Tampa Bay Rays: Updated Top 10 Pitching Prospects

Brendan McKay of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Brendan McKay of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Rays just added another arm to their farm system that has frontline potential. Here’s a quick look at our revised minor league rankings.

The Tampa Bay Rays minor league system is full of talented hurlers. Today we slot the newest addition, 17-year-old Nick Bitsko, into our list of the Rays’ top 10 pitching prospects.

Yes, five of the top 10 are pitchers. All things considered, here’s what our top-10 pitching prospect rankings look like following the draft:

For a more detailed look at the top six pitchers click here.

Tampa Bay Rays Updated Pitching Prospects – (overall grade in parenthesis)

  1. Brendan McKay (60)
  2. Shane Baz (60)
  3. Nick Bitsko (55)
  4. Brent Honeywell (55)
  5. Shane McClanahan (50)
  6. Joe Ryan (50)
  7. J.J. Goss (50)
  8. Seth Johnson (45)
  9. Riley O’Brien (45)
  10. Peter Fairbanks (45)

McKay is the hands-down top prospect. He’s currently Baseball America’s 14th overall prospect in baseball. He has two plus pitches with plus control that has led to his career 1.78 ERA in the minor leagues.

Shane Baz was taken just eight picks after McKay in the 2017 draft and has a flaming fastball. His heater is tied with Peter Fairbanks for the highest grade (70) of any pitcher on this list. If he can get his control in order, Baz has the potential to be a frontline starter but his stuff lends itself more to a powerhouse in the backend of the bullpen.

If Baz reaches his full potential then he will add to the legend of the Chris Archer trade, as he was the third player in the deal alongside Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow.

We are slotting Bitsko just above Honeywell despite the fact that Honeywell has three plus-pitches and above-average control. Honeywell has command of a deeper arsenal than the phenom but he hasn’t pitched since 2017 due to an extensive list of injuries. Honeywell’s injuries since he last pitched in 2017 include Tommy John’s surgery, fractured elbow during TJ recovery, and a recent decompression procedure on his ulnar nerve.

He is likely to miss all of the 2020 season.

Just based on the injuries and the gap in playing time, we’ll slot Bitsko in as our number three pitcher. Bitsko will turn 18 in just a few days and already possesses two plus pitches with above-average control. Keep in mind, that is in comparison to major-league pitchers. The upside is to the moon with this kid.

It’s crazy to think that a kid who hasn’t played beyond his sophomore year in high school baseball could be ranked this high in the best farm system in the league, but that’s what the Rays do. Next year’s number one draft pick, this year.

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When you consider all of the talented youngsters already in the majors with a list like this in the farm system, it’s a good time to be a Rays’ fan.