Aug 18, 2012; Papillion, NE, USA; Omaha Storm Chasers center fielder Wil Myers (8) talks with his teammates before the start of their game against the Nashville Sounds at Werner Park. The Storm Chasers had on OmaHogs jerseys during the special promotional night. Mandatory Credit: Matt Ryerson-USA TODAY Sports

Rays Notes: Minor League Ball's John Sickels Ranks the Rays' Top 20 Prospects

The Rays have been known for years and years now for their minor league system. The last few seasons, we have seen so many of their prospects blossom into the cornerstones of their ballclub including Evan Longoria, David Price, James Shields, Carl Crawford, and B.J. Upton. With many of their organization’s top prospects graduating to the major leagues, the Rays’ system hit its lowest point in a while the past couple of years. But this offseason, we saw the Rays showing a new commitment to developing their system, trading away Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard. The Rays’ prospects are as good as they’ve been in quite a while right now, and Minor League Ball’s John Sickels ranked them from 1-20, giving interesting comments on quite a few players. Here are his rankings.

1. Wil Myers
2. Chris Archer
3. Taylor Guerrieri
4. Jake Odorizzi
5. Richie Shaffer
6. Alex Colome
7. Hak-Ju Lee
8. Enny Romero
9. Drew Vettleson
10. Mikie Mahtook
11. Blake Snell
12. Jeff Ames
13. Jake Hager
14. Tyler Goeddel
15. Todd Glaesmann
16. Felipe Rivero
17. Parker Markel
18. Jesse Hahn
19. Tim Beckham
20. Ryan Brett

Several of those rankings, specifically Odorizzi and Ames being as high as they are, and Lee, Rivero, and Beckham being as he puts him. A few of Sickels’ most interesting comments were on Archer, Hager, and Hahn.

2) Chris Archer RHP, Grade B+: Just a matter of command: has the stuff to be a number two starter if he throws strikes. Of all the organizations in baseball, I think the Rays are well-suited to getting the most out of guys like Archer. He’s got nothing left to prove in the minors, so run him out there and see what happens.

13) Jake Hager, SS, Grade B-: Another Bowling Green guy, doesn’t have Goeddel’s tools but more polished at this point and actually several months younger, hit .281/.345/.412. Might wind up at second base but I like him.

18) Jesse Hahn, RHP, Grade C+: Borderline B-. Recovered from Tommy John surgery to dominate New York-Penn League for Hudson Valley (2.77 ERA, 55/15 K/BB, 2.88 GO/AO in 52 innings). Has always had the stuff, just needs command and health. Once we see how much stamina he has, he could shoot way up this list in 2013. You can draw a scenario where he ranks as their second-best pitching prospect behind G nine months from now.

Nice to see someone with confidence that Archer could really be a topflight major league starter. We saw in his first few major league starts how electric his stuff is, and whether out of the rotation or the bullpen, he could play a big role for the Rays next season. The comment on Hager especially stood out because of the remark that he might end up second base, but between his nice all-around game and great leadership, he has a chance to be a nice player for the Rays in a few years. Hahn, meanwhile, may be the biggest sleeper in the system, and like Sickels says, if he can stay healthy he could be primed for a huge 2013 and potentially profile as a number one or two starter down the line.

Sickels ranked the Rays the second-best organization out of the 22 he has gone through so far (using a ranking method someone came up with in the comments), which is always nice and a good sign of what’s coming for the Rays over the next few years. The pipeline of pitchers will continue to arrive with Archer, Odorizzi, and Colome coming soon and pitchers like Guerrieri, Romero, and Snell arriving down the line, but what may be most exciting is that we could see several of the top position player prospects, specifically Myers, Shaffer, and Lee, become regular players for the Rays over the next couple of years. It’s always nice to see a new prospect ranking come out and confirm what we already know- the Rays have one promising system and the future will only brighter for them moving forward.

Tags: Chris Archer Jake Odorizzi Jesse Hahn Tampa Bay Rays Taylor Guerrieri Wil Myers

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