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Player Reports

  1. 1. Shane Baz | RHP
    Shane Baz
    Born: Jun 17, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Tomball, Texas, 2017 (1st round).
    Signed By: Wayne Mathis (Pirates).
    Minors: 5-4 | 2.06 ERA | 113 SO | 13 BB | 79 IP

    Track Record: If the Pirates had traded Baz for Chris Archer as a one-for-one deal, the Rays would have reason to be pleased. The fact that Baz was the player to be named in a trade that also included Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows makes it one of the most lopsided deals of the 21st century. Baz, whom the Pirates initially drafted 12th overall in 2017, struggled to throw strikes early in his career, was prone to over-throwing and had a pronounced head whack. His delivery has calmed down, as much from improved core strength as any significant tweaks to his delivery. He’s allayed concerns that he would be too wild to start by developing into a consistent strike-thrower. After throwing strikes on 59% of his pitches in 2018, Baz upped that figure to 68% in 2021. His 8.7 strikeouts for every walk led all minor league pitchers with 70 or more innings. After pitching for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, Baz made his major league debut on Sept. 20. After three regular-season starts, he stepped right into the Rays’ playoff rotation.

    Scouting Report: As a Pirates prospect, Baz threw two-seam fastballs and curveballs, which didn’t really fit his skillset. Now he blows hitters away with four-seam fastballs and sliders. Baz had both those pitches in high school—he touched 98 at his best in high school and flashed a plus slider—but the Rays made a point of getting him to re-emphasize them. Baz has one of the best fastballs in baseball. He can touch 100 mph and carries 96-97 mph throughout his starts. The life and movement on his four-seam fastball is just as exceptional as its velocity. The vertical movement on his fastball ranked among the most of any MLB starting pitcher. The combination of velocity and life means he can consistently attack hitters in the strike zone, knowing that hitters have trouble squaring him up, especially in the upper third of the strike zone. Baz’s mid-80s, plus slider is a relatively tight pitch with lots of gyro spin. It has solid depth but not a lot of tilt. His low-80s fringe-average curveball can be effective, but he almost always throws it as an early-count surprise to steal a strike against hitters not expecting it. Baz’s high-80s changeup remains the most important item on his to-do list. It lacks the deception or movement profile to be a true weapon. If he keeps it away from lefties, it can produce foul balls and grounders, but if he misses his spot, it can be pounded. Its development may determine whether he works deeper than the fifth or sixth inning.

    The Future: The Rays consistently are slow to promote their prospects, but after Baz earned a spot in the club’s postseason rotation, he should be a key part of Tampa Bay’s rotation in 2022 and beyond. He has front-of-the-rotation potential and the highest upside of any Rays starting pitching prospect in years thanks to his rare combination of premium stuff and plus control.

  2. 2. Josh Lowe | OF
    Josh Lowe
    Born: Feb 2, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 205
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Marietta, Ga., 2016 (1st round).
    Signed By: Milt Hill.
    Minors: .291/.381/.535 | 22 HR | 26 SB | 402 AB

    Track Record: In 2016, the Rays snatched Josh Lowe in the first round before picking his brother Nate in the 13th round. hitting Nate, a first baseman, made it to the majors in 2019, but Josh should have a longer Rays career, because Nate was quickly traded to the Rangers. Josh made his own major league debut in 2021 after a breakout season in Triple-A, where he hit .291 with 22 home runs, 78 RBIs, 26 stolen bases and a .916 OPS to lead Durham to the Triple-A East championship.

    Scouting Report: The Rays and Lowe have benefitted from a patient development plan. Lowe was one of the most improved hitters in the Rays organization in 2021. He figured out how to shorten his swing and better use the whole field when he fell behind in counts without hindering his ability to drive the ball when he’s ahead of the pitcher. Lowe now does a better job of yanking the ball when pitchers try to bust him inside. He still trades some batting average for power, but he has managed to find a balance and now projects as a fringe-average hitter with plus power. Every other aspect of his game is plus or better. He plays a plus center field with long gliding strides. He also has a plus arm and has turned into a threat on the basepaths. His 26 steals came in 26 tries.

    The Future: Lowe’s step forward in 2021 should have him poised to play a role for the Rays in 2022. His opportunities will largely depend on how many of the club’s big league outfielders return, but his power, speed and defense give him the versatility to play any outfield position and also provide options for a team that always is making moves.

  3. 3. Vidal Brujan | 2B/OF
    Vidal Brujan
    Born: Feb 9, 1998
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'9" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2014.
    Signed By: Danny Santana.
    Minors: .262/.345/.440 | 12 HR | 44 SB | 389 AB

    Track Record: Brujan signed with the Rays for $15,000 in 2014 and ascended the minors as a switch-hitting second baseman, but the Rays shifted his focus toward becoming a utilityman in 2021 at Triple-A Durham. Bruján played 15 or more games at second base, shortstop and all three outfield spots in addition to playing six games at third base. His offensive numbers dipped with his attention on learning a host of new positions, but he still led all of Triple-A with 44 stolen bases and received his first major league callup in July.

    Scouting Report: Bruján’s athleticism and versatility are excellent assets, but they make it hard for him to settle in at any one spot. He has a quick first step, fluid actions and a plus, accurate arm. His hands are his weakest attribute, and he will bobble balls at times, but he turns the double play well in the middle infield and has the range to be an above-average center fielder. Offensively, Bruján made strides in hitting the ball harder in 2021—he raised his average exit velocity by 1 mph to 87 mph—but he’s unlikely to become a power hitter. He continues to have above-average contact skills and his ability to drive the ball for doubles makes him a more potent offensive weapon. A switch-hitter, Brujan is a better pure hitter from the left side and swings and misses more as a righthanded hitter.

    The Future: Bruján’s versatility allows him to step in at multiple positions. He’s most likely a Swiss Army knife whose versatility gets him regular at-bats while he plays a little bit of everywhere defensively.

  4. 4. Taj Bradley | RHP
    Taj Bradley
    Born: Mar 20, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Stone Mountain, Ga., 2018 (5th round).
    Signed By: Milt Hill.
    Minors: 12-3 | 1.83 ERA | 123 SO | 31 BB | 104 IP

    Track Record: Bradley mostly played the outfield in his youth and was relatively new to pitching when the Rays drafted him in the fifth round in 2018 and signed him for $747,500 to forgo a South Carolina commitment. His youth, physicality and athleticism made him one of the more intriguing pitchers in the class despite his inexperience, and that potential came to fruition in 2021. In his full-season debut, Bradley led the entire minors in ERA (1.83) and ranked in the top 10 in opponent’s batting average (.180) and WHIP (0.93) as he moved from Low-A to High-A.

    Scouting Report: Bradley keeps getting stronger while retaining the athleticism that was so enticing coming out of high school. His fastball now sits in the mid 90s and touches 96-97. In addition to adding 3-5 mph of velocity, Bradley has begun to master a slider that pairs better with his fastball than his curveball did. His slider now regularly flashes plus and he’s shown he can both throw it for strikes and get hitters to chase it out of the zone. Bradley’s changeup has further to go, but it will flash average at its best. He is an advanced strike-thrower with good tempo to his delivery and an easy arm action that yields above-average control. He’s starting to show the ability to self-diagnose when he loses his release point.

    The Future: Bradley appears to be the next in the long line of successful Rays homegrown pitchers. He should spend much of 2022 at Double-A and has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter.

  5. 5. Curtis Mead | 3B/1B
    Curtis Mead
    Born: Oct 26, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 171
    Signed By: Howard Norsetter/Roberto Aquino/Derrick Chung (Phillies).
    Minors: .321/.378/.533 | 15 HR | 11 SB | 411 AB

    Track Record: Growing up in Australia, Mead seemed destined to be an Australian rules football player. Mead’s father Tim had played in the Australian Baseball League, but he believed Curtis had a more promising football career ahead. The younger Mead decided to focus on baseball and quickly earned a spot on the Australian junior national team. He signed with the Phillies for $200,000 and was traded to the Rays for lefthander Cristopher Sanchez after the 2019 season. Mead made his full-season debut in 2021 and had one of the biggest breakout seasons of any prospect, batting .321/.378/.533 and leading the minors in doubles as he soared from Low-A to Triple-A.

    Scouting Report: Mead has the best combination of power, bat-to-ball skills and hitting ability in the Rays’ system. He manages to combine some of the best average exit velocities in the system (90 mph average) with the kind of contact-heavy approach (15.5% strikeout rate) the organization covets. His level swing produces more line drives than lofted home runs, but he regularly drills balls into the gaps. Mead still hasn’t found a full-time defensive home. He has fringe-average range at third base and playable hands, but his throwing action is long and unorthodox and he can’t rifle a throw without getting his feet set. He will most likely slide to first base as he moves up, but he’s athletic enough to be a plausible left fielder. He’s a below-average runner who likely will slow down further.

    The Future: Mead will only be 21 for the entirety of the 2022 season. He could be ready for Tampa Bay by 2023.

  6. 6. Greg Jones | SS
    Greg Jones
    Born: Mar 7, 1998
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 175
    Drafted/Signed: UNC Wilmington, 2019 (1st round).
    Signed By: Joe Hastings.
    Minors: .270/.366/.482 | 14 HR | 34 SB | 274 AB

    Track Record: Jones has shown flashes of being a power-speed threat since the Rays selected him 22nd overall in 2019, but he has been hampered by nagging injuries that have slowed his development. A shoulder injury affected his throwing in his draft year, a knee injury slowed him in 2020 and a quad injury kept him from going to the Arizona Fall League in 2021. He’s been productive when he’s been on the field, however, including batting .270/.366/.482 with 14 home runs, 40 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in only 74 games across High-A and Double-A in 2021.

    Scouting Report: Of all the Rays’ many minor league shortstops, Jones has the loudest tools. He’s a plus-plus runner and also has plus raw power thanks to some of the fastest bat speed in the Rays organization. While he has speed and power, he’s prone to chasing pitches and doesn’t work counts all that well, limiting him to a potential fringe-average hitter. His level swing isn’t necessarily geared for hitting home runs, but he hits the ball hard consistently enough to get to 15-20 per season. Jones’ plus arm plays well at shortstop and allows him to make highlight-reel plays other shortstops in the system can’t. While Jones often makes the standout play, he’ll sometimes botch the routine one, mostly because his hands need to get a little softer.

    The Future: Jones has the highest ceiling of any Rays shortstop prospect because of his speed and developing power. He always has a fallback option of developing into a rangy center fielder. He is ticketed to return to Double-A Montgomery in 2022.

  7. 7. Carson Williams | SS
    Carson Williams
    Born: Jun 25, 2003
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 180
    Signed By: Jaime Jones.
    Minors: .282/.404/.436 | 0 HR | 2 SB | 39 AB

    Track Record: Williams was seen as a promising pitcher who also played shortstop for much of his high school career, but he began to make people pay attention to his bat when he hit over .400 at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships in Jupiter, Fla. He then was one of the best performers in California all spring, batting hit .506 as a high school senior for Torrey Pines (Calif.) High against top-notch competition in San Diego County. The Rays drafted him 28th overall and signed him for $2,347,500 to forgo a California commitment. Williams had a solid Florida Complex League debut, albeit in limited at-bats because of the Rays’ crowded FCL roster.

    Scouting Report: Williams has developed into a well-rounded shortstop. There are some scouts skeptical about how adjustable his hands are in his swing, but he has a simple setup, load and swing and he’s shown an advanced understanding of how to work counts. He’s a hitter first, but he also has the strength and pop in his bat to hit 18-20 home runs down the road. He’s shown he is as comfortable driving the ball to the right-center power alley as he is yanking it down the line. Defensively, Williams has above-average hands, solid body control and a plus arm—his fastball sat 92-95 mph as a pitcher. He sometimes relies on his arm a little too much, and his footwork and first-step quickness will need to be a point of emphasis.

    The Future: The Rays have multiple shortstops ready to head to Low-A Charleston, led by Williams and Willy Vasquez. Williams has the steady heartbeat, solid internal clock and plus arm to stick at short long term, and his bat should handle a slide to third if needed.

  8. 8. Xavier Edwards | 2B
    Xavier Edwards
    Born: Aug 9, 1999
    Bats: B Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 175
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Coconut Creek, Fla., 2018 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Brian Cruz (Padres).
    Minors: .302/.377/.368 | 0 HR | 19 SB | 291 AB

    Track Record: The Rays acquired Edwards with Hunter Renfroe from the Padres in the 2019 trade that sent Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth to San Diego. Unless Edwards blossoms, it may end up as one of the rare trades the Rays would like to take back. The 38th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Edwards has hit over .300 at every step of his minor league career and owns a .320 career batting average. He officially has just one career home run, though, although he did add a wall-scraping grand slam for Montgomery in the Double-A South postseason.

    Scouting Report: A scrappy, undersized switch-hitter, Edwards is as comfortable with two strikes as most hitters are when they are ahead in the count because he knows he can connect with almost anything. But Edwards also scares no pitcher because he subsists on a diet of singles—just 17% of his career hits have gone for extra bases. He’s a potential plus-plus hitter, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever hit more than five home runs in a season. Edwards didn’t play a game at shortstop in 2021 and now projects as purely a second baseman. He’s an above-average defender there thanks to quick hands and feet. Once a top-of-the-scale runner, Edwards now more regularly turns in plus times. He wasn’t nearly the threat on the bases he’d been in the past, but an oblique injury may have played a role in that.

    The Future: Edwards’ exceptional contact ability, athleticism and speed gives him a role in the majors even if he doesn’t get stronger. The difference between him being a useful role player and a David Fletcher/Nick Madrigal-type regular will depend on him adding at least a little thump to his contact-oriented approach.

  9. 9. Cole Wilcox | RHP
    Cole Wilcox
    Born: Jul 14, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'5" Wt.: 232
    Drafted/Signed: Georgia, 2020 (3rd round).
    Signed By: Tyler Stubblefield. (Padres)
    Minors: 1-0 | 2.03 ERA | 52 SO | 5 BB | 45 IP

    Track Record: Wilcox spent two years in Georgia’s rotation and was considered a potential first-round pick in 2020, but he slid because of his bonus demands. The Padres drafted him 80th overall and gave him a $3.3 million bonus, a record for the third round and more than 11 first-rounders received that year. The Rays acquired Wilcox in the deal that sent Blake Snell to San Diego, and he was dominant for the first half of the season at Low-A Charleston before he suffered an elbow injury that he unsuccessfully tried to rehab for two months before having Tommy John surgery in September.

    Scouting Report: Wilcox is a big, powerful pitcher at 6-foot-5, 232 pounds. He pounds the strike zone with a plus, mid-90s fastball that has sink and run and has touched 98-99 mph at his best. Wilcox’s fastball sets up a plus, high-80s slider that he commands even better than his fastball. It is a power pitch with tilt and modest depth when he doesn’t get on the side of it. His 84-88 mph fringe-average changeup has some sink but isn’t as effective or consistent. Wilcox has always had some length in his arm action and he will fly open early in his delivery sporadically, leading to a lack of deception. He has long faced questions about his control, but he walked less than one batter per nine innings in his final college season and first year in pro ball combined.

    The Future: Wilcox will miss all of the 2022 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. If he makes a full recovery, he gives the Rays yet another very promising future starter with a fallback option of being a power reliever.

  10. 10. Willy Vasquez | SS
    Willy Vasquez
    Born: Sep 6, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 191
    Signed By: Remmy Hernandez/Daniel Santana.
    Minors: .288/.382/.411 | 2 HR | 14 SB | 146 AB

    Track Record: When Vasquez signed with the Rays in 2019, he was expected to be a third baseman in a Rays international class full of shortstops. Two years later, Vasquez is proving to be the most polished shortstop of that signing class. After an excellent pro debut in the Florida Complex League, he was promoted to Low-A Charleston for the playoffs and helped the RiverDogs win their league title by ripping a bases-clearing three-run triple in the deciding game.

    Scouting Report: Vasquez has the building blocks to be an above-average offensive player. He has above-average bat speed and has shown the ability already to drive a ball at 110-111 mph exit velocities at his best. He had nearly as many walks (20) as strikeouts (27) in the FCL in his pro debut and has a chance to be an above-average hitter with average power. Vasquez could outgrow shortstop, but he shows the body control, range and hands to stick there if he continues to make defensive development a focus. He’s gotten bigger and stronger without losing any agility and has the above-average arm strength to make all the throws. Vasquez shows a solid understanding of the game at a young age and has developed into a team leader.

    The Future: Vasquez has one of the best combinations of offensive and defensive potential among the Rays’ many shortstop prospects. He should open at Low-A in 2022.

  11. 11. Carlos Colmenarez | SS
    Carlos Colmenarez
    Born: Nov 15, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 175
    Signed By: Danny Santana.

    Track Record: Colmenarez was viewed as one of the best players in the 2020-2021 international class. Like the rest of his class, he had to wait until January to sign, meaning he signed as a 17-year-old. Colmenarez’s pro debut was somewhat derailed by a hand injury. He missed the first month of the Dominican Summer League season with a fractured hamate, and his power was somewhat lacking upon his return.

    Scouting Report: If everything comes together, Colmenarez could be the Rays’ most well-rounded shortstop prospect since Wander Franco. But he had a much more modest debut than Franco, as he struggled in the DSL while Franco jumped straight to the Appalachian League. Colmenarez is a potential plus defender at shortstop. He’s a fluid and somewhat flashy shortstop, capable of making the highlight play. His arm is plus and he has a quick release. Offensively, he has a smooth, controlled and compact swing with plenty of bat speed. While he didn’t show any power in his pro debut, he projects to have above-average power. He is an above-average runner.

    The Future: Colmenarez’s injury-plagued 2021 season doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the Rays’ best young prospects. He has to prove that his offensive potential will turn into production, but he has a shot to be a well-rounded shortstop who can hit and be a plus defender. He’ll come to the Florida Complex League in 2022.

  12. 12. Seth Johnson | RHP
    Seth Johnson
    Born: Sep 19, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 200
    Drafted/Signed: Campbell, 2019 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Joe Hastings.
    Minors: 6-6 | 2.88 ERA | 115 SO | 33 BB | 94 IP

    Track Record: The Rays have long demonstrated that they believe most young pitchers are best on a slow development path. That’s been quite apparent with Johnson. The shortstop turned righthander was sent to Low-A Charleston. He was erratic at first, but after posting a 4.62 ERA in his first 12 outings, Johnson posted a 0.84 ERA over his final 11 starts.

    Scouting Report: Johnson’s history as a shortstop is still apparent at times when it comes to pitch sequencing, but he’s made steady improvement. When he’s locked in, he has the look of an athletic mid-rotation starter. Johnson’s 84-87 mph power slider earns 70 grades at its best. It has tight, late break. Johnson also can attack hitters with a 94-98 mph four-seam plus fastball. It pairs well with his slider, but it lacks elite movement. Johnson does consistently throw it for strikes. He doesn’t command his secondaries as well as his fastball, but he has average control overall. His 71-75 mph curveball is a fringy get-over pitch, and his below-average changeup has a long way to go.

    The Future: Johnson is Rule 5 eligible if not added to the 40-man after the 2022 season. While he’ll start at High-A Bowling Green, ideally he needs to move quickly to speed up his development.

  13. 13. Sandy Gaston | RHP
    Sandy Gaston
    Born: Dec 16, 2001
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 200
    Signed By: Carlos Rodriguez/Danny Santana.
    Minors: 3-1 | 3.60 ERA | 70 SO | 35 BB | 50 IP

    Track Record: A $2.6 million signee out of Cuba in 2018, Gaston was one of the hardest-throwing 16-year-olds anyone had ever seen—he regularly touched 96-97 mph and brushed higher. But Gaston had very poor control, an extremely long arm action and an effortful delivery that finished with plenty of recoil. The Rays have helped him rework his delivery. He now throws with a much shorter arm action and significantly less effort.

    Scouting Report: Gaston has one of the best arms in an organization filled with big arms. He can touch 100 mph as a starter and will sit at 96-98 mph in his best outings. Gaston’s fastball has good movement to go with his velocity. What he struggles to do is to get everything synced up, as his extremely fast arm means he has trouble staying in sync with his delivery, which leads to well below-average control. He made strides with turning a slurvy breaking ball into two different pitches. He now throws a cutterish slider and a bigger, downer low-80s power curveball. The curve has a chance to be at least above-average, and his changeup flashes at average as well.

    The Future: Gaston still has a lot of work ahead of him. His control will have to improve by two grades for him to reach his impressive potential, but he’s already made significant strides and he’s shown his coachability and adaptability.

  14. 14. Ian Seymour | LHP
    Ian Seymour
    Born: Dec 13, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 190
    Drafted/Signed: Virginia Tech, 2020 (2nd round).
    Signed By: Landon Lassiter.
    Minors: 4-0 | 1.95 ERA | 87 SO | 19 BB | 56 IP

    Track Record: Seymour is one of the best pitchers in Virginia Tech history, which just happens to be the alma mater of Rays GM Erik Neander. Seymour likely would have become the Hokies’ all-time strikeout leader if not for the shortened 2020 season. The Rays picked him in the second round and saw him blossom in his pro debut in 2021.

    Scouting Report: Seymour is funky. He uses a relatively unique motion, as he begins by taking a simple step back with his right foot that feeds into his hip turn. It’s a very rotational delivery with plenty of crossfire and sometimes a head whack. The delivery helps him hide the ball, and his 90-94 mph plus fastball has exceptional carry through the top of the zone as well as a flat approach angle that generates swings and misses. His 79-83 mph plus changeup has solid velocity separation and plenty of deception and fade. Seymour’s fringe-average slider comes and goes too much. It needs to develop if he’s going to turn over a lineup twice. He also throws a slow, get-over curve. Despite his delivery, Seymour is a strike-thrower with above-average control.

    The Future: Seymour has the stuff to pitch in the majors. If he doesn’t develop his breaking ball, he’s likely a multi-inning reliever or a bulk-inning pitcher who can go through the lineup once. If he can find a more consistent slider or curve, he could be a back-end starter.

  15. 15. Colby White | RHP
    Colby White
    Born: Jul 4, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: Rickey Drexler.
    Minors: 4-3 | 1.44 ERA | 104 SO | 15 BB | 63 IP

    Track Record: While many relievers are converted starters, White has been a reliever since his first day of college baseball. He was the closer for Pearl River (Miss.) JC for two years and then a setup man for Mississippi State. In 2021, he started the season at Low-A, but blistered through four levels of the full-season minors, dominating at every step. His 104 strikeouts were seventh-most among MiLB relievers.

    Scouting Report: Expect White to be one of the next of the Rays’ many useful reliever discoveries. His fastball is a plus-plus pitch that should cause hitters problems no matter the level. White has plenty of velocity (94-98 mph) and his fastball has exceptional carry up in the zone. Adding to hitter’s issues is his short arm action and an ear-flipping release point that makes it hard for hitters to pick up the ball. He also throws an above-average mid-80s slider that has more depth than tilt. His changeup is a clear third pitch, but it helps ensure he’s reasonably effective against lefties. He also toyed with a splitter with forkball-like action late in the year. He has average control.

    The Future: White has less than 100 innings of pro experience, but it’s not outlandish to expect him to help the Rays in 2022. His fastball is MLB-ready and his slider isn’t far away. He has the potential to get late-inning, high-leverage outs.

  16. 16. Cooper Kinney | 2B/3B
    Cooper Kinney
    Born: Jan 27, 2003
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 200
    Signed By: Steven Ames.
    Minors: .286/.468/.371 | 0 HR | 2 SB | 35 AB

    Track Record: The Rays like to collect all types of middle infielders. In the past five drafts, they have selected eight middle infielders in the top three rounds. Some, like Taylor Walls and Alika Williams, have great gloves. Kinney fits more in the Brandon Lowe camp as a bat-first middle infielder who will have to figure out a defensive home, but should hit enough to make it worth the effort. The South Carolina signee impressed in his brief pro debut, showing an extremely advanced batting eye in the Florida Complex League.

    Scouting Report: Most young hitters have to learn how to take pitchers’ pitches that end up just off the plate. Kinney already spits on those tantalizing sliders and fastballs away, forcing pitchers to come into the zone or give him a walk. His bat control, fluid swing and developing plus power give him a shot to be a well-rounded hitter. Depending on whether he focuses on contact or power, he could be a plus hitter or have plus power. Defensively, Kinney will have to stay on top of his conditioning and work on his flexibility to remain playable at second or third base. He is already a below-average runner and has below-average range, although he fields what’s hit to him. He has an average, accurate arm.

    The Future: The bat is the most important tool a position player can have, and Kinney has plenty of offensive potential. He’s ready for Low-A Charleston.

  17. 17. JJ Goss | RHP
    JJ Goss
    Born: Dec 25, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'3" Wt.: 185
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Houston, 2019 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Pat Murphy.
    Minors: 1-0 | 6.10 ERA | 12 SO | 0 BB | 11 IP

    Track Record: An excellent senior season helped push Goss into consideration among the best prep pitchers in the 2019 draft class. Since then, he’s barely gotten to pitch. He did throw in the Florida Complex League in 2019, but he lost the 2020 season like most every minor leaguer. Then he was shut down with a shoulder impingement for most of the 2021 season. Goss is Jamey Jr., which is where his JJ nickname comes from.

    Scouting Report: Evaluating Goss, much like fellow prominent prep pick Nick Bitsko, is difficult because he’s barely pitched in two full years. Goss did return to the mound for a quartet of outings with the Rays’ Florida Complex League team. His stuff was largely back to his pre-injury form (91-95 mph) and he generally threw strikes, but there was also plenty of rust. His fastball didn’t show much movement in his brief return to the mound. He has shown feel for spinning a slurve. His changeup, like that of many high school pitchers, has the most development to come.

    The Future: Goss has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter, but he’s now a 21-year-old with less than 30 pro innings. He needs to get regular work in 2022, most likely at Low-A Charleston.

  18. 18. Nick Bitsko | RHP
    Nick Bitsko
    Born: Jun 16, 2002
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 225
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Doylestown, Pa., 2020 (1st round).
    Signed By: Zach Clark.

    Track Record: Bitsko was expected to be the top prep pitcher in the 2021 class, but he reclassified for the 2020 draft, only to see his final high school season wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. He didn’t get into a game in 2021 either as he was recovering from labrum surgery in Dec. 2020. He’ll enter 2022 looking to make his pro debut.

    Scouting Report: Competently evaluating Bitsko at this point is a fool’s errand. He hasn’t faced hitters in an actual game since 2019. He did get back on the mound for a couple of intrasquad outings late in 2021. In those, his velocity wasn’t fully back to normal, but he was throwing free and easy. Before his injury, Bitsko had a potentially plus 92-96 mph fastball and a high-spin, plus power curveball with depth. He hasn’t had much of a chance to work on his changeup yet because of his lost time on the mound.

    The Future: Getting a healthy Bitsko back to his pre-injury form is job one in 2022. But it’s just as important to get him some much-needed innings—he only threw 33 innings in his high school career, so he’s playing catchup.

  19. 19. Austin Shenton | 3B
    Austin Shenton
    Born: Jan 22, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'0" Wt.: 195
    Drafted/Signed: Florida International, 2019 (5th round).
    Signed By: Dan Rovetto.
    Minors: .295/.398/.549 | 14 HR | 1 SB | 315 AB

    Track Record: Shenton has always hit. He hit well over .300 as a freshman at Bellevue (Wash.) JC, in two years at Florida International and in the Cape Cod League. In pro ball, he’s hit .295 and .298 in his two seasons. The Rays picked him up along with righthander JT Chargois in a July trade that sent righthander Diego Castillo to Seattle.

    Scouting Report: Shenton’s path to the big leagues is based on his feel for the strike zone and his ability to drive the ball when he gets a pitch he likes. Shenton’s hands work well, giving him excellent barrel control and the ability to use the whole field. He’s also a pest to pitchers because he’s a master of the good take, which leads to excellent on-base percentages. He projects as a plus hitter with average power. Shenton is a below-average defender at third, thanks to poor footwork and some stiffness, but there is the hope that he could improve to be playable there. He does have an average arm. He also should be fine at first and runs just well enough (he’s a 40 runner) to make left and right field a sporadic option.

    The Future: It will take some creativity to figure out how to get Shenton MLB at-bats because of his defensive limitations, but he hits enough to be worth the effort.

  20. 20. Jonathan Aranda | 2B/1B
    Jonathan Aranda
    Born: May 23, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'10" Wt.: 173
    Signed By: Eddie Diaz.
    Minors: .330/.418/.543 | 14 HR | 5 SB | 348 AB

    Track Record: The Rays signed Aranda out of Mexico in 2015 and then patiently watched him develop as a hitter. He didn’t make it to full-season ball until his fourth pro season and hadn’t played above Class A until this season. He had a breakout season in 2021, leading the Double-A South in batting average, on-base and slugging percentage.

    Scouting Report: If hitting ability is the most important tool, Aranda has checked off the biggest box a prospect can check. Scouts are adamant that he can be a useful big league hitter. He works counts, understands what pitchers are trying to do and drives the ball with a short stroke and a modest timing step/leg lift. His .330 average was eighth-best in the minors. Aranda should be a plus hitter with average power. He made a clear attempt to hit the ball harder, and managed to do so without losing his ability to make contact. Aranda’s issue is finding a defensive home. Aranda is below-average defensively wherever he plays. He’s best at first base, where his lack of range is less noticeable. He has well below-average range at second or third. He also played left field in winter ball in Mexico.

    The Future: The Rays added Aranda to the 40-man roster, knowing he was a big risk to be picked in the Rule 5 draft. Aranda’s readiness for Tampa Bay depends on his defensive improvement.

  21. 21. Tommy Romero | RHP
    Tommy Romero
    Born: Jul 8, 1997
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 225
    Signed By: Dan Rovetto (Mariners).
    Minors: 8-2 | 2.61 ERA | 145 SO | 31 BB | 111 IP

    Track Record: He’s not a prominent name, but there have been few more consistently successful minor league pitchers than Romero over the past five years. The Rays acquired Romero in May 2018 in a trade that sent Alex Colome and Denard Span to the Mariners. He’s never posted an ERA above 3.00 in any MiLB season.

    Scouting Report: When Romero was drafted, he rarely topped 92-93 mph. Now he can get to 95 mph. Maybe more importantly, his plus fastball has excellent carry. His extreme trunk tilt in his delivery leads to a straight-over-the-top delivery but with a low release point that gives him the flat vertical approach angle that helps a fastball play well at the top of the strike zone. He also has shown he can throw his slider, change and curve for strikes in any count. His average low-90s slider is his best secondary offering, but the change and curve are fringe-average as well. He’s one of the best strike-throwers in the minors (68.8% strikes in 2021) with plus-plus control. Because he avoids the heart of the plate, he limits hard contact.

    The Future: Romero can be a bulk-innings reliever or a back-of-the-rotation starter. Added to the 40-man, he should spend most of 2022 at Triple-A Durham, but he’ll move up and down as needed.

  22. 22. Rene Pinto | C
    Rene Pinto
    Born: Nov 2, 1996
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 5'11" Wt.: 195
    Signed By: William Bergolla/Ronnie Blanco/Marlon Roche.
    Minors: .274/.325/.500 | 20 HR | 4 SB | 354 AB

    Track Record: Catching is a family tradition for Rene Pinto. His father Rene was a minor league catcher in the Yankees system from 1994-2000 and ranked as the team’s best defensive catcher in 1998. The younger Pinto signed in 2013 for $100,000, but he largely worked in obscurity until this season. He more than doubled his career high in home runs and threw out 37.5% of basestealers.

    Scouting Report: Pinto has been a solid defensive catcher for a few years. He calls a good game, has a plus-plus arm and has steadily improved his receiving to average. Pinto has opened up his stance and adopted a higher hand set. He doesn’t hit the ball exceptionally hard, but he hits the ball consistently hard, driving balls over the fence to both power alleys. He’s still an aggressive hitter, but with his newfound power, his offensive profile has improved. Now he looks like a .230-.240 hitter, but with the 20-home run power that can make that work as a catcher. Like most catchers, he is a station-to-station runner.

    The Future: The Rays had to add Pinto the 40-man roster both to protect him from the Rule 5 draft and to ensure he couldn’t leave as a minor league free agent. Pinto should eventually be a backup catcher with a shot to be a second-division regular.

  23. 23. Kameron Misner | OF
    Kameron Misner
    Born: Jan 8, 1998
    Bats: L Throws: L
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 219
    Drafted/Signed: Missouri, 2019 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: Joe Dunigan.
    Minors: .253/.355/.433 | 12 HR | 26 SB | 395 AB

    Track Record: Misner showed an enticing power-speed combination during his time at Missouri, though strikeout issues caught up to him during his draft year. What was to be his first full season was wiped out by the pandemic, so he spent 2021 between High-A Beloit and Double-A Pensacola. He was acquired by the Rays in a 40-man roster-clearing move that sent Joey Wendle to Miami.

    Scouting Report: Misner is a three-true-outcomes player. Of his 658 official plate appearances, 42.4% have ended in either a walk, a home run or a strikeout. The Marlins were working to adjust his swing in order to keep the barrel in the zone longer to add some hittability. They also wanted to correct an issue which saw Misner too often get stuck on the back side of his swing and spin off the ball rather than powering through contact. Misner is an athletic defender with the ability to stick in center field, though he dabbled in right and left field at both of his stops in 2021. He earns above-average grades for both his arm strength and speed on the bases, and has proved to be an extremely efficient basestealer.

    The Future: Misner continued to play to script in the Arizona Fall League, where his seven home runs were tied for the second most, and nearly 60% of his plate appearances were walks, strikeouts or home runs. He’s expected to head to Double-A Montgomery in 2022.

  24. 24. Calvin Faucher | RHP
    Calvin Faucher
    Born: Sep 22, 1995
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: John Leavitt (Twins).
    Minors: 1-1 | 4.53 ERA | 72 SO | 31 BB | 56 IP

    Track Record: No team is better at getting a useful throw-in on a trade than the Rays. When acquiring Nelson Cruz from the Twins for righthanders Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, the Rays also got Faucher added to the trade, even though the former $10,000 senior sign out of UC Irvine had a 7.09 ERA, a .320 opponents average against and a 2.05 WHIP for Double-A Wichita. As a Ray, Faucher dominated at Triple-A and was added to the 40-man roster after the season.

    Scouting Report: Faucher is an analytics darling thanks to his exceptionally high-spin (3,200 rpm) mid-80s plus curveball. It got better as the season wore on, with the kind of late bite that could make hitters look foolish. Faucher has to land his curveball or his harder, cutterish average slider, as his mid-90s average fastball isn’t a bat-misser. When Faucher got in trouble early in the season, hitters got into counts where they could hunt fastballs. Faucher has average control, but his breaking ball-heavy approach means he will have plenty of deep counts.

    The Future: Faucher should be ready to at least be an up-and-down reliever for the Rays in 2022, riding the Durham-to-Tampa Bay shuttle like Louis Head did in 2021. His curveball gives him a shot to pitch in high-leverage scenarios eventually, although he doesn’t project as a closer.

  25. 25. Osleivis Basabe | 2B/SS
    Osleivis Basabe
    Born: Sep 13, 2000
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 165
    Signed By: Carlos Plaza/Rafic Saab (Rangers).
    Minors: .282/.347/.388 | 3 HR | 18 SB | 294 AB

    Track Record: When the Rangers failed to sign Shohei Ohtani, they turned some of the bonus pool space they had acquired to pursue Ohtani to sign Basabe for $550,000. The Rangers then traded Basabe in the deal that sent Nate Lowe to Texas. Basabe’s younger brother Edgar is now a player in the Rangers’ system.

    Scouting Report: When Basabe couldn’t travel back to Venezuela for the first half of the pandemic he made the best of it by working on getting stronger. Basabe is a pretty pure hitter with a line drive-oriented swing that stays in the zone a long time. He’s a premium athlete with plus speed and a plus arm. His swing isn’t geared to power right now, but he has the strength to get to average power as he matures if he makes some tweaks. He bounced around the infield because he shared the diamond with Alika Williams, but he’s a capable, above-average shortstop and potentially plus at second or third. He was a plus center fielder as an amateur as well.

    The Future: The Rays will be trying to stuff nine to ten infielders into six to eight spots on the Class A teams. That may mean Basabe plays less shortstop and more around the infield at High-A Bowling Green.

  26. 26. Ford Proctor | C/SS
    Ford Proctor
    Born: Dec 4, 1996
    Bats: L Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 195
    Signed By: Pat Murphy.
    Minors: .244/.381/.419 | 12 HR | 4 SB | 308 AB

    Track Record: Proctor was Rice’s everyday shortstop from virtually his first day on campus, but few MLB teams viewed him as a regular at the position. Buried on the Rays’ shortstop depth chart, Proctor took up catching in 2020 and split time between catcher (58 games) and shortstop (28 games) in 2021. He has also played some at second and third base.

    Scouting Report: Proctor’s move to catcher has given him a much clearer path to a big league role. He’s not a polished catcher yet (his 16 passed balls were second most in the minors), but his receiving quickly improved to near-average later in the season and is continually improving. His throwing stroke is a little long behind the plate. He’s also a fringe-average defender at shortstop. He makes the plays on balls hit to him with soft hands, but he has modest range and a fringe-average arm. At the plate, Proctor doesn’t consistently drive the ball, but his excellent pitch recognition gives him survival skills despite below-average power. He seems most comfortable in deep counts.

    The Future: Proctor was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. If Proctor continues to develop defensively at catcher, he could end up as a solid MLB backup. If not, his ability to be a No. 3 catcher/middle infield utilityman would still have appeal.

