Saturday, December 19, 2009

My list of top Rays prospects

Just in time for Baseball America’s rankings, here’s how I’d rank Tampa Bay’s prospects.

I usually warn that my list is likely skewed toward the higher levels because those are the players I’ve seen more, but this has 13 players who’ve yet to see Biscuit-ville. I didn’t include the players who’ve yet to play in the States and don’t claim to have the scouting expertise to rate those who barely played this year.

Last year, I was the only person to NOT have David Price at No. 1, mainly because I called it the Top 30 Rays prospects ... not named David Price.

Feel free to tell me where I’ve accomplished the feat represented in the picture at right, though I hope you’ll recognize some sarcasm in places.

TOP 30 (last year’s ranking)
1. CF Desmond Jennings (11) -- same position as his beloved Tide; imagine if he had some speed
2. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (3) -- we forgive him for being from Iowa
3. RHP Wade Davis (1) -- could start 2010 in Tampa Bay’s rotation
4. LHP Matt Moore (14) -- 2-to-1 strikeout-to-HIT ratio at Bowling Green
5. SS Tim Beckham (5) -- All-Star in South Atlantic League as 19-year-old
6. RHP Nick Barnese (12) -- shoulder issue limited him to 15 starts
7. SS Reid Brignac (2) -- hit .282 at Durham, recorded first major-league hit
8. LHP Jake McGee (7) -- big year in his return from Tommy John surgery
9. LHP Kyle Lobstein (NR) -- Rays have gushed over his potential
10. RHP Alex Colome (NR) -- 1.66 ERA, 94 Ks in 76 Hudson Valley innings
11. OF Fernando Perez (4) -- 2009 one to forget after spring injury
12. LHP Alex Torres (NR) -- came over in August trade with Angels
13. OF K.D. Kang (NR) -- surprise Futures Game pick (to me) hit .307 with Rods
14. RHP Aneury Rodriguez (NR) -- rough start turned into decent year
15. LHP David Newmann (NR) -- nice pro debut at high-Class A after missing ‘08
16. RHP Matt Gorgen (NR) -- quick riser hit Double-A barely a year after being drafted
17. SS Shawn O'Malley (NR) -- 40 steals, .388 OBP sparked Stone Crabs
18. RHP Alex Cobb (18) -- 3.03 ERA last year, tons of groundball outs
19. 3B Matt Sweeney (NR) -- slugger also part of August trade with Angels
20. RHP Heath Rollins (15) -- made August conversion to reliever
21. RHP Jason McEachern (NR) -- he, Colome and Lobstein due to see Bowling Green
22. C John Jaso (8) -- .266 average at Durham magnifies defensive deficiencies
23. RHP Jeremy Hall (29) -- was 14-7 at high-Class A at 25 years old
24. RHP Eduardo Morlan (10) -- expect social promotion to Durham
25. RHP Mitch Talbot (9) -- out of minor-league options
26. RHP Dale Thayer (22) -- despite lack of flash, reached majors this year
27. LHP Darin Downs (NR) -- was old for Florida State League, but won ERA title
28. C Nevin Ashley (30) -- would have been off list without AFL performance
29. 2B Cody Cipriano (NR) -- another quick riser, but hit mere .204 with Biscuits
30. RHP Zach Quate (NR) -- eye-popping numbers at short-season Hudson Valley

31. LHP Josh Satow (NR) -- here’s a 31 since we’re not sure if Perez (at 11) qualifies. Satow did well in SAL as a 23-year-old.

DROPPED OUT -- why he dropped
RHP Jeff Niemann (6) -- graduated; was 13-6 with Rays, 11 more wins than the Rice football team
LF Reid Fronk (13) -- struggled mightily (.201, four HRs) in high-A debut
RHP Ryan Reid (16) -- injuries delayed start of year, struggled to recover
LHP James Houser (17) -- released, now with Marlins
RHP Chris Mason (19) -- released, went to Mets
1B Rhyne Hughes (20) -- traded to Orioles
2B Elias Otero (21) -- top player for ’08 Princeton hit .196 for ’09 Renegades
RHP Tyree Hayes (23) -- about to start fifth pro year, just played first at low-A
RF Ryan Royster (24) -- struggled for second straight year at high-A
RHP Jesse Darcy (25) -- also moved to bullpen in August
1B Chris Nowak (26) -- should get another shot at Triple-A
2B Elliot Johnson (27) -- out of options; played just 63 games due to broken hand
CF Emeel Salem (28) -- tough to figure: .206 before July 1, .356 after with Crabs


Doug said...

Thanks Stacy. I don't think Perez still counts, depending on your cutoffs for prospects (ie DL time on 40-man). Aggressive on McGee, and like Lobstein and Kang that high. Nice job. But Louise will not be happy with J-Hell over Wade!

rays3fan said...
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rays3fan said...

Good Job, Stacy. I am sure you are mistaken putting JH over Wade, but that's okay. I would of put Lobstein higher...those are about the only two changes I would have made. I am surprised you put that terrible Louisiana SS that high!!! Hope you are having a good off-season and will see you in 3.5 short months.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the outstanding list. What about Sean Rodriguez? Why is he no longer considered a prospect when Wade Davis is?

Stacy Long said...

Thanks, all, for the kind words.

*Hellickson v. Davis was a tough call. I went with Hellickson because he exploded in Durham, while Davis was simply really good. Catch me tomorrow and I might be thinking differently. I suspect Louise hasn't been back to the blog in a while.

*I wondered about Lobstein myself, but there were people who thought he had the goods (though obviously not the experience) to pitch at the higher levels this year.

*On McGee, he faces a big year. After the surgery, him just getting back out there and throwing regularly was a plus. Now, he's got to show progress.

*Robby, I went with Davis because he's from a good part of Florida.

*JUST KIDDING on that last part, lest Louise reappear. Rodriguez no longer qualifies as a rookie, but Davis does. The cutoff is 50 innings pitched or 130 ABs. Rodriguez hit that in 2008, while Davis reached 36 innings in the majors.

*Kevin, yep, Perez no longer qualifies because of service time. I think Josh Satow was my No. 31.

*Kyle, don't we all dislike those dang jambalaya-swilling, Mike the Tiger-lovin Louisiana shortstops?!?

It could be worse. He could be from Iowa.

TBR21fan said...
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TBR21fan said...

Jake will do fine...and make all of you doubters look foolish.....

and who the heck is Louise and why do we care?

TBR21fan said...
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Chris W. said...

Nice job Stacy. Thanks.

Stacy Long said...


I made a joke that a player's fiance was much better looking than he was and used a term that's generally well known, at least (I guess) in this area.

Louise, apparently close to the fiance, apparently had never heard said term and excoriated me for, in her opinion, making fun of both.

In this thread, it would be like calling me on the carpet for saying Desmond Jennings is slow. Or, like I shared in June, when an athletic director took great offense to my use of the widely known baseball term "traveling secretary."

(I still await the wrath of Hawkeye Nation for my Iowa cracks.)