12 Rays Prospects To Watch Beyond The Top 30
The Rays Top 30 prospects rankings are up now for Baseball America subscribers, with full scouting reports, BA grades and tools grade projections for all 30 players.
Through the process of narrowing the list down to a Top 30, there are other intriguing names who didn't make the cut but are worth monitoring, with the potential to jump into the Top 30 in the future. Some of those are players who might be in the upper levels and could see big league time this year, though likely in a limited role, while others are lower-level players still in the complex leagues with more upside but plenty of risk.
Beyond the Top 30, these are 12 prospects to watch in Tampa Bay's farm system.
Austin Shenton, 3B. Shenton’s a fringy defender who will have to really hit to carve out a big league role, so his 2022 season can only be viewed as a significant setback. Hampered by a hip injury, Shenton never got going in 2022, as his OPS dropped nearly 200 points from his 2021 breakout season that saw him traded to the Rays for Diego Castillo. He spent the second half of the season on the injured list. Shenton has big lefthanded power, although it wasn’t nearly as apparent in 2022. He makes solid swing decisions, but he sacrifices contact ability for bat speed and exit velocity. His strikeout rate climbed while his power production dipped. At his best, Shenton can be a lefty power bat with solid on-base percentages and modest batting averages. He’s going to have to hit, as he’s a below-average defender at third. He can also handle first base adequately. He’s a below-average runner. The Rays left Shenton unprotected and he was not picked in the Rule 5 draft. He should get his first taste of Triple-A in 2023, but he’s going to need to stay healthy and drive the ball more consistently to factor into the Rays’ future plans.
Ian Seymour, LHP. In 2021, Seymour was a very funky, fascinating lefty with two above-average or better pitches who impressed at two Class A stops and even got a spot start in Triple-A. When the 2022 season began it was clear that something was wrong. His velocity was down several notches and he was hit hard while struggling to find the strike zone. He was eventually diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament that required Tommy John surgery in June. When healthy, Seymour has a plus 90-94 mph fastball whose life and flat plane makes it more effective than his velocity may indicate. In addition, hitters struggle to pick up the ball because of Seymour’s unusual delivery that hides the ball well. His 79-83 mph plus changeup is a true bat-misser as well. His below-average slider is not nearly as impressive. He’s still looking for a breaking ball, which is one of the reasons he projects to eventually slide to the bullpen. He has fringe-average control.
Evan Reifert, RHP. Reifert seemed utterly lost at the start of the 2022 season, as he had to be sent back to the Rays’ complex after displaying an inability to find the strike zone at all. By the end of the year, he was the Arizona Fall League’s best reliever.
JJ Goss, RHP. Goss made a successful return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him in 2021, but his stuff suffered and he survived more on guile and guts. There is hope another offseason will help him regain some of his pre-injury stuff.
Luke Raley, OF. Raley has sat on the edge of the 40-man roster for the last three seasons as a corner outfielder/first baseman with a low batting average but big juice in his bat. He hasn’t broken through as a full-time big leaguer and he’s 28, but he still intrigues with his on-base percentage and power potential.
Alika Williams, SS. Williams has long been one of the Rays' best defenders. He made some strides at the plate in 2022, but his modest impact makes him most likely a utility infielder.
Ryan Spikes, 2B. A hamstring injury interrupted Spikes’ 2022 season, but he showed an even-keeled approach. He chases a little too often, but he has the bat to make it to the majors.
Cooper Kinney, 2B/3B. Shoulder surgery sidelined Kinney for all of 2022. It puts him a little behind his contemporaries, but he was swinging a bat in instructs. He has a shot to be one of the best hitters of the Rays' many middle infielders.
Blake Hunt, C. Hunt’s very limited bat will probably keep him from a significant MLB role, but pitchers love throwing to him, which makes him a useful emergency catcher on call in Triple-A.
Trevor Martin, RHP. Martin was hit hard in college, but he's a reliever with a mid-90s fastball and an inconsistent slider. If his slider gets better, he has a future as a power reliever.
Ronny Simon, 2B. Left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, Simon is a twitchy second baseman who could be a power-speed middle infielder with a modest hit tool.
Dominic Keegan, C. Keegan has plenty of work to do behind the plate, but his bat is promising, especially if he can stay at catcher. Receiving and blocking have always been an issue for him.