Friedman called the collection of prospects on hand at Tropicana Field on Tuesday "the most talented group we've had out here. ... Really good bodies, really talented guys and all really driven to get better. It's an exciting group."
Right-hander Jeff Niemann, whose 2012 season was marred by injuries, was working out at Tropicana Field. Friedman said Niemann was feeling fine and shouldn't have any restrictions in place when Spring Training begins. Niemann made only eight starts in 2012 due to a broken right fibula and a right shoulder injury.
Taylor Guerrieri, the Rays' top pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, was one of the 14 first-rounders attending the Winter Development Program. Guerrieri, Tampa Bay's No. 4 prospect as rated by MLB.com, put up dominant numbers for the Rays' New York-Penn League affiliate in 2012, posting a 1.04 ERA in 12 starts, and is set to move on to his first full professional season in 2013.
"Taylor had a tremendous year," Friedman said. "This will be his first year in full season, which is a big step for these young pitchers. He definitely has the ingredients to be really, really good, and we'll keep working with him and refining the specific pitches and try to put him in a position where he can come up here one day, put 200-plus innings on his body and help us win games."