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Tampa Bay Devil Rays Top 20 List

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Delmon Young (on the right) and his older brother Dmitri

  1. Delmon Young, OF A-
  2. Scott Kazmir, LHP A-
  3. Jeff Niemann, RHP B+
  4. Wes Bankston, 1B-OF B+
  5. Chad Orvella, RHP B+
  6. Elijah Dukes, OF B
  7. Reid Brignac, SS B
  8. Jason Hammel, RHP B-
  9. Joey Gathright, OF B-
  10. James Houser, LHP B-
  11. Seth McClung, RHP C+
  12. John Barratt, LHP C+
  13. Gabby Martinez, 1B C+
  14. Andy Sonnanstine, RHP C+
  15. Chris Seddon, LHP C
  16. Matt Diaz, OF C
  17. Jonny Gomes, OF C
  18. Jason Pridie, OF C
  19. Jarod Matthews,RHP C
  20. Shawn Riggans, C C
The Devil Rays are a very "tool-oriented" organization, similar to the Braves or Twins. Done properly, this approach to building a farm system can work as well as any other approach. Done poorly, it will leave you with a bunch of great athletes and no actual baseball players. After a slow start following the establishment of the franchise, the D-Rays have made major progress.
There is little controversial about the early names on my list. One guy to watch real close is Elijah Dukes, who is rather anonymous unless you're a D-Rays fan. He has tremendous tools and hit .332/.416/.540 last year in the California League, although there are questions about his plate discipline and his "fiery" makeup. Joey Gathright may be the fastest man in professional baseball, but his extreme lack of power may delegate him to a bench role in the long run. Power-hitting outfielders Matt Diaz and Jonny Gomes showed a lot of pop in Triple-A last year. Diaz gets a Grade C because he is 27, Gomes because he struck out 136 times in 114 games. If you want to weight "immediate help" more heavily, move them up the list.
As usual, feel free to comment and critique. It keeps me sharp.
UPDATE: Reader Dave Cameron points out that Elijah Dukes was recently arrested for attacking his sister. ANOTHER UPDATE: Matt Diaz was released a few days ago. He can certainly help someone!