Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible.
Hello Rays fans and esteemed others. Let's see what's on your remind regarding the team's top prospects...
@Jaypers413 (IL): Thanks as always for the
chat, Bill. Should we assume you put Guerrieri in the closer's spot on
the lineup card simply because there was no room for him on the SP list
of five? And does this mean you're very confident Archer won't be
converted into a reliever anytime soon?
I think that's a good assessment. Right
now it's really a toss-up as to what happens with several guys,
including Guerrieri and Archer. Guerrieri is young and has a good ways
to go, whereas Archer's command difficulties tend to come and go. Given
all the depth currently in the Rays' rotation at the upper levels, it
just shook out right now that Archer is a starter and Guerrieri could be
a closer. Either way, it's a good problem to have.
Ben (Leland Grove): Does Mikie Mahtook project as an everyday type of player, or is he more of a 4th OF? Was he considered for the top 10?
Mahtook was in and out of the top 10 and
at the very end he got nudged out. I think he can be an everyday
outfielder, especially in left field. He might be a platoon guy on a
really deep team, but I believe in the near future he will have a chance
to be a starting outfielder for the Rays, especially with the imminent
departure of free agent B.J. Upton, which will create an opening in the
Mike (Tampa, FL): Felipe Rivero was very
impressive at Bowling Green this season, even though the Rays limited
his innings. Was he close to your list, and what is his upside? Is he
ready for Charlotte?
Rivero did have a solid season, and he
probably is ready for the Florida State League. He was a strong
contender for the top 10, not unlike several other guys, but he wasn't
quite as close as Mahtook and a few others. Rivero needs to work on his
secondary offerings, but he works in the low 90s and touches 95 and
locates his fastball well. I feel he passed the Midwest League with
flying colors and will now face more experienced hitters in the FSL.
@Jaypers413 (IL): I realize it's difficult for
relievers to make your list, but I'd like to get your input on Nick
Sawyer and where he placed. He's been lights out thus far. How fast
could he ascend through the system?
Sawyer is guy I really like and he's
definitely a reliever to keep an eye on. He had a great start to his pro
career, and he's an example of the Rays' dedication to indepth
scouting. He has a relatively fresh arm after not pitching a ton in
junior college and his stuff is really electric. He also seems to have
the mindset to be a major contributor in the bullpen at higher levels.
Some relievers come out of the gate strong and then fizzle after
scouting reports are created, but I think Sawyer has a chance to be an
impact guy down the road.
Billy (Atlanta): Does Kes Carter project as a 5-tool player to you? Did he reach the 11-20 range?
Carter had a tough season on a variety of
fronts and was more of a consideration for the final 10 of the top 30.
He does have five-tool potential but he's also raw and needs to stay
healthy. Carter had fewer than 150 at-bats between Bowling Green and the
GCL this past season and struggled to find his rhythm in any phase of
the game. Look for him to return to Bowling Green to open the 2013
season and then make the jump to Charlotte at mid-year if his tools
shine the way they have the potential to.
Ben (Leland Grove): Before his suspension, Josh
Sale had looked a helluva lot more like the guy the Rays drafted. As he
was not on the top 30 last year, did he impress you enough to get back
Sale definitely improved upon a
disappointing first full year of pro ball, even with the suspension,
which hit four members of the Bowling Green team. As a result, Sale was
back in the top 30, although he really wasn't a strong consideration for
the first 10. He has the potential with the bat to make an impact at
higher levels but needs to refine his mental approach to the game. He
did that for the most part in 2012 but some more adjustments in that
phase of the game would really benefit him at higher levels.
Morrie (NJ): Which RP impresses you more between Nick Sawyer and Lenny Linsky?
Linsky had a solid showing at Charlotte
and limited opposing hitters to a .220 batting average, which led to a
stint in the Arizona Fall League. He has good stuff overall, but he's
not electric the way Sawyer is. Linsky has more polish of the two, but
long term Sawyer probably has the edge in overall stuff and potential.
Brent (Durham, NC): I saw Jeff Ames pitch a
couple of times this year and came away thoroughly impressed. Did scouts
have a similiar reaction? Was he on your list of 30?
