Continuing our look at young players on the playoff rosters, with the Tampa Bay Rays. The focus is on rookies, or players who played the majority of 2010 at age 24 or younger.
Reid Brignac, SS: 24 year old rookie, hit .256/.307/.385 in 301 at-bats. I think he will improve a bit offensively as time goes on. Reliable and steady infielder, should have a long career although I don't think he'll become a star. Second round pick in 2004 from high school in Louisiana.
Wade Davis, RHP: 24 year old rookie, went 12-10, 4.07 in 29 starts with a 113/62 K/BB in 168 innings, 165 hits. Needs to sharpen up his command a bit more, but I think it will happen, and as long as he stays healthy I think he's going to end up being a very good pitcher. He could have a big breakthrough in '11. Was a third round pick in 2004 from high school in Lake Wales, Florida.
Jeremy Hellickson, RHP: 23 years old, 12-3, 2.45 with a 123/35 K/BB in 118 innings in Triple-A, 3.47 ERA in 36 major league innings with 33/8 K/BB. One of the best prospects in the game, Hellickson is no fluke and should be a strong number two starter at the major league level, with some chance to get beyond that even though he doesn't have blistering heat. Fourth round pick in 2005 out of high school in Des Moines, Iowa.
John Jaso, C: 26 year old rookie catcher, hit .263/.372/.378 in 339 at-bats. Excellent plate discipline, drew 59 walks against just 39 strikeouts. Might develop a bit more power as he enters his late 20s, although he won't be a big home run guy. Defense is OK, good enough for him to play at least, and his on-base skills are very useful. Was a 12th round pick in 2003 from Southwestern Junior College in California.
Desmond Jennings, OF: 23 years old, hit .190/.292/.333 in 21 at-bats for Tampa Bay, on the heels of a .278/.362/.393 mark in Triple-A, with 37 steals. Speed and good walk rate make him nice top-of-the-order hitter, but injuries have helped sap any power development. I still think he can hit better than this in time. 10th round pick in 2006 from Itawamba Community College.
Jake McGee, LHP: 24 year old Tommy John survivor, posted 3.07 ERA with 127/36 K/BB in 106 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 90 hits. Threw five innings for the Rays, with a 6/3 K/BB and two hits and a single run allowed. He has all of his stuff back, and is once again one of the best southpaw prospects in the game, though it remains to be seen what role they will use him in. Fifth round pick in 2004 from high school in Nevada.
David Price, LHP: Played most of the year at age 24, turning 25 in late August. Outstanding sophomore season after erratic '09 freshman campaign, went 19-6, 2.72 with 188/79 K/BB in 209 innings, 170 hits. He has been everything they could have possibly hoped when he was drafted first overall out of Vanderbilt in 2007. Barring any injuries, he'll be one of the best pitchers in baseball for a long time.