On Minorleagueball, someone put people to the challenge of preparing a depth chart for future players for the teams. This was my attempt at preparing a depth chart for the Rays. This includes players who have at least three years of team control left after this one. I think this helps highlight precisely how weak our outfield looks, and how strong our pitching looks. Stu & Co. would do well to trade some of that pitching for some outfield help and/or help with the right side of the infield this offseason.
Also, this might be a good resource for those who don't want to check every team's stats to see who is standing out.
Also, feel free to argue with my placements and omissions in the comments. There are plenty of guys with upside who are doing well enough that I omitted, and a couple guys who are completely sucking who I included.
1. Dioner Navarro – MLB (24)
2. Shawn Riggans – MLB (28)
3. John Jaso – AAA (24) - .278/.408/.405 in 284 ABs in Montgomery with a 33/62 K/BB ratio (yes, almost twice as many walks as strikeouts), .370/.370/.500 in 46 ABs in Durham. Keeps hitting, but defense is still marginal for a major league catcher. Might be able to find a niche as someone who can back up at catcher, 1B and DH if he can keep his major league OPS in the .800 range.
4. Jake Jeffries – SS (20) - .293/.373/.436 in 140 ABs, 16/15 K/BB ratio. 3rd round pick this year.
5. Nevin Ashley – A+ (23) – .227/.328/.298 in A+. Not a good enough defender to advance that far if he can’t remember how to hit.
6. Michael McCormick – A- (21) – .216/.271/.348 in Columbus. Did well previous year after converting to catcher, but not so much this year. Still has great tools and projectability, and has cut his K rate pretty significantly.
1. Dan Johnson – AAA (almost 29) – .300/.414/.545 in AAA. Was claimed off waivers earlier in the year, is being stashed away and probably will be added to the roster in September so the team has him to DH for the next few years, if nobody else can be signed.
2. Rhyne Hughes – AA (24) – .272/.359/.458 in AA. Supposedly a solid defender, and was a top-20 prospect in the FSL last year, but I don’t see him hitting enough to make it to the show.
3. Chris Nowak – AA (25) - .309/.399/.514 in AA. Has always reminded me of Kevin Millar, and is taking a similar career path. Can also play 3B, but is a plus defender at 1B. Will need