2014 Tampa Bay Rays 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.

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
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
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
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
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
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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.

That list includes a trio of first-rounders from the 2008 (Beckham), 2010 (outfielder Josh Sale) and 2011 (righthander Taylor Guerrieri) drafts.

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.