerous force in the middle of the Bulls’ lineup. But as Chris Wise points out, Charlie Montoyo might want to keep Hughes separated from Justin Ruggiano in the lineup, or there may be quite a breeze.
On the face of it, there’s everything to like about this move, save for the worries it encourages about Richard’s health. Otherwise, the Bulls just got unquestionably better.