Baseball America released it’s list of the game’s top 100 prospects and the Tampa Bay Rays led the way with eight players.
After finishing with nine players on the list last season, the Tampa Bay Rays maintain their dominance heading into 2020 with eight in the top-100, including the top overall prospect in the game, Wander Franco.
1. Wander Franco – SS
For the second straight year, Wander Franco finds himself perched atop the list as the best prospect in baseball. Franco is only 18-years-old. He began his professional journey with the Rays in 2018 at the age of 17.
Since then, Franco has slashed .336/.405/.523. Baseball America has an ETA on Franco in 2020. He should open the season in Double-A. If Franco continues to tear his way through the minors, it’s possible we could see him in the big leagues before his twentieth birthday.
14. Brendan McKay – LHP
As a junior at Louisville in 2017, Brendan McKay went 11-3 with a 2.56 ERA and set the school record for strikeouts. He did that while also hitting .341 with 18 HRs and 57 RBI.
He nearly exceeded his rookie eligibility last season for the Rays, coming up one inning shy of meeting the 50-inning requirement. If given the opportunity in 2020, McKay is an early favorite for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
51. Vidal Brujan – 2B
A speedy player with great on-base skills. Vidal Brujan is 5-9, 155lb – the speedster has finished the past two seasons with a combined 103 stolen bases and 14 triples.
71. Shane Baz – RHP
As if the Chris Archer trade didn’t look good enough for the Rays… The Rays sent Chris Archer to the Pirates for Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow, who were very important pieces in the 96-win season last year.
The final piece to that deal is working his way through the minors and his name is Shane Baz. At age 20, Baz finished 2019 in Single-A Bowling Green with a 2.99 ERA in 17 starts. He has struggled with control throughout his four minor-league stops but he did show improvement last season.
80. Brent Honeywell – RHP
Brent Honeywell was Baseball America’s 14th ranked prospect prior to the 2018 season. His arrival in Majors looked imminent as he had wrapped up 2017, which included 123 innings at Triple A-Durham where he went 12-8 with a 3.64 ERA. Honeywell struck out 11.3 batters per nine and walked only 2.3 batters per nine. He hasn’t pitched in a professional baseball game since.
He missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. In June of 2019, he suffered a broken elbow that also required surgery.
Honeywell was named the MVP of the 2017 futures game and the Rays hope he can be an impact player in 2020- if healthy.
83. Shane McClanahan – LHP
Shane McClanahan began last season as Baseball America’s 99th ranked prospect. He was drafted by the Rays in 2018 out of South Florida. He pitched in seven innings in the Rays’ system to end 2018. Last season was his first full season with the organization and McClanahan was promoted all the way up to AA-Montgomery.
85. Xavier Edwards – 2B
Xavier Edwards was the minor leaguer involved in the trade that sent Tommy Pham to San Diego in exchange for Hunter Renfroe. Edwards was recently rated MLB.com’s fourth-best second base prospect, one spot behind Vidal Brujan.
98. Joey Ryan – RHP
Like McClanahan, Joey Ryan was drafted by the Rays in 2018 and was promoted all the way to AA-Montgomery in 2019. Ryan has a career 2.36 ERA in the minor leagues with an incredible 234 strikeouts in just 160 innings. His career WHIP sits at 0.90. Rays’ fans should be watching Ryan closely in 2020.
The front office continues to do an incredible job at fielding an affordable yet effective major league roster, all-the-while keeping the minor league system stocked to the brim with talent.
Who do you think will make an impact in 2020?