Rays 2016 Top 50 Prospects: Number 10, Ryan Brett
By Mat Germain
The Rays have a tremendous number of high-quality prospects in their system. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing. Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
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We’ll go through this exercise in an odd way, to make things more interesting. The first one to be looked at will be #40, then #30, then #20, and #10. Then we’ll go through 41, 31, 21, and 11. We’ll go through each ranking until we are all done 11-50, all aside from the Top 10. Then we’ll have a regular countdown for the top 10.
The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The fourth player to be examined in detail is….
#12: Ryan Duane Brett, 2B, 24 years old
- Bats: Right Ht/Wt: 5’9″ 180 lbs
- Drafted: in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft, 1 pick before the M’s selected Ryne Stanek
- Signed: July 9th 2010 for $341,100 by Paul Kirsch
- 2015 Affiliate: AAA Durham Bulls
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2016
- Twitter: @arby_21
Brett’s 2015 Splits
- Credits his dad for teaching him about the game and for challenging him
- The only player ever drafted out of Highline HS, WA
- During his first practice for Highline, he hit his coach’s truck with a drive over the fence in an area his coach never expected anyone to reach. His coach added this: “I’ve been coaching for more than 30 years,” “I’ve never had anyone like Ryan.”
- Was the fifth 2B selected in the ’10 draft, behind Jedd Gyorko and Delino DeShields
- In reading up on Brett, you won’t find any articles that question his work ethic. He’s a relentless and tireless worker, on and off the field
- As Brett himself stated: “I work hard in the off-season to maintain my strength and keep up on my legs to make sure that they are in shape for the season, so that I can go hard every day.”
- One oddity about Brett is that he had one kidney removed in 2012, with Brett stating “And, honestly, I feel a lot better. Knowing I won’t have any more pain there is awesome.“
- Along with Josh Sale, Tested positive for methamphetamines and an amphetamine in 2012, which led to a 50-game suspension. And sure enough, both are toxic to kidneys.
- On that note, Brett once stated in an interview about he and Sale: “Yeah. I work out with Josh every day. His Dad is really good at writing our work-outs for us.”
- AAA coach Jared Sandberg noted this about Brett after his promotion to The Show: “He’s an exciting player from a speed standpoint and a hitting standpoint.”“He hit his way to the Major Leagues,”
- His Twitter handle is: “Professional athlete of the Tampa Bay Rays, avid outdoorsman!”
- Shaved his head for cancer in August
- Shoulder injuries impacted his growth in 2015, but he noted on Twitter in September:
He elaborated on the injury once it happened in this short video:
Best Tools & Abilities
- Compact Swing, Quick Hands, and Overall Hitting Ability
- Strong Defensively
- Grinder with Endless Energy
It’s always deflating when you have a player with such great talents that gets mixed up in performance enhancing issues. In Brett’s case, there’s a chance that taking that route precipitated the loss of one of his kidneys, which is a fairly serious thing to go through. On that front, we certainly hope it’s all behind him now and that we can concentrate on how great and healthy a baseball player he is. He paid the price for his actions, let’s move on and focus on what he’s done since and what he’ll do in the future.
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The most amazing thing I could say aboutRyan Brett
is that his presence within the system allows the Rays to consider dealing their 2015 MVP –Logan Forsythe
– because he’d bring back a lot in trade and Brett’s ready to take on 2B in MLB. The fact that he’s on our Top 50 list is kind of misleading since we essentially consider him an MLB product at this point. But, since he hasn’t surpassed the rookie status levels, we’ll keep him on the list.
Because of his stature, many people immediately jump to comparisons with Dustin Pedroia. No pressure. While they may be right in the fact that both come to the park to play hard every single day and are always covered in dirt, they have slightly different tools offensively speaking. Pedroia has more power to get the ball over the fence with, while Brett has slightly more speed to work with. But the comparison is an intriguing one and isn’t far off overall. If he ever approaches Pedroia’s performances in MLB, the Rays are in for a treat.
Brett’s appearance in 2016 may not have him kick things off at the top of the lineup. He may have to prove is bat is ready and MLB tested before he is handed that role, but it’s where many see him winding up down the road. His speed, energy, and ability to grind at-bats make project him as a good leadoff hitter. If his power ever develops enough, he could also slot in nicely in the 2nd spot in the lineup. However, at this point I’d say it’s hard to expect anything more than 10-15 HR per season from Brett until he proves otherwise.
What he will undoubtedly provide the Rays with is base-stealing abilities that are beyond what most of the recent lineups have had. Over his minors career, he’s stolen 138 bags and was caught only 32 times (never more than 8 times in a season). If we combine that ability with a .270 to .285 average and good OBP, Brett could be a valuable spark plug wherever he is in the lineup. A floor of 20-25 SB and ceiling of 40+ seems adequate in his case and is sure to keep opposing teams busy whenever he’s on the bases.
From his defense to his offense, Ryan Brett just keeps getting better. (Credit: Flickr user Minors Fan Photos)
With a hard-nosed attitude, talent to go with it, and an opportunity to prove himself likely to come around at some point in 2016, we expect to see a lot of Brett in 2016. He has put in a ton of work at 2B to lower his errors and improve his footwork. Whether or not it’s enough to keep him at 2B long-term remains to be seen. Health and position seem to be the biggest obstacles that stand in his way, particularly when most see him as an adequate CF option if he doesn’t play 2B.
What I’d like to point out is that if he can handle CF, and since Kevin Kiermaier isn’t going anywhere, he surely can handle LF as well. And so if Desmond Jennings has any issues or is dealt, Brett could see some time in LF and perform in a similar way as Rajai Davis has.
If he is a fit at LF, CF, and 2B, there’s a good chance Brett could earn himself a bench role, alongside Richie Shaffer. Between the two of them, they cover off the majority of positions and bring youth and energy to the team.
While many will question why we didn’t have Ryan Brett ranked higher, I’d argue that the health of his shoulder and minimal development of his power has set him back a step. There’s no doubt we still expect him to do an outstanding job, but the Rays system is loaded with other talents that we needed to consider. Those we have ranked ahead of Brett are deserving of the position, so you should all be excited about the state of the Rays system going into 2016.
Ryan Brett is one of many exciting Rays prospects to keep an eye on in 2016. Although he may not wind up spending much time in the minors at all with his development being fairly complete, he may spend some time there until the Rays figure out where to play him and have him get further acclimated to LF and CF. Whether in Milb or MLB, we know Brett will give it his all and will work hard to make the best of his skills.
A beardless Ryan Brett’s comments after getting his first MLB hit: