Tampa Bay Rays 2015 Top 10 Prospects: Where are They Now?

Willy Adames (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Willy Adames (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Justin O’Conner (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

2. Justin O’Conner

Justin O’Conner was rated as the second-best prospect the Rays had in 2015 by Baseball Prospectus.

The Hoosier was taken in the first round of the 2010 draft out of Cowan High School.
He was touted as a top-tier arm from behind the plate, a great pitch framer, and a powerful stroke with the bat.

His potential future was rated as high as an average regular player in the major leaguers with a realistic projection as an occasional starter.

His estimated arrival date in the big leagues was set for 2016.

2015 would be the only season that he cracked any Top 100 rankings. O’Conner was coming off of a 2014 season in which he hit .278/.316/.466 between High-A Charlotte and AA-Montgomery.

He stuck with Montgomery for all of 2015 where he failed his pre-season rankings, hitting only .231/.255/.371.

He reached AAA-Durham in 2017 where he hit only .194/.225/.299. To this point, O’Conner had caught an incredible 43.7 percent of baserunners, despite the struggles with the bat.

Prior to 2018, he found himself with the Indians O’Conner was suspended for fifty games for testing positive for drug abuse twice. He never played a game for the club and wound up looking to the independent leagues for work.

By 2018, O’Conner found himself in the independent leagues playing in St. Paul. Justin had a pretty good season in the independent league, but it was a far cry from being the number two prospect for a major league club.

In 2018 with St. Paul, he hit .250/.292/.459. He posted 17 homers in 292 at-bats.
Last season, he found a home with Chicago White Sox where he started over in Rookie ball and began his pursuit of a pitching career.

He pitched in 14 innings and even earned a save. At age-27 he struck out 17 batters in 14.0 innings pitched. He only walked one batter and combined for a 4.50 ERA.