Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. 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.
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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.
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. Mikie Mahtook and Enny Romero have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.
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 next player to be examined in detail is …
#25: Riley Timothy Unroe, 2B/SS, 20 years old
- Bats: Both Ht/Wt: 5’10” 180 lbs
- Drafted: in the second round of the 2013 MLB draft
- Signed: for $997,500
- 2015 Affiliate: Bowling Green, LoA
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2018+
Unroe’s Fielding Stats
Unroe’s 2015 Splits
- Follow him on Twitter: @riley_unroe
- His father Tim played on 3 MLB teams (Braves, Brewers, Angels)
- Played on the 2011 U16 Team U.S.A squad, along with Rays C Nick Ciuffo and Bucs OF Austin Meadows to name a few
- Was ranked 53rd on BA’s pre-draft top 500 list
- Hit very well with 2 outs and RISP in 2015 with a line of .288/.338/.439 and 5 of his 19 extra base hits
- His 2015 ISO was low at 0.66, wRC+ slightly below avg at 95, and wOBA of .313
- Currently playing in the ABL for the Brisbane Bandits, hitting .312/.395/.371 with 12 SB
Isn’t afraid to use all workout methods:
Michael Johns who is managing him in Brisbane had this to say about Riley playing in the ABL this winter:
"“The first thing for me is he’s getting to play shortstop here, which is good,” “He was drafted as a shortstop and he hasn’t played a lot of that in pro ball. He’s played a lot of second, so playing short is going to make him a better infielder, even if he doesn’t stay there. There are a lot of things at short that you have to do that you don’t have to do at other positions. It’s a very good experience for him. The other thing is stealing bases, and he’s done a good job of that so far, that’s going to be a big emphasis for him.”"
Best Tools & Abilities
- Electric Bat Speed as a Switch-Hitter
- Soft hands and overall defensive ability
- Speed and Range
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Unroe has yet to show us his full offensive potential in the minors and may just be maturing on that front while improving his game in Australia. A highly thought of middle-infielder, he has the defensive ability, speed, arm-strength, and range to handle 2B, SS, and CF. That in itself will continue getting him time and promotions as he looks to add the bat production to complement his defensive play.
The keys to what Unroe has shown in Australia this winter are the speed on the bases and the ability to handle SS. Both of those aspects will improve his chances at earning a spot on the Rays in the future. He still projects to be able to knock out 12-15 HR per season if he reached his full-potential, but it’s his overall hit tool that will improve his chances of becoming an MLB regular.
With so much experience playing with Team U.S.A. in pressure packed situations and his first full season of baseball behind him, there’s no doubt Unroe has the experience to use and improve his game going forward. The fact that he chose to play so much winter ball in anticipation for his second full season indicates how ready he is to put in the work. That’s a very encouraging sign.
The first thing Managers look for in a middle-infielder is their ability to handle the position defensively. Unroe already projects to be able to handle that without issue when he gets the call to the majors. While we don’t expect him to turn around and start knocking 20-25 HR per season, we do expect that his hit tool will play well enough to show gap power and a good amount of doubles as a result of that and his speed.
If Unroe can make the best of his speed on the bases and improve his approach vs LHP, he could put himself in a position to compete for the 2B or SS job as early as 2018. He’ll be competing with other top prospects for that role, so it’s to his advantage to continue to broaden his positional flexibility and increase his chances to get a shot at The Show in the process.
That we were forced to include Unroe in the mid-20s indicates how deep the Rays system is. Although it’s dominated by pitching, the catcher and middle-infielder positions are also very well represented. Unroe represents one of four prospects we could see winning the second base or short-stop jobs long-term, an indication of the battle he still faces to reach the majors.
Enjoy watching the rise of prospects such as Willy Adames, Daniel Robertson, Adrian Rondon, and Ryan Brett. But what ever you do, don’t sleep on Unroe because he could earn a full-time role with the Rays if those prospects don’t develop as expected and/or he exceeds their production.