Baseball America came out with their annual list of the Rays’ top ten prospects today. There were some notable inclusions as well as some notable omissions. Here is the list:
- Matt Moore
- Hak-Ju Lee
- Chris Archer
- Taylor Guerrieri
- Alex Colome
- Alex Torres
- Tim Beckham
- Enny Romero
- Drew Vettleson
- Mikie Mahtook
One big omission was Josh Sale, 2010’s top draft pick who struggled at the plate last season. Baseball America obviously thinks highly of Rays 2011 top pick Taylor Guerrieri, placing him at fourth before playing a game outside of the Gulf Coast League. Mikie Mahtook also makes his debut on the list after being drafted in 2011. The Rays really like Mahtook, since they sent him to the Arizona Fall League without ever playing a professional game, which is unprecedented since the level of competition in the AFL is so high.
No surprise that Matt Moore is at the top of the list after his impressive showing at the end of last season. Moore will not be able to retain his prospect status for long, however, since he will most likely be in the Big Leagues all of next season. Lee is not much of a surprise, either after an amazing season at Charlotte last year, hitting .318 with 4 homers in 97 games. Lee also proved to be a force on the basepaths, stealing 28 bases.
In addition to their yearly prospect list, Baseball America also lists the best tools of the Rays prospects. Some of the highlights are Drew Vettleson, best hitter for average, Derek Dietrich, best power hitter, Hak-Ju Lee, fastest baserunner and best infield defender, Matt Moore, best fastball, curveball and control, Tim Beckham, best infield arm, and Brandon Guyer, best outfield arm. Matt Moore was a lock to win the three awards he won after his fastball, devastating curve, and pinpoint control were put on display in game 2 of the ALDS.
Derek Dietrich is an interesting case. He hit 22 homers as a shortstop last season for Bowling Green. You don’t often get power hitting shortstops but the issues are he struggled with the glove and is blocked by Hak-Ju Lee. It would be great to see Dietrich at the MLB level, but it will take a few seasons and a position change to see if his power translates to the big leagues.
In other Rays news, the Rays signed Joel Peralta to a one year deal yesterday for $2.175 million, avoiding arbitration. Peralta was a great arm at the back of the Rays bullpen last season and it is great to see they didn’t have to go to arbitration with their set-up man.