2017 Tampa Bay Rays Top 10 Prospects Insider

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Talent Infusion: Draft Report Card

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SEASON IN A SENTENCE: The Rays were the one team never in contention in the AL East as they posted a losing record in every month—save a 2-0 October—and ultimately finished with the second-worst record in the American League.

HIGH POINT: In an otherwise lost season, franchise icon Evan Longoria homered on three straight days from Sept. 15-17 to set a new career-high in home runs. Longoria’s second blast gave him 34 longballs to surpass his previous best of 33 set in 2009, and he finished the year with 36.

LOW POINT: The Rays worked their way to just one game under .500 on June 15 at 31-32, but the bottom fell out dramatically. They went 4-25 over their next 29 games, including separate losing streaks of eight and 11 games, to virtually end their season by the all-star break. Rays pitchers had a 5.69 ERA during the miserable 29-game stretch while the offense hit .234 with a .288 OBP.

NOTABLE ROOKIES: Lefthander Blake Snell, the 2015 Minor League Player of the Year, made his MLB debut in April and came up for good in June. He went 6-8, 3.54, struck out 9.9 batters-per-nine innings and had the lowest ERA on the team among starters. Outfielder Mikie Mahtook, who looked good in a 105 at-bat cameo in 2015, hit just .195 with 68 strikeouts in a larger audition. Knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa made his debut in September at age 31 and had a 1.35 ERA in seven outings.

KEY TRANSACTIONS: The Rays resisted a full fire sale but traded lefty Matt Moore to the Giants in exchange for infielder Matt Duffy and two of San Francisco’s top prospects, infielder Lucius Fox and righthander Michael Santos. Outfielder Brandon Guyer was sent to the Indians for two minor leaguers and first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce was traded to the Orioles in exchange for minor league catcher Johan Heim. The Rays may have given up on underachieving players in outfielder Desmond Jennings, released on Aug. 27, and shortstop Tim Beckham, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft. He was sent down Aug. 31—in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak—after a pair of baserunning gaffes and wasn’t brought back to the majors, even after Triple-A Durham’s season ended.

DOWN ON THE FARMWilly Adames continued to stake his claim as the Rays’ shortstop of the future by showing power, speed, and defensive excellence at Double-A Montgomery. Adames, first baseman/outfielder Jake Bauers (.274, 14 HR), and righthanders Brent Honeywell (3-2, 2.28) and Chih-Wei Hu (7-8, 2.59) led the prospect-rich Biscuits to the Southern League playoffs. High Class A Bowling Green and Rookie-level Princeton reached the Midwest and Appalachian League playoffs respectively, while short-season Hudson Valley reached the New York-Penn League championship series.

OPENING DAY PAYROLL: $64,120,323 (29th)

— Kyle Glaser

Best Hitter for Average Jake Bauers
Best Power Hitter Casey Gillaspie
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Casey Gillaspie
Fastest Baserunner Jake Fraley
Best Athlete Josh Lowe
Best Fastball Ryne Stanek
Best Curveball Austin Franklin
Best Slider Jaime Schultz
Best Changeup Chih-Wei Hu
Best Control Austin Pruitt
Best Defensive Catcher Nick Ciuffo
Best Defensive Infielder Willy Adames
Best Infield Arm Richie Shaffer
Best Defensive Outfielder Jake Fraley
Best Outfield Arm Eleardo Cabrera
Catcher Nick Ciuffo
First Base Jake Bauers
Second Base Brad Miller
Third Base Evan Longoria
Shortstop Willy Adames
Left Field Justin Williams
Center Field Kevin Kiermaier
Right Field Josh Lowe
Designated Hitter Casey Gillaspie
No. 1 Starter Chris Archer
No. 2 Starter Blake Snell
No. 3 Starter Brent Honeywell
No. 4 Starter Jake Odorizzi
No. 5 Starter Chih-Wei Hu
Closer Jaime Schultz
Year Player, Pos. 2016 Org
2007 Delmon Young, of Did not play
2008 Evan Longoria, 3b Rays
2009 David Price, lhp Red Sox
2010 Desmond Jennings, of Rays
2011 Matt Moore, lhp Giants
2012 Matt Moore, lhp Giants
2013 Wil Myers, of/3b Padres
2014 Jake Odorizzi, rhp Rays
2015 Willy Adames, ss Rays
2016 Blake Snell, lhp Rays
Year Player, Pos. 2016 Org
2007 David Price, lhp Red Sox
2008 Tim Beckham, ss Rays
2009 *LeVon Washington, of American Association
2010 Josh Sale, of Did not play
2011 Taylor Guerrieri, rhp Rays
2012 Richie Shaffer, 3b Rays
2013 Nick Ciuffo, c Rays
2014 Casey Gillaspie, 1b Rays
2015 Garrett Whitley, of Rays
2016 Josh Lowe, 3b Rays
* Did not sign
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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