Over time, the Tampa Bay Rays’ reputation as one of the best drafting teams in baseball faded away. Pick after pick failed to work out and it seemed miraculous that the Rays continued to contend nonetheless. Then, this past season, the Rays were under .500 for the first time since 2007, putting yet another part of their team into question. However, while the Rays have work to do reestablishing themselves as an AL East contender, their minor league system is finally starting to look up.
Reading Baseball America’s Rays Top 10 prospects list, it is hard not be optimistic. There is no Wil Myers or Matt Moore that is a budding superstar on the verge of the major leagues, but the potential is there for the Rays to find several impact players in the coming years. Overall, BA correspondent Bill Ballew likes what he is seeing.
"Even so, the Rays appear to have cleared many of those hurdles and look to be in solid shape to generate a flow of talent that can help the revenue-challenged club continue to compete at a high level."
The list starts with the prize of the David Price trade, shortstop Willy Adames. Baseball America praises Adames, who turned 19 in September, for his power, bat speed, and approach at the plate. He still has work to do, specifically to prove that he can remain a shortstop moving forward, but it is nice to see him reviewed so positively after he was a mostly unknown quantity when the Rays acquired him. As it turns out, Adames is only the start of the middle infielders on the Rays’ list.
Adrian Rondon at #4 may be the most exciting name in the entire Top 10. Widely regarded as one of the top players available in this year’s international free agent market, even the $2.95 million the Rays paid him may turn out to be a steal. Rondon has the raw tools to be an All-Star shortstop and may even be able to move quickly through the minor leagues. We can’t expect too much too soon from a 16 year old, but Rondon gives the Rays a prospect to dream on.
Finally, Ryan Brett at #7 rounds out the three middle infielders and could factor into the Rays’ second base situation as soon as 2015. Combining Brett with Nick Franklin means that the Rays have a pair of promising young second basemen, and Franklin’s versatility means that both of them could have key roles with the team.
More from Rays Prospects
- Tampa Bay Rays: Erik Neander has turned this team into a 26-man wrecking machine
- Tampa Bay Rays’ future arrives (hopefully) on Monday night with Shane Baz
- Who should the Tampa Bay Rays call-up when rosters expand?
- Tampa Bay Rays 2021 First Round Draft target: Gavin Williams
- Tampa Bay Rays 2021 Draft target: Colson Montgomery
The Rays have always been known for their arms, and this year’s top 10 prospects is no exception. Alex Colome (#2) and Nate Karns (#5) give the Rays two electric arms ready to make a big league impact while Brent Honeywell (#8) and Blake Snell (#9) are potential frontline starters for the future. Honeywell joins Casey Gillaspie (#10) in showing off the success of this year’s Rays draft while Snell and Mikie Mahtook (#6) are reminding us that the Rays’ big 2011 draft class may still yield some excellent players. Then there is Justin O’Conner (#3) from the 2010 draft, who finally may be breaking through in his development and could be the Rays’ catcher of the future.
We also should talk about some of the players that did not even make the list like Taylor Guerrieri, Patrick Leonard, Hak-Ju Lee, Enny Romero, Nick Ciuffo, Ryne Stanek, and Riley Unroe. Each of them is extremely talented as well–this Rays organization goes well beyond 10 prospects deep.
We can’t go too crazy over this Rays Top 10 prospects list. Every player comes with risk, and it will awhile before we see exactly what these players will turn into. Nevertheless, we were too pessimistic when assessing the Rays’ chances amid the departures of Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon. These Rays Top 10 prospects remind us that there is reason to be excited about this team’s future.