Rays Rumors

Profiling Potential Players in the Rays’ Wil Myers Trade

By Robbie Knopf

The Wil Myers trade is apparently happening and rumors are swirling about who the Tampa Bay Rays will receive in return for the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year. Let’s go through a few of the prospects mentioned so we have a better idea of the Rays’ return when the deal’s final parameters are officially announced. All the credit goes to Jim Bowden, Ken Rosenthal, Marc Topkin, and Jeff Passan for bringing up these names.

Austin Hedges: He’s apparently not in the deal now, so just a one-liner on him. One of the top catching prospects in baseball, Hedges is an excellent defender but has seen his bat questioned after a rough 2014 at Double-A.

Joe Ross: The younger brother of San Diego Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, Ross is a right-hander coming off a strong year between High-A and Double-A. He touches 97 MPH with his fastball to go along with a plus slider and a changeup with some potential. His command and pitchability looked much better this season, and he’s still just 21 years of age.

Burch Smith: Smith made his big league debut against the Rays in 2013, but he struggled with the Padres and then made just 2 Triple-A starts in 2014. At his best, Smith features a low-90’s fastball that occasionally bumps 95 MPH, a good changeup, and an inconsistent breaking ball. He has the upside of a mid-rotation starter or a late-inning reliever.

Jake Bauers: A first baseman who was at just Low-A last season, Bauers is a long way from the majors. The good news is that he is strong pure hitter with good plate discipline, but his power as a first baseman is not great. Bauers’ upside is a James Loney or Casey Kotchman type of player–but we know that the Rays like guys like that.

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Steven Souza: Best known for his incredible catch to save Jordan Zimmermann‘s no-hitter at the end of the 2014 season, Souza isn’t particularly young but did have a breakout 2014. Souza spent most of his age 25 season at Triple-A Syracuse, and stood out for his hitting, power, speed, and defense. He combines his tools with a patient approach, but his pitch recognition isn’t great. Souza has a chance to be a starting corner outfielder capable of delivering 20-20 seasons, but he has to stay healthy and continue improving against breaking balls.

Matt Wisler: He probably isn’t in the deal either, but he features significant potential despite his rough 2014 primarily at Triple-A. He pairs an excellent low-90’s sinker with a sharp slider, and further improvement to his changeup and command could help him be a frontline starter.

There are some exciting prospects being mentioned as possibilities for the Rays’ return in the Wil Myers trade, and it will be exciting to see exactly who they will get.