Ames was impressive this year in the New
York-Penn League and in many ways dominated the circuit. Scouts, of
course, liked him as well, and he was a strong candidate for the top 10
before falling just shy of that part of the list. He has the potential
to be a four-pitch pitcher but his changeup and sinking fastball need
more consistency. Scouts are also a little concerned about the lack of
movement when his four-seam fastball touches the mid-90s. Granted, he
has yet to participate in a full-season league, so he has a lot going
for him at such an early point in his career.
Frank (Chicago): Between this year's list and last year's, which one would you choose in terms of potential?
I like this one much better than last
year's. There are several guys from last year's list that did not make
the top 30 this fall yet continue to have potential to be an impact
player at higher levels. The Rays had a good draft in June and seem to
be getting some guys moving in the right direction from both the 2010
and 2011 processes.
Ryan (Dover, DE): How many of the top 10 are worthy of placing on BA's top 100?
I don't contribute to the top 100 but I believe Archer, Guerrieri and Lee are solid guys for that list.
Grant (NYC): What did evaluators have to say about Todd Glaesmann? What else does he offer besides raw power?
Glaesmann is a better outfielder than he's
given credit for by many observers. He has a good arm and takes good
angles on balls in the gap. He runs well for his size. I believe that
overall he's an underrated player who has a chance to make an even
greater jump in 2013.
Harry (Lakeland FL): Just how close was it between Archer and Guerrieri for the top spot? Who has the ceiling ceiling?
That's a good question. It was very close,
and you can throw Lee into the mix as well. Given his age and success
against higher-level competition, Archer is definitely the safer of the
two pitchers, but I really like what Guerrieri brings to the diamond. I
believe he got a bum rap surrounding the 2011 draft regarding his
maturity and/or makeup and he showed this past summer that he has an
great future provided he remains healthy and focused.
Ben (Leland Grove): Is Jesse Hahn slated to become a reliever in the future? How do his secondary pitches look?
Hahn was perhaps the most pleasant
surprise of the Rays' 2012 minor league campaign. He returned after
missing two years due to Tommy John surgery and impressed in numerous
ways. Hahn showed an advanced feel for pitching along with a plus
four-seam fastball that sat in the 94-96 mph range and touched 99. His
secondary pitches also have promise, including an overhand curveball
with a sharp drop and a changeup that flashes good depth. He also has a
hard slider that he threw as an amateur and started to use it again as
the summer progressed even though the pitch lacked its previous sharp
break. Hahn has the potential repertoire to remain a starter, but I
could also see him moving to the bullpen due to his overpowering stuff
and feel for getting guys out. The 2013 season should be an interesting
one for Hahn.
Brad (Tampa): How do scouts feel about Tyler
Goeddel and Jake Hager? Both were the only two high school guys from
their draft class to start in Low A, but neither are on this list.
Which is the better prospect and what are their ceilings? Thank you.
Both guys received strong consideration
for the top 10 and both finished squarely in the second 10. Goeddel and
Hager are very close on the list and are also on about the same plane in
terms of their development as prospects. Goeddel has a lean frame and
is a good athlete who runs the bases with above-average speed and
instincts. He also has a strong arm and good hands, with the Rays
believing he could play any one of several positions should a need
arise. Hager is a low maintenance guy with a determined work ethic that
should allow him to succeed at higher levels. He's a little more
advanced than Goeddel at the plate because he uses his hands very well
and does a good job of employing the entire field. He has excellent
pitch recognition and does a good job of waiting on the ball and going
with where the ball is pitched. I believe both players could become
solid contributors in the big leagues, especially one managed by Joe
Jake (Dallas): What is your opinion of Granden Goetzman as a prospect at this point?
Goetzman is a guy the Rays still really
like but are a little frustrated with his inability to remain healthy
enough to stay on the field. He played well in his 47 at-bats at
Princeton, displaying the ability to drive the ball to the gaps with the
bat and capable of running down balls in the middle garden. Right now
he's a question mark due to his lack of activity. I think everyone would
like to see what he brings to the prospect buffet that is the Rays'
farm system by playing an entire season in 2013, hopefully in Bowling
Frank (Chicago): Is Brandon Martin likely to be a SS in the future? How do his defensive and offensive skills compare to Hak-Ju Lee's?
Martin does have the ability to remain at
shortstop at higher levels. His offense was inconsistent at Princeton,
with Martin plagued with too many strikeouts for a guy with good speed.
He possesses more power at the plate than Lee and does not have as much
speed, but his quick-twitch reactions should allow him to stick at short
for the long haul. Martin has some things to work on, particularly in
his approach with the bat, but I believe he could be a big mover on this
list over the next 12 months.
Ben (Leland Grove): Jeff Malm - prospect or suspect at this point?
My opinion is that he's more of a suspect.
He's kind of a one-trick pony, which is not earth-shattering news,
dating all the way back to his high school days. He's a little bit
better of an athlete than some scouts give him credit for being, but his
inability to dominate as a power guy leaves me believing he has too
many holes in his swing to develop into an impact player in the big
Ike (Tampa Bay): Did Luke Bailey's stock drop him from the top 30 this year? Thoughts on his progress?
I think Bailey's status remained about the
same, and with more players in the system displaying above-average
potential, Bailey was bypassed by several of them. That really doesn't
take much away from Bailey, who does a decent job behind the plate and
has power potential with the bat. Still, he needs to make significant
strides in all areas of the game in order to become a true big league
prospect. I believe there's still time for him to do that, but more
progress needs to be seen.
Ty (Baltimore): Who is likely to be the heir
apparant once Upton leaves? Could Tim Beckham conceivably hold his own
in the OF, similiar how Upton did?
Right now that's the $64,000 question in
Tampa, at least as far as Upton is concerned. Even though speed is not a
major part of Beckham's game, I believe he has the athleticism to be a
good outfielder, although asking him to man the middle garden in the big
leagues would be a tall order. I feel he's more of a corner guy for the
outfield, and in my mind he's definitely more of a second baseman than a
shortstop. He received some action at the keystone sack for the first
time during the latter half of the 2012 campaign at Durham, which when
combined with his modest adjustments made at the plate make Beckham a
questionable contributor at the major league level for at least the
first half of the 2013 season.
Morrie (NJ): Did Andrew Toles get any comps from scouts this past season?
Toles definitely received a fair share of
love from the scouts and could make a big jump along this list in the
next year or two. A high-energy player, he is a plus-plus runner who was
considered to be one of the fastest players in the 2012 draft. He runs
the bases very well and covers a wide berth in the middle garden. His
arm strength is above average, and he makes accurate throws with the
ability to hit the cut-off man consistently. Toles' greatest need
centers on adapting his strengths to the game, such as learning to bunt
for base hits after having none in 2011. The Rays liked the work ethic
Toles showed after joining the organization and believe he has impact
skills to make a relatively quick climb through the farm system. He
should be ready for Bowling Green to open the 2013 season.
Eric (Tallahassee, FL): Your thoughts on Tyler Goeddel's season? Are you still bullish on his skills at the hot corner?
Goeddel has soft and consistent hands and a
strong arm. I believe I mentioned earlier in the chat that the Rays
believe he could play any number of positions well at higher levels, but
he will remain at third base for the time being. If Goeddel continues
to make adjustments and have success above Bowling Green, the Rays might
consider moving him due to the presence of some fellow named Longoria.
But for the time being, he's at the hot corner and should continue to
make strides in his development.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Is Justin O'Conner's plate
discipline likely to remain a problem in the foreseeable future? How did
he look to evaluators as a catcher this year?
O'Conner has solid catch-and-throw skills
but needs to become effective with the bat, especially with his plate
discipline, as you mentioned. Much like fellow receiver Luke Bailey,
O'Conner hasn't made tremendous strides with his development and needs
to show more progress in order to remain one of the organization's
Sammy (Washington DC): Who would you say is the system's biggest sleeper going into next year?
I've hinted at this in a few answers, but
Nick Sawyer has a lot of potential, as does Todd Glaesmann, Brandon
Martin and Andrew Toles. Toles and Martin have a chance to really break
out if they make the proper strides in their respective games.
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): Do you see the Rays moving Shaffer to 1B next year? Might as well start his work there and not delay the inevitable any longer,
don't you agree? He's not going to be playing 3B with Longoria
around. Thanks for the chat.
No problem regarding the chat, Michael. If
Shaffer is as far along with the bat as some people in the organization
believe he is, then you would think the move to first would be a
no-brainer, and the sooner the better. I believe the organization's
typically conservative ways doesn't want to put that type of pressure on
Shaffer just yet in hopes that he can continue to build a solid
foundation at the plate without having to worry about the nuances of
changing positions. Right field is also a potential home for Shaffer,
but I feel that being as tall as he is that first base is where he
belongs. Don't be surprised if the move to first isn't made by the
middle of the 2013 season.
Trent (Detroit): Do you see Spencer Edwards hitting enough to be a big league starter at SS?
Edwards is obviously a long way from
reaching the big leagues after being drafted this past June. The 2013
season will be a big one for him regarding his future position. Edwards
struggled with the leather during his first taste of pro ball while also
appearing overwhelmed at the plate. The Rays want him to relax and play
his game in order to determine where he fits best. But if I had to
predict, I see him moving to either second or third base.
Al (NYC): Given the Rays' lack of stability at
the SS position in recent years, how likely would it be that Lee breaks
camp as their SS to begin the season?
It's a possibility if Lee shows the
ability to make consistent contact during spring training. I feel he
took a little bit of a step back in all areas of the game in 2012 while
playing in the Southern League, so making the jump to the big leagues
might be a little unrealistic at this point. But you make a good point
that short has not been a steady position for the Rays and it would
appear that the job is wide open heading into 2013.
Cy (Western Mass): Hi Bill,
Enny Romero continues to add pieces to his puzzle. Is he on the verge of putting it all together? Thanks.
I believe Romero is on the verge of
putting it all together. He has the God-given ability to be an impact
pitcher at the major league level and he was dominating at times in the
Florida State League. Control is the biggest issue with him at this
point, but I believe he's made some big strides of late and could become
an impact guy, especially in the bullpen, with Tampa in the next two or
Brett (The ILL): What are thoughts on Ryan Brett and where will he rank? Has his suspension changed opinion much?
Time for just a few more... Finally, a
Ryan Brett question! He's definitely one of the guys on Santa's naughty
list but the Rays realize young players make stupid mistakes and are
willing to forget and forgive if the player shows he's learned from the
miscue. Brett has a blue-collar approach at the top of the lineup,
above-average speed, makes consistent contact and can drive the ball in
the gaps with his short, compact swing and solid knowledge of the strike
zone. I like Brett a lot and believe he's ready to make an impact in
the Florida State League in 2013.
Andrew (Minneapolis): What's the buzz on Parker Markel? Seems like an interesting arm progressing nicely in the lower minors for the Rays.
You're correct, Andrew, he is making solid
progress and is one of the top right-handed arms in the organization.
Markel has raw arm strength that resides in the mid-90s and he is
learning how to use it. Maintaining a consistent release point with his
low three-quarters delivery has been Markel's biggest problem. His power
arm is likely better suited for the bullpen at the major league level,
but he will remain a starter for the time being in hopes of gaining more
consistency with all of his pitches while honing his mechanics.
Jack (Toronto): The Rays used to have a farm
system power-house, but most of that has graduated. Right now where
would you rank the Rays prospects compared to the rest of the league?
The Rays have more depth than top
prospects, especially after you get past the top three guys. The Rays
are hoping that quality will emerge from quantity, and based on the 2012
season, that approach appears to be headed in the right direction. Time
will tell, of course, but it seems to me that many of the players will
fit nicely at the major league level, based on the way Joe Maddon loves
to mix and match his lineups on a daily basis.
Jim (Atlanta): Any chance that Derek Dietrich can get the 2B gig over Beckham?
I believe that is possible, Jim. Dietrich
has the ability to be a Jeff Kent type of player in my opinion. He has
excellent power and solid hands after manning third base early in his
career. The Rays really want to see Beckham succeed, but Dietrich may
prove to be the safer bet.
Sorry I couldn't get to all of the questions, but I really appreciate
everyone taking the time to participate. More top prospects chats to
follow this week, so keep the stove burning hot! Thanks again!