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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 IS A REVIEW OF THE OLD LIST.

THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST.

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES.

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.

OTHER GRADE C+:
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.