Tampa Bay Rays: 2019 Top 15 Pitching Prospects

By Austin Reimann
Brent Honeywell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Brent Honeywell (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
5 of 16
DENVER, CO – APRIL 25: (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – APRIL 25: (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

#12: Michael Mercado, RHP, 19

 Another prep pitcher who has the potential to be a middle of the rotation arm in the future.

Height/Weight: 6’4″ / 160

Drafted: | Signed: 2nd, 2014 (40th) | $2,132,000

School: High School

Pitch Grades (Via FanGraphs):

FB: 45/55

CB: 45/55

CH: 45/50

FB velocity: 89-93, T-94

The Rays were able to coax Mercado away from his future at Stanford with a signing bonus 400,000 dollars over slot. FanGraphs ranked him as the 45th best prospect in the Rays system but  Baseball America was much higher on him ranking him as the 13th best prospect in a deep system in 2018. I have to side with Baseball America on this one as I am super high on Michael.

Off-speed pitches: This is what FanGraphs had to say about his off-speed pitches, ” he’ll show you an above-average curveball and changeup once in a while.”. Although his 2-seam fastball isn’t an off-speed pitch, it is worth mentioning that he gets a lot of run with it.

Delivery: Mercado features good arm action and even better control. Per Baseball America, “Tall, thin and gangly, Mercado is more coordinated than he would appear, and repeats his delivery well. He needs to keep building strength, which could increase his velocity. He also needs to incorporate his lower half more consistently, and finish each pitch to get as much movement as possible and reduce the chance of injury.”

2018 numbers from SS Hudson Valley:

1-2 // 50 IP // 5.22 ERA // 38K/16BB // 1.42 WHIP

Thoughts: He has the build to become a formidable starter at the Major League level one day. I think as he matures physically, the fastball could stand to gain a few miles per hour. He has good stuff and he is only 19. The Rays move their prep pitchers slowly through the professional baseball ranks but a strong full season debut at Bowling Green could push him into the discussion for one of the top pitching prospects in a deep system.

Here is a video from 2080 Baseball of Mercado pitching for the Renegades: