See also: 2014 Ranking Index for Top 10 Prospects
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No small-revenue team in any sport does more with less better than the Rays. The 2013 campaign proved that once again.
|TOP 10 PROSPECTS|
|1. Jake Odorizzi, rhp|
|2. Hak-Ju Lee, ss|
|3. Taylor Guerrieri, rhp|
|4. Enny Romero, lhp|
|5. Alex Colome, rhp|
|6. Andrew Toles, of|
|7. Nick Ciuffo, c|
|8. Ryan Brett, 2b|
|9. Tim Beckham, ss/2b|
|10. Kevin Kiermaier, cf|
|Best Hitter for Average||Andrew Toles|
|Best Power Hitter||Jeff Malm|
|Best Strike-Zone Discipline||Vince Belnome|
|Fastest Baserunner||Andrew Toles|
|Best Athlete||Andrew Toles|
|Best Fastball||Ryne Stanek|
|Best Curveball||Taylor Guerrieri|
|Best Slider||Enny Romero|
|Best Changeup||Mike Montgomery|
|Best Control||Dylan Floro|
|Best Defensive Catcher||Justin O’Conner|
|Best Defensive Infielder||Hak-Ju Lee|
|Best Infield Arm||Tim Beckham|
|Best Defensive Outfielder||Kevin Kiermaier|
|Best Outfield Arm||Kevin Kiermaier|
|TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER|
|No||Player, Pos (Age)||Peak Level|
|1.||Wil Myers, of (23)||Majors|
|2.||Matt Moore, lhp (24)||Majors|
|3.||Chris Archer, rhp (25)||Majors|
|4.||Jake Odorizzi, rhp (24)||Majors|
|5.||Hak-Ju Lee, ss (23)||Triple-A|
|6.||Tyler Guerreri, rhp (21)||Low Class A|
|7.||Enny Romero, lhp (23)||Majors|
|8.||Alex Colome, rhp (25)||Majors|
|9.||Andrew Toles, of (21)||Low Class A|
|10.||Nick Ciuffo, c (19)||Rookie|
|11.||Ryan Brett, 2b (22)||Double-A|
|12.||Tim Beckham, ss/2b (24)||Majors|
|13.||Kevin Kiermaier, of (23)||Majors|
|14.||Ryne Stanek, rhp (22)||Did not play|
|15.||Justin O’Conner, c (22)||Low Class A|
|TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE|
|Year||Player, Pos.||2013 Org.|
|2004||B.J. Upton, ss||Braves|
|2005||Delmon Young, of||Rays|
|2006||Delmon Young, of||Rays|
|2007||Delmon Young, of||Rays|
|2008||Evan Longoria, 3b||Rays|
|2009||David Price, lhp||Rays|
|2010||Desmond Jennings, of||Rays|
|2011||Matt Moore, lhp||Rays|
|2012||Matt Moore, lhp||Rays|
|2013||Wil Myers, of/3b||Rays|
|TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE|
|Year||Player, Pos.||2013 Org.|
|2004||Jeff Niemann, rhp||Rays|
|2005||Wade Townsend, rhp||Out of baseball|
|2006||Evan Longoria, 3b||Rays|
|2007||David Price, lhp||Rays|
|2008||Tim Beckham, ss||Rays|
|2009||*LeVon Washington, of||Indians|
|2010||Josh Sale, of||Rays|
|2011||Taylor Guerrieri, rhp||Rays|
|2012||Richie Shaffer, 3b||Rays|
|2013||Nick Ciuffo, c||Rays|
|LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY|
|Matt White, 1996||$10,200,000|
|Rolando Arrojo, 1997||$7,000,000|
|Tim Beckham, 2008||$6,150,000|
|David Price, 2007||$5,600,000|
|B.J. Upton, 2002||$4,600,000|
|Rays Team Page|
|Last Year’s Rays Top 10 Prospects|
|2013 Draft: Rays|
|2013 Draft Report Cards: Tampa Bay Rays|
|Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects|
Tampa Bay entered the season having made one major move over the winter, but they made it count.
The Rays in December 2012 traded righthanders James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals for four prospects, including outfielder Wil Myers, the system’s No. 1 prospect entering 2013, and righthander Jake Odorizzi, the top dog this time around.
While that deal helped make the Royals more relevant, the Rays became one of the American League’s streakiest teams. With manager Joe Maddon operating his lineup like a mad scientist, the Rays remained in the playoff hunt and wound up advancing to the AL Division Series by taking a trio of must-win road games against three teams—the Blue Jays, Rangers and Indians—in four days to close the season.
The achievement helped clinch the Rays’ fourth trip to the postseason in six years, including five seasons with at least 90 wins.
The trade with Kansas City not only saved Tampa Bay nearly $14 million in payroll for 2013—keeping the Rays at $57.5 million, 28th in the majors—it also provided immediate impact. Myers emerged as the AL Rookie of the Year once he received the call in mid-June. The 22-year-old hit .293/.354/.478 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 88 games.
Odorizzi didn’t provide the same immediate payoff, but he did make impressive strides at Triple-A Durham and emerged as the organization’s top prospect. He went 9-6, 3.33 in 22 starts for the Bulls, finishing third in the International League in strikeouts (124) and WHIP (1.13).
The rotation received a long-term answer when righthander Chris Archer showed up in early June. He finished runner-up to Myers in the AL rookie race and has proven to be the key acquisition from the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs in 2011. Four other top 10 prospects received their first cups of coffee at the game’s top level, a list that includes lefthander Enny Romero and righty Alex Colome, shortstop Tim Beckham and outfielder Kevin Kiermaier.
The Rays’ ongoing shell game might continue this offseason, with most observers expecting 2012 Cy Young Award recipient David Price and his arbitration-aided, eight-figure salary in 2014 to be dealt. Moving Price would give Tampa Bay the opportunity to promote Odorizzi, Romero or Colome while getting a significant haul in return.
Andrew Friedman, the team’s executive vice president of baseball operations, has been able to keep the Rays competitive by trading veteran homegrown talent in exchange for prospects, who Maddon incorporates into his ever-changing lineup and pitching staff to compete with the biggest revenue-earning teams in the game.
The constant replenishing of talent from the minor leagues is the key to the Rays’ continued success. The greatest amount of talent is found on the mound, which helped Durham and low Class A Bowling Green lead the International and Midwest leagues, respectively, in ERA in 2013.
The Rays also are deep in position players up the middle—including such prospects as shortstops Hak-Ju Lee and Tim Beckham, center fielder Andrew Toles, catcher Nick Ciuffo and second baseman Ryan Brett—thanks in part to a plethora of extra draft picks garnered as free agent compensation earlier in the decade.
If there is a flaw to the Tampa Bay farm system, however, it centers on the lack of development shown by several high draft picks, particularly the unprecedented seven supplemental first-rounders from 2011.
The organization also has been hit hard with some character and makeup issues, including eight minor leaguers receiving 50-game suspensions over the past two years for recreational-drug and stimulant abuse.
Sale, the 17th overall pick in 2010, headlines that motley crew after missing all of 2013 due to a pair of suspensions, the second from the organization for his behavior and social media posts regarding a visit to a strip club.