Tampa Bay Devil Rays Top 20 Review
1) Delmon Young, OF
No complaints here: .336/.386/.582 with 20 homers for Double-A Montgomery. His walk rate could be higher, but given his overall production, that's quibbling. Oh, yeah, he also has 25 steals. Superstar in the making.
2) Scott Kazmir, LHP
3-7, but with a 4.59 ERA in 18 starts for the D-Ryas, 82/56 K/BB in 102 innings. Still needs better command, but he is holding his own overall.
3) Jeff Niemann, RHP
3.98 ERA in 5 starts for Visalia, with 28/10 K/BB in 20 innings, 12 hits allowed. Reasonable numbers after a long layoff.
4) Wes Bankston, 1B-OF
.319/.383/.546 at Montgomery, doing quite well since his promotion from Visalia. I thought that I had overrated him coming into the season, but his power is coming around and his plate discipline has been reasonable. Hardest part will be fitting him into then lineup.
5) Chad Orvella, RHP
0.36 ERA at Montgomery led to promotion to the Majors, where he has struggled a bit. Still very intrigued with his future and I don't see any real reason for him not to be a valuable pitcher in the long run.
6) Elijah Dukes, OF
.298/.362/.502, 13 homers, 13 steals at Montgomery. Adjusting to Double-A competition very well, making good progress turning his tools into skills. Has star potential if he can avoid further personality problems and maybe even if he can't.
7) Reid Brignac, SS
.250/.316/.390 at Southwest Michigan, struggling with plate discipline and consistency after a good start. I'm disappointed in his contact rates, 85 strikeouts in 76 games. Still intriguing long-term as an offensive shortstop but has work to do.
8) Jason Hammel, RHP
8-2, 2.65 ERA in 11 starts for Montgomery, with a 72/16 K/BB in 78 innings. A solid prospect who has received very little attention, and who deserves more. Lower 90s fastball with curve, changeup, and good command.
9) Joey Gathright, OF
.305/.388/.407 with 31 steals in 58 games for Triple-A Durham. I don't think he will hit with enough authority to be a regular for a good team, but his speed will keep him in the game for a long time.
10) James Houser, LHP
4-6, 4.62 in 15 starts for Southwest Michigan, 68/25 K/BB in 78 innings. Doing OK, not spectacular, average overall. Projectable, should improve. Best news this year has been good health.
11) Seth McClung, RHP
7.45 ERA in 39 innings for the D-Rays, suffering from poor command (30 walks). Can win if he throws strikes, a bit if.
12) John Barratt, LHP
6.55 ERA, with 45/33 K/BB in 44 innings at Visalia. Only positive here is strong K/IP ratio, but too many walks have spoiled his numbers. One of the bigger disappointments this year.
13) Gabby Martinez, 1B
Just .213/.277/.331 in 47 games at Montgomery. In this system, he will have to do a lot better than that in order to find any playing time. Will be passed quickly by other players.
14) Andy Sonnanstine, RHP
A bright spot, 9-4, 2.72 in 17 starts at Southwest Michigan, with a 94/11 K/BB in 109 innings. An advanced college-trained pitcher who is carving up inexperienced hitters. Can he sustain at higher levels?
15) Chris Seddon, LHP
6-1, 4.82 in 10 starts at Montgomery, then 1-5, 7.22 in 8 starts at Durham. He should never have been promoted; his ERA, K/BB, and H/IP ratios in Double-A did not support a 6-1 record.
16) Matt Diaz, OF
Released, signed with Kansas City, hit .345 at Omaha, then .250/.279/.375 in 22 games in the Majors until getting hurt. Now on rehab assignment in rookie ball. He can hit some if he gets the chance.
17) Jonny Gomes, OF
Hit .265/.358/.527 in 28 games for the Devil Rays. Like Diaz, he can hit if he gets the playing time. Could help several clubs.
18) Jason Pridie, OF
Out with a knee injury. Status unclear.
19) Jarod Matthews, RHP
Hasn't pitched this year.
20) Shawn Riggans, C
.260/.331/.429 for Montgomery. Doing OK, nothing special.
Any team with Delmon Young, Scott Kazmir, (and B.J. Upton, who played too much in '04 to be on this list) should have a good future. Dukes is also a guy to watch very closely. He has enormous talent, and if he can keep his head on straight he could be a star.
The pieces for a bright future are here, they just have to be put together properly.