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Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

This list was originally published November 10, 2008.  This is a review of the PRE-SEASON list for 2009, not a revision of that list. This is a REVIEW of the old list. I'm not doing new grades or lists until I start working on the 2010 book.

1) David Price, LHP, Grade A: 4.75 ERA with 81/44 K/BB in 97 innings for the Rays, 98 hits allowed. I still believe in him long-term.

2) Wade Davis, RHP, Grade B+: 10-8, 3.40 with a 140/60 K/BB in 159 innings for Triple-A Durham, 139 hits. He still has some command issues but I like him.

3) Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Grade B+: 2.61 ERA with 123/29 K/BB in 107 innings, 69 hits combined between Double-A Montgomery and Durham. All stats are excellent and did not deteriorate as he moved up despite complaints about lack of plus velocity. Has struck out 32 hitters in his last three starts, with five walks..

4) Tim Beckham, SS, Grade B+: Hitting .281/.335/.400 for Class A Bowling Green. Needs more polish but ceiling remains immense.

5) Desmond Jennings, OF, Grade B: Hitting .322/.406/.496 with 52 steals in 57 attempts, 66 walks, 66 strikeouts in 484 at-bats combined between Montgomery and Durham. Breakthrough season after shoulder problems in '08.

6) Jeff Niemann, HRP, Grade B-: 12-5, 3.80 with a 92/47 K/BB in 147 innings for the Rays, 143 hits. Hard to complain here. Perhaps a case example of how a full season of Triple-A makes major league adjustments easier?

7) Nick Barnese, RHP, Grade B-: 2.53 ERA with 62/25 K/BB in 75 innings for Bowling Green, 56 hits. Very solid pitching.

8) Jake Jefferies, C, Grade B-: Hitting .270/.332/.371 for Bowling Green. Makes contact, but lack of power looks like a problem.

9) Matt Moore, LHP, Grade B-: 3.15 ERA with 176/70 K/BB in 123 innings for Bowling Green, 86 hits. Love the K/IP and hit rate, needs to lower walks.

10) Reid Brignac, SS, Grade C+: .282/.327/.417 for Durham, .254/.277/.365 in 22 major league games. Still finding his way.

11) John Jaso, C, Grade C+: .257/.356/.350 for Durham. Good contact hitter but lacks power.

12) Jacob McGree, LHP, Grade C+: 7.45 ERA with 22/9 K/BB in 19 innings for Class A Charlotte, 24 hits. Rehabbing from Tommy John and it shows.

13) Eduardo Morlan, RHP, Grade C+: 3.84 ERA with 60/29 K/BB in 68 innings for Montgomery, 66 hits. OK but not terrific performance.

14) Fernando Perez, OF, Grade C+: Injured most of the season with a bad wrist. Hitting .278/.395/.361 in 13 games for Durham, with eight steals in nine attempts.

15) Mitch Talbot, RHP, Grade C+: Currently on rehab in the Gulf Coast League after vaguely described "arm problems.". Posted 4.47 ERA with 40/18 K/BB in 54 innings for Durham earlier in the year.

16) Heath Rollins, RHP, Grade C+: 3.83 ERA with 83/33 K/BB in 134 innings for Montgomery, 147 hits. Hittable control type, but I think he has sleeper potential.

17) Reid Fronk, OF, Grade C+: .201/.321/.286 in 112 games for Charlotte. Power totally vanished.

18) Kyle Lobstein, LHP, Grade C+: 2.81 ERA with 65/22 K/BB in 67 innings for Hudson Valley in the New York-Penn League, 51 hits. Impressive performance, breakthrough guy for 2010.

19) Emeel Salem, OF, Grade C+: .251/.324/.327 with 24 steals in 32 attempts for Charlotte. Lacks power, but makes contact and has speed.

20) Albert Suarez, RHP, Grade C+: Made just two starts in the NY-P.

Price hasn't quite lived up to expectations, but the stuff is clearly there and as long as he remains healthy I remain positive about his long-term outlook. Niemann has been better than expected, and Davis and Hellickson aren't far behind. Moore's power arm is highly intriguing, and Barnese and Lobstein look like a breakthrough pair for '10. On the hitting side, Jennings is elite and will move to the top of the list next year. There is less hitting depth after that, but overall the emphasis this system has put on pitching should pay dividends.