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Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 2016 PRE-SEASON prospects in review

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Blake Snell
Blake Snell
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Continuing our journey reviewing the pre-season prospect lists, we turn our attention to the Tampa Bay Rays.





Discuss current Rays events in the comments section.

This list was originally published March 5, 2016

1) Blake Snell, LHP, Grade A-: 13 starts in the majors, 3.17 ERA, 69/40 K/BB in 65 innings; holding his own certainly but needs to get the walks down to maximize his potential. I think that will happen eventually. A very fine young pitcher.

2) Willy Adames, SS, Grade B+:
Very solid season in Double-A at age 20; .268/.370/.432 with 11 homers, 12 steals, 69 walks; steady power, plate discipline, defense, youth.

3) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Grade B+:
12-6 in 24 starts in Double-A, 3.90 ERA, 82/46 K/BB in 134 innings, 120 hits, 1.89 GO/AO; not up to past standards but solid overall, would like more strikeouts, increasing confidence he can be a workhorse.

4) Brent Honeywell, RHP, Grade B+:
102 innings between High-A and Double-A, 2.29 ERA, 108/23 K/BB, just 87 hits, confirming status as an excellent pitching prospect and a notch ahead of Guerrieri at this point.

5) Daniel Robertson, SS, Grade B:
Hitting .254/.349/.336 in Triple-A with 49 walks, 89 strikeouts in 393 at-bats; lack of power has caught up with him but still gets on base, defense very reliable at short, second, third; bat can still pick up at age 22.

6) Jacob Faria, RHP, Grade B: 25 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, combined 4.06 ERA with 152/59 K/BB, 140 innings, just 105 hits; best pitch remains change-up but his velocity has picked up over the last two years and his strikeout rate is a strong positive marker. September trial?

7) Jake Bauers, 1B-OF, Grade B-/B:
Playing Double-A at age 20, hitting .277/.373/.425; 13 homers, 67 walks, 78 strikeouts in 447 at-bats; long-term distance power remains a question but he's young and controls the zone well; there are good reasons to be optimistic.

8) Garrett Whitley, OF, Grade B-/C+:
Age 19, first round pick in 2015 from high school in New York, playing in New York-Penn League with .242/.331/.327 slash line for Hudson Valley Renegades; 16 steals in 19 attempts; hasn't tapped power yet but young, speed already plays well; high ceiling.

9) Mikie Mahtook, OF, Grade B-/C+:
Excellent in Triple-A (.333/.416/.437); terrible in majors (.132/.191/.160 in 106 at-bats) but missed a lot of time with injury; not as good as he looked last September but not as bad as he looks now; overall i think he's a .250 hitter with decent power and defense but needs to unlock soon; currently in 0-for-23 slump.

10) Richie Shaffer, 3B, Grade B-/C+:
Hitting .223/.325/.355 with 10 homers, 59 walks, 128 strikeouts in 391 at-bats in Triple-A; was much better at the same level last season; league-repeater stagnation syndrome? Haven't studied closely enough to know what's going on here; comments welcome.

11) Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Grade B-/C+:
Hitting .275/.385/.450 with 15 homers, 75 walks, 110 strikeouts in 418 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; power/patience best attributes; remains to be seen if he becomes a slugging regular or "just" a good role player; ready for a trial next year.

12) Kevin Padlo, 3B, Grade B-/C+:
Hitting .223/.359/.410 with 16 homers, 76 walks, 124 strikeouts, 14 steals in 376 at-bats in Low-A; very good glove at third base; would like to see higher average but power, patience, defense will keep him in the picture and give him development slack at age 20.

13) Justin Williams, OF, Grade B-/C+:
304 at-bats between High-A and Double-A, hitting .299/.323/.454 with 16 doubles, nine homers, 10 walks, 50 strikeouts at age 21; getting to his raw power a little more often and doesn't strike out much but OBP may never be a strong asset.

14) Chris Betts, C, Grade C+/B-:
2015 second rounder coming off Tommy John surgery, not hitting yet at .155/.333/.226 in 84 at-bats in short-season ball; 21 walks, 29 strikeouts; arm strength back enough that he's catching regularly again; drawing walks, need more data overall but this is a start.

15) Brandon Koch, RHP, Grade C+/B-:
Age 22, fourth round pick from Dallas Baptist in 2015 went on disabled list in late April.

16) Ryne Stanek, RHP, Grade C+:
97 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, combined 3.98, 107/44 K/BB, pitching in bullpen since arriving in Durham and that is his most likely role going forward; plenty of stuff but command remains inconsistent. 

17) Brandon Lowe, 2B, Grade C+:
Third round pick in 2015 from University of Maryland, hitting .243/.345/.336 with 49 walks, 67 strikeouts in 345 at-bats in Low-A; I felt he was capable of much better given college track record and a sweet swing but lack of pop holding him back.

18) Taylor Motter, OF-INF, Grade C+
:  Hitting .234/.302/.414 with 13 homers, 17 steals in 304 at-bats in Triple-A; just .188/.290/.300 with 11 walks, 19 strikeouts in 80 major league at-bats; athletic with some power and speed but erratic track record and older prospect at age 26. May still surprise in a year or two.

19) Jaime Schultz, RHP, Grade C+:
125 innings in Triple-A with 155/65 K/BB in Triple-A, 3.10 ERA; fine season; could stand to lower walk rate but strikeouts are fun and has given up just 103 hits; ready for September trial; may fit best in bullpen long-term.

20) Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Grade C+: 23 starts in Double-A and Triple-A with 2.84 ERA, 107/35 K/BB in 133 innings, 124 hits; excellent season due to command, stolen from the Twins last year for Kevin Jepsen.

OTHER GRADE C+ (interchangeable with spots 16-20), Ryan Brett, 2B; Johnny Field, OF; Patrick Leonard, 3B; Joe McCarthy, OF;Justin O’Conner, C; Adrian Rondon, INF; Jesus Sanchez, OF; Andrew Velazquez, SS; Kean Wong, 2B; Hunter Wood, RHP

OTHERS OF NOTE: Andrew Bellatti, RHP; Nick Ciuffo, C; Jake Hager, SS; Austin Pruitt, RHP (everyone wants me to cut him but I am stubborn), Enny Romero, LHP; Riley Unroe, 2B; Cameron Varga, RHP

Discuss 2016 in the comments section.