1. Willy Adames
Willy Adames was signed as an International Free Agent in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic. Entering 2015 he was rated as the Rays’ top prospect by Baseball Prospectus.
Still a teenager in 2014, the Rays traded their star pitcher, David Price for the rights to the talented, young shortstop.
Baseball Prospectus rated his ceiling as a first-division player and a probable role as an “average major-leaguer.”
Adames was coming off a 2014 season in which he slashed .271/.353/.429, as an eighteen-year-old.
Baseball Prospectus had this to say regarding his defense:
"“not the most natural player at shortstop could potentially slide to third or second.”"
Of course, Adames took a huge step in 2019 and led all American League shortstops in defensive runs saved. In addition to his defense, he blasted 20 homers for the 96-win Rays.
Baseball Prospectus proposed that he may end up moving to third because the bat was projected to be stronger than the glove, but he’s proven to be lethal with both.
Adames is approaching his age-24 season with the Rays in 2020 and has solidified his spot on the team with his outstanding defensive prowess and his knack for big knocks in crucial spots.
Move Over Wander
Adames has been so good that top prospect, SS-Wander Franco, has been discussed as a candidate to take over at third so as not to disrupt the magic Adames has brought at short.
here was a lot of hype after the David Price trade, considering Adames was the ONLY prospect swapped for the superstar Ace. He continued to rocket his way through the minors and has been a key piece for the big league club for the past two seasons, and hopefully for many to come.
Are you surprised at the names on this list?