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Tampa Bay Rays PRE-SEASON 2012 Top 20 Prospects in Review

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July 2, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore (55) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
July 2, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore (55) throws a pitch against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 2012 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

It is time to begin our yearly reviews of the Top 20 Prospects List for each organization, beginning with the Tampa Bay Rays. Remember, this is the pre-season list. It is not a new list.

This list was originally published November 17, 2011.

1) Matt Moore, LHP, Grade A: 5-6, 4.42 in 17 major league starts with a 96/50 K/BB in 100 innings, 95 hits allowed. He's got some command issues to work through, but I remain very confident in him for the future.

2) Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Grade B+: Hitting .265/.328/.347 with 34 walks, 73 strikeouts in 366 at-bats for Double-A Montgomery, with 28 steals. Not great hitting, but speed and defense still draw positive comment, and I continue to think he has a chance to hit better than he has.

3) Alexander Torres, LHP, Grade B: Borderline B+. Ugly numbers for Triple-A Durham: 6.84 ERA, 65/47 K/BB in 51 innings, 52 hits. Complete command failure, despite success at the same level last year. Strikeout rate remains very high but stock is obviously down, and I was too aggressive with this grade, thinking that his command would improve, not slip.

4) Alex Colome, RHP, Grade B: 4.72 ERA with 50/20 K/BB in 48 innings for Double-A Montgomery, 53 hits. Missed over a month with an oblique injury. Reports on stuff remain positive, still working his command.

5) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Grade B: 0.69 ERA with 14/1 K/BB in 13 innings for short-season Hudson Valley, eight hits allowed, 3.60 GO/AO. Outstanding performance in a small sample. Just needs to stay healthy. Heading towards the top of the list.

6) Mikie Mahtook, OF, Grade B: Hitting .294/.355/.419 with four homers, 25 walks, 64 strikeouts in 303 at-bats, and 17 steals for High-A Charlotte. Not showing as much home run power as anticipated, but holding his own and has been very hot lately.

7) Brandon Guyer, OF, Grade B-: Borderline B. Out until next year with a shoulder injury.

8) Parker Markel, RHP, Grade B-: 4.75 ERA with a 49/17 K/BB in 61 innings for Low-A Bowling Green, 64 hits allowed, a 1.42 GO/AO. I was a bit concerned for him due to his low strikeout rate, but felt his ground ball tendencies would help compensate. That hasn't really happened, but he's just 21.

9) Ryan Brett, 2B, Grade B-: .314/.367/.423 with 23 walks, 43 strikeouts in 274 at-bats for Bowling Green. 31 steals in 36 attempts. Defense has improved and hitting numbers are pretty solid for the difficult Midwest League.

10) Drew Vettleson, OF, Grade B-: .288/.350/.438 with 32 walks, 69 strikeouts in 313 at-bats for Bowling Green, 11 steals in 18 attempts. Very similar to his rookie ball performance last year.

11) Chris Archer, RHP, Grade B-: Was struggling with his command in Triple-A, 4.68 ERA with a 90/50 K/BB in 83 innings, 67 hits. 14/2 K/BB in his first 12 major league innings. Stuff remains very impressive, it all comes down to command. I think this rating was too low.

12) Enny Romero, LHP, Grade B-: 3.04 ERA with 61/46 K/BB in 83 innings for Charlotte, 59 hits allowed. Pretty ERA and good reports on his stuff, but walk rate is quite high.

13) Tyler Goeddel, 3B, Grade B-: .247/.333/.392 with 26 walks, 68 strikeouts in 227 at-bats for Bowling Green, 20 steals in 23 attempts. Good reports on his defense and he's only 19 years old. I think the bat can and will improve.

14) Jake Hager, SS, Grade B-: Hitting .279/.331/.396 for Bowling Green, 20 walks, 32 strikeouts in 265 at-bats. Range may be too limited for shortstop in the long run. Impressive contact skills and I think the bat has more potential than commonly believed.

15) Tim Beckham, SS, Grade C+: Hitting .243/.333/.351 with 15 walks, 27 strikeouts in 111 at-bats for Durham. Limited to 27 games by a drug suspension. I was open to the idea that I rated him too low and he's still just 22, but he still looks more like a utility player than a future regular to me. I think he needs a change of scenery.

16) Oscar Hernandez, C, Grade C+: Can Venezuelan Summer League superstar bring his talents to North America? Small sample, but he's doing well so far for Princeton in the Appalachian League: .281/.382/.526 with seven walks, nine strikeouts in 57 at-bats.

17) Granden Goetzman, OF, Grade C+: Hitting .298/.346/.468 with four walks, seven strikeouts, seven steals in 47 at-bats for Princeton. So far, so good in the Appy League.

18) Tyler Bortnick, 2B, Grade C+: Hitting .257/.353/.389 with 40 walks, 52 strikeouts in 311 at-bats for Montgomery, 23 steals in 25 attempts. Speed/walk combination with very solid second base glove.

19) Felipe Rivero, LHP, Grade C+: 2.35 ERA with 73/21 K/BB in 84 innings for Bowling Green, 73 hits allowed, 1.59 GO/AO. Improved over last season, nothing to complain about here.

20) Derek Dietrich, SS, Grade C+: .274/.343/.452 with eight homers, 24 walks, 71 strikeouts in 314 at-bats for Charlotte. Splitting time between second and short, reliable at both positions but range fits better at second or third.

21) Lenny Linsky, RHP, Grade C+: Recently activated from extended spring training, struggling with command issues so far, 10 hits, seven runs, eight walks in five innings for Charlotte.

22) Nick Barnese, RHP, Grade C+: Another recent activation, just a handful of innings so far in Double-A, recovering from spring shoulder problems.

23) Josh Sale, OF, Grade C+: Restoring his reputation after poor '11 season, hitting .267/.389/.504 with 26 walks, 33 strikeouts in 131 at-bats for Bowling Green. Just went on the disabled list and had been in a slump since late June.

24) Jeff Ames, RHP, Grade C+: 1.13 ERA with 23/7 K/BB in 24 innings for Hudson Valley, 16 hits allowed. Looking good so far, good sleeper prospect.

25) Kes Carter, OF, Grade C+: Injured.

I found it hard to get a read on the Rays pre-season, due to their abundance of talented but inexperienced players at the lower levels. There's been some injury attrition, command slippages, and some guys not hitting quite as well as anticipated. That's the friction of war, but overall I still like this system a lot.