Oct. 14, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics outfielder Boog Powell plays for the Mesa Solar Sox during an Arizona Fall League game against the Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The next four guys are a step below the top three, but they also look like players that the Rays will keep.
Jacob Faria: Faria isn’t the highest-upside pitcher because his fastball command and secondary pitches have a ways to go. Even so, he is 13-3 with a 1.79 ERA and a 115-39 strikeout to walk ratio in 115.2 innings between High-A and Double-A, and he also touches 96 MPH with his heater. Some team would love to stick him in their big league bullpen next season before continuing to develop him as a starter. Instead, the Rays will almost surely add him to their 40-man roster and see how good he can get in their system.
Taylor Motter: Motter went unselected in last year’s Rule 5 Draft, but it is hard to believe that the same would be true this year. He has a .311/.367/.483 line with 33 doubles, 9 homers, 55 RBI, and 24 stolen bases at Triple-A Durham while playing all three outfield spots, third base, second base, and shortstop. Motter doesn’t have as much upside as that might suggest–his .272/.338/.412 line against right-handed pitching is less impressive and he is a poor infield defender–but there is little doubt that he could be a useful big league bench guy next year.
Boog Powell: Powell drives you crazy because he has little power and isn’t even good at stealing bases. Even so, he is a strong centerfield defender who has a .304/.395/.389 line between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Powell has his limitations, but even so, he is a potential starting centerfielder and table-setter in a big league order. He is unlikely to unseat Kevin Kiermaier as the Rays’ starter in center and doesn’t profile well in left, but the Rays can’t quibble too much about a guy with the ability to make contact, get on base, and play defense.
German Marquez: Marquez is the least known player of this first seven, but he is worth learning more about. As a 20 year old at High-A, Marquez has a 3.40 ERA and A 76-26 strikeout to walk ratio in 106 innings. Marquez can get his fastball into the mid-90’s to go along with a great curveball and a solid changeup, and he has enough polish that it isn’t out of the question that he can be a serviceable major league long reliever next year. If the Rays leave him off, they would be daring a team to make him into the next Oscar Hernandez, and we know how that went. We have to believe that they will protect him.
Next: The Borderline Guys