Continuing forward with our 2013 farm system reviews, here is a look at the Tampa Bay Rays system. Remember, this is the PRE-SEASON list. This is not a new list. These are pre-season grades and rankings.
1) Wil Myers, OF, Grade A: Hit .286/.356/.520 in Triple-A, .323/.350/.492 so far in 32 major league games. He'll always have some strikeout in his game, but overall you have to love what he's done so far.
2) Chris Archer, RHP, Grade B+: 3.96 ERA with 52/23 K/BB in 50 Triple-A innings, 2.39 ERA with a 47/25 K/BB in 68 innings in the majors, punctuated by the recent outstanding performance against the Yankees. What happens if his command gets even better?
3) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Grade B+: 2.01 ERA with 51/12 K/BB, 3.09 GO/AO in 67 innings for Low-A Bowling Green/ Was performing very well until blowing out his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery.
4) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Grade B+: Borderline B. 3.64 ERA with 89/31 K/BB in 89 innings in Triple-A; 6.00 with 14/4 K/BB in 18 major league innings. He's better than what many teams run out there every fourth night.
5) Richie Shaffer, 3B, Grade B: Hitting .259/.317/.408 with eight homers, 28 walks, 81 strikeouts in 355 at-bats for High-A Charlotte. Somewhat disappointing for an advanced college bat.
6) Alex Colome, RHP, Grade B-: Strong season until he got hurt; 3.07 ERA with 72/29 K/BB in 70 innings for Triple-A Durham, 2.25 ERA with 12/9 K/BB in 16 innings in the majors. Out with elbow trouble.
7) Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Grade B-: Hot start at Durham (.422/.536/.600 in 15 games) until tearing knee ligaments.
8) Enny Romero, LHP, Grade B-: Still has some command issues, but throws hard and effective overall for Double-A Montgomery, 2.74 ERA, 84/56 K/BB in 108 innings, 89 hits. Would likely be discussed in any trade talks.
9) Drew Vettleson, OF, Grade B-: .276/.328/.398 with four homers, 28 walks, 62 strikeouts for Charlotte. That won't get it done as a corner outfielder.
10) Mikie Mahtook, OF, Grade B-: Hitting .238/.316/.361 with 18 steals, 33 walks, 80 strikeouts in 366 at-bats for Montgomery. That won't get it done either. Showing usable speed, but lack of power development is now a big concern, and he appears stagnant in Double-A.
11) Blake Snell, LHP, Grade B-: 4.14 ERA with 69/52 K/BB in 74 innings for Bowling Green, 65 hits, 2.11 GO/AO. Gets grounders, but walk rate is creeping up, has given 33 free passes in last 43 innings. Bad trendline.
12) Jeff Ames, RHP, Grade B-: This is better: 2.69 ERA with 62/25 K/BB in 87 innings, 62 hits for Bowling Green. Best pitch is his slider.
13) Jake Hager, SS, Grade B-: Hitting .267/.328/.314 with 30 walks, 63 strikeouts, 11 steals in 341 at-bats for Charltote. I was hoping he would show more pop. Glove looks good at this point.
14) Tyler Goeddel, 3B, Grade B-: Second year at Bowling Green with no improvement, hitting .237/.311/.368 compared to .246/.335/.371 last year. He's stolen 24 bases but has otherwise not lived up to expectations. Good range at third base but remains error-prone.
14) Todd Glaesman, OF, Grade B-: Hitting .242/.291/.396 with nine homers, 19 walks, 80 whiffs in 359 at-bats in Double-A. Has power, but on-base skills are currently weak.
16) Felipe Rivero, LHP, Grade B-: 4.13 ERA with 72/40 K/BB in 94 innings in High-A, 89 hits. Nothing special in the numbers, has a live arm but command and breaking ball still erratic.
17) Parker Markel, RHP, Grade B-: Major disappointment so far, 6.37 ERA with 71/35 K/BB in 82 innings, 99 hits in High-A. Power sinker, but problems with secondary pitches persist.
18) Jesse Hahn, RHP, Grade C+: Borderline B-. Tommy John recovery has gone well, 2.11 ERA with 60/18 K/BB in 64 innings in High-A, 53 hits, 2.42 GO/AO, just one homer allowed. Moving up the list past others who have disappointed.
19) Tim Beckham, INF, Grade C+: Hitting .276/.339/.393 for Durham, three homers, 13 steals, 30 walks, 82 strikeouts in 333 at-bats. Incremental improvements. Still thinking he's a utility guy.
20) Ryan Brett, 2B, Grade C+: Excellent after starting season on suspension list; .342/.395/.477 with 21 steals, 13 walks, 26 strikeouts in 193 at-bats for Charlotte. People are sleeping on him.
OTHER GRADE C+: Granden Goetzman, OF; Patrick Leonard, 3B; Josh Sale, OF; Andrew Toles, OF
OTHERS: Ryan Carpenter, LHP; Damion Carroll, RHP; Kes Carter, OF; Frank De Los Santos, LHP; Spencer Edwards, OF; Cole Figueroa, 2B; Jake Floethe, RHP; Nolan Gannon, RHP; Brandon Guyer, OF; Oscar Hernandez, C: Lenny Linsky, RHP; Brandon Martin, SS; Mike Montgomery, LHP; Ty Morrison, OF; C.J. Riefenhauser, LHP; Nick Sawyer, RHP; Alejandro Segovia, C; Alexander Torres, LHP.
First place, 20 games over .500, with a proven ability to develop pitching. That's a good place to be. And you've got a very nice young power bat in right field.
Besides the obvious success stories like Archer and Myers, don't overlook Alexander Torres, who has horrible in Triple-A last year but suddenly gained some command this spring and vaulted to big league success. If anyone can get Mike Montgomery to do the same thing next year, it is the Rays. Colome (if he's healthy) and Odorizzi provide additional depth.
Additional positives: Andrew Toles (.307/.342/.447, 47 steals) is having a fine season in Low-A. His teammate catcher Justin O'Conner (remember him?) is showing signs of life with 10 homers. Dylan Floro (1.68 ERA, 76/17 K/BB, 2.92 GO/AO) looks like a sleeper if you aren't concerned about his age (22 in Low-A). Ryan Brett has been excellent since returning from a PED suspension imposed late last August. The '13 draft should bring in a nice mix of upside and polished talent.
The negatives: heavy investments in high school players in '10 and '11 haven't paid dividends, bringing in tools but not much production to this point other than Brett. But supposedly-safe college bats like Shaffer and Mahtook and Kes Carter haven't held up their end yet either.
Still, if you can collect and develop pitchers, you can trade for bats.