  27. 27. Blake Hunt | C
    Blake Hunt
    Born: Nov 21, 1998
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'4" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: HS--Santa Ana, Calif., 2017 (2nd round supplemental).
    Signed By: Nick Long.
    Minors: .205/.288/.375 | 9 HR | 1 SB | 283 AB

    Track Record: Hunt seemed destined to head to Pepperdine until a standout senior season vaulted him into the third round. After a strong 2019 season, he was traded to the Rays along with Luis Patino, Cole Wilcox and Francisco Mejia in the Blake Snell trade in Dec. 2020.

    Scouting Report: Hunt tried to drive the ball more in 2021. He did do more damage when he made contact, but he made a lot less contact. His 32.5% strikeout rate helped sink his batting average, but he also had a career-high nine home runs. Hunt’s swing has some length and isn’t very adjustable. That and his modest bat speed makes him unlikely to be more than a below-average hitter with below-average power. Defensively, Hunt is an excellent receiver and framer despite his massive 6-foot-5 frame, and he is adept at blocking balls in the dirt. He allowed only two passed balls and a well below-average 29 wild pitches all season.

    The Future: The Rays left Hunt off the 40-man roster, the logic being that it would be hard for a team to carry Hunt’s bat on an MLB roster. Hunt has a great glove, but his bat needs to improve a lot.

  28. 28. Heriberto Hernandez | OF
    Heriberto Hernandez
    Born: Dec 16, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Dominican Republic, 2017.
    Signed By: Willy Espinal (Rangers).
    Minors: .252/.381/.453 | 12 HR | 7 SB | 254 AB

    Track Record: One of three players the Rays acquired from the Rangers for Nate Lowe last offseason (along with Osleivis Basabe and Alexander Ovalles), Hernandez was a low-cost $10,000 signing of the Rangers in 2017. He’s far exceeded those expectations since then. He was one of the best players in the Arizona Complex League in 2019. An oblique injury limited him to five games in the Arizona Fall League.

    Scouting Report: Hernandez hits the ball as hard as almost anyone in the system. He consistently tops 110 mph on his hardest-hit balls, although his power numbers haven’t fully reflected that plus-plus raw power yet. Hernandez also knows how to work counts and is happy to take a walk. He projects to hit .230-.(240, but with plenty of walks and 20+ home runs. The demands on his bat are going to be hefty, because he doesn’t do a whole lot else well. Once a catcher, Hernandez is now a well-below-average defender in the outfield corners. His above-average arm plays in right, but his well below-average speed will limit him.

    The Future: Hernandez has excellent bat speed and the chance to get on-base and hit for power. Like several other Rays prospects, his lack of a clear defensive home leads to plenty of questions.

  29. 29. Alika Williams | SS
    Alika Williams
    Born: Mar 12, 1999
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'2" Wt.: 180
    Drafted/Signed: Arizona State, 2020 (1st round supplemental).
    Signed By: David Hamlett.
    Minors: .267/.312/.375 | 5 HR | 6 SB | 307 AB

    Track Record: As a supplemental first-round pick, Williams was the second-highest drafted Arizona State shortstop of all time, trailing only Red Sox shortstop Deven Marrero (24th overall, 2012). Like Marrero, no one disputes Williams’ defensive skills, but there have long been concerns over whether he will hit enough to be a regular.

    Scouting Report: Williams has lived up to the lofty expectations for his plus glove. He’s a rangy shortstop who has a good understanding of when to make the highlight play and when to hold the ball. He moves well both to his left and right and has excellent body control. His above-average arm plays even better than that because of a quick release. He’s capable of making accurate throws without the need to set his feet. His bat remains the question. He makes plenty of contact (he had an excellent 9% swinging strike rate in 2021), but he’s an aggressive hitter who doesn’t walk and doesn’t drive the ball. He’s also an average runner who doesn’t swipe bases, so his offensive contribution is largely based on hitting for average. He’s a below-average hitter with 5-10 home run power, which means he’s best as a bottom-of-the-order bat.

    The Future: Williams is the best pure glove in the Rays’ system. He’s going to need to either become more patient or get stronger. Otherwise, he’s on the Kyle Holder career path.

  30. 30. Jayden Murray | RHP
    Jayden Murray
    Born: Apr 11, 1997
    Bats: R Throws: R
    Ht.: 6'1" Wt.: 190
    Signed By: David Hamlett.
    Minors: 8-3 | 2.16 ERA | 96 SO | 17 BB | 96 IP

    Track Record: A $3,000 senior sign out of Dixie State (Utah), Murray set school records for single-season strikeouts (93), strikeout rate (9.9 K/9) and wins (10) as a senior. Murray found High-A unchallenging and didn’t flinch at a second-half promotion to Double-A Montgomery. His 2.16 ERA was third best and his 0.71 WHIP was best in the minors among pitchers with 90+ innings.

    Scouting Report: Murray is one of the best pure strike-throwers in the Rays system. He fills the zone with his fastball, slider and changeup. Overall, he threw strikes on 67.5% of all his pitches, ranking in the top 10% of all MiLB pitchers with 90+ innings. Murray is not a soft-tossing command specialist, as his 93-96 mph above-average fastball touched 97 at his best. His sweepy low-80s above-average slider pairs well with it. He also shows confidence in his fringe-average, hard 86-89 mph changeup. Murray’s success is largely based on his plus-plus control. His ability to throw all three pitches for strikes in any count makes it hard for hitters to know what is coming.

    The Future: Murray has been a fast-mover so far thanks to his excellent control and command. He should reach Triple-A Durham in 2022. He’s a potential No. 4 starter if it all clicks.

View Players 11-30

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