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Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

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Checking in on the Tampa Bay Rays pre-season prospect list.

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Willy Adames
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.




This list was originally published December 19th, 2016, and revised on February 13th, 2017.

1) Jose De Leon, RHP, Grade A/A-: Age 25, 24th round pick in 2013 by Dodgers from Southern University, traded to Rays on January 23rd for Logan Forsythe; 3.05 ERA in 38 innings between Triple-A and rehab work, 44/16 K/BB; has made three trips to the disabled list and is sidelined right now with elbow problems; I over-rated him here, should have been lower if only because of durability worries.

2) Willy Adames, SS, Grade B+/A-: Age 21, hitting .274/.366/.418 in Triple-A, nine homers, 63 walks, 112 whiffs in 445 at-bats, very steady player, has been on a hot streak lately however, don’t underestimate.

3) Brent Honeywell, RHP, Grade B+/A-: Age 22, 3.50 ERA in 131 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with excellent 167/32 K/BB, 128 hits, nothing left to prove in the minors, ready for a trial, has 73/14 K/BB in last 10 starts.

MLB: Fall Star Game
Jake Bauers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

4) Jake Bauers, OF-1B, Grade B+: Age 21, hitting .265/.367/.418 with 12 homers, 68 walks, 15 steals in 431 at-bats in Triple-A; continues to demonstrate polished approach, OBP skills, but marginal home run game power for a corner guy.

5) Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Grade B/B+: Age 24, first round pick in 2014 from Wichita State; traded to Chicago White Sox for Dan Jennings on July 27th; hitting .222/.296/.395 in Triple-A with 11 homers, 44 walks, 88 strikeouts in 409 at-bats; quite disappointing.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Tampa Bay Rays
Jacob Faria
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

6) Jake Faria, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 24, strong major league debut with 3.32 ERA in 79 innings, 77/29 K/BB, 65 hits, does not look like a fluke to me, seems like his real level of ability; just placed on DL with abdominal strain.

7) Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 23, signed by Twins out of Taiwan in 2013; stolen by Rays in Kevin Jepsen trade in ’15; has converted to relief with fine results, 3.14 ERA in 57 innings in Triple-A, 51/11 K/BB, and has allowed just two runs over eight major league innings. He’s good.

8) Jaime Schultz, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 26, 14th round pick in 2013; missed much of season with groin injury but back in action now, 2.20 ERA in 16 innings between Triple-A and rehab work, 27/5 K/BB, ready for an MLB trial.

9) Jesus Sanchez, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2014 for $400,000; one of the favorites of the Minor League Ball community and for good reason, hitting .306/.348/.491 with 15 homers in Low-A Midwest League, hitting for average and power just as he did in the lower minors, has tools to go with the numbers.

Cincinnati Reds v Tampa Bay Rays
Daniel Robertson
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

10) Daniel Robertson, SS, Grade B-: Age 23, hitting .214/.306/.344 in 192 major league at-bats; steady/solid infield glove; type of player who could have an offensive surge in his late 20s as he gets stronger.

11) Joshua Lowe, 3B, Grade B-: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 from high school in Georgia; hitting .269/.326/.392 with 22 steals, eight homers, 37 walks, 120 strikeouts in 413 at-bats in Low-A; an outfielder now and has adapted quickly to center field; still learning to tap power and manage zone.

12) Garrett Whitley, OF, Grade B-/C+: Age 20, first round pick in 2015 from high school in New York; hitting .255/.369/.435 with 12 homers, 16 steals in Low-A, part of an exciting outfield for Bowling Green this year with Sanchez and Lowe; Whitley has made progress refining his swing for power.

13) Kevin Padlo, 3B, Grade B-/C+: Age 21, fifth round pick in ’14 by Rockies, traded to Rays in Corey Dickerson/Jake McGee deal; hitting .233/.327/.399 in High-A but limited to 193 at-bats by injury; good glove at third base; bat appears stagnant but still young of course.

14) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 24; pitched nine innings in Triple-A in April then went on disabled list with sore elbow and hasn’t returned.

15) Adrian Rondon, SS, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, signed out of Dominican Republic for $2,950,000 in 2014 hitting .223/.293/.335 in Low-A with 32 walks, 120 strikeouts in 358 at-bats; now playing third base with mediocre results; tools are here but raw with both bat and glove.

Tampa Bay Rays v Texas Rangers
Ryne Stanek
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

16) Ryne Stanek, RHP, Grade C+: Age 26, first round pick in 2013 from University of Arkansas; excellent in Triple-A (1.15 ERA in 39 innings, 53/15 K/BB, eight saves) but gave up five homers in 13 major league innings for a 6.39 ERA, with 16/7 K/BB; will get more chances.

17) Justin Williams, OF, Grade C+: Age 22, second round pick in 2013 by Diamondbacks; traded to Rays in ’14 Jeremy Hellickson deal; nice season in Double-A with .291/.361/.457 line in 313 at-bats, 10 homers; could sneak up next year if he taps the power a bit more.

18) Hunter Wood, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, 29th round pick in 2013 from Howard Junior College in Texas; 4.87 ERA in 116 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 103/39 K/BB, some home run troubles have elevated ERA but still has sleeper potential.

19) Genesis Cabrera, LHP, Grade C+: Age 20, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2013; 124 innings between High-A and Double-A with 3.20 ERA, 104/50 K/BB; needs better control but young and successful so far with fastball that can hit 95, plus the 80-grade name.

20) Kevin Gadea, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, from Nicaragua; signed by Mariners, drafted in 2016 Rule 5 draft; has spent entire season on major league disabled list with elbow injury.

21) Austin Franklin, RHP, Grade C+: Age 19, third round pick in 2016 from high school in Florida; 2.75 ERA in 52 innings in New York-Penn League, 55/26 K/BB, breakthrough candidate for 2018.

Jake Cronenworth, SS: Hitting .280/.372/.365 between High-A and Double-A
Lucius Fox, SS: Hitting .272/.358/.348 with 30 steals, Low-A/High-A.
Greg Harris, RHP: 5.18 ERA in 89 innings in Double-A, 86/39 K/BB.

Joe McCarthy, OF: Hitting .293/.414/.445 with 18 steals, 31 doubles, more power may come.
Carlos Vargas, SS: Hitting .222/.300/.340 in rookie ball.
Kean Wong, 2B: Hitting .267/.325/.360 in Double-A/Triple-A, 16 steals
Ryan Yarbrough, LHP: Strong year in Triple-A, 3.26 ERA in 146 innings, 147/36 K/BB, ready for a trial.

One more team to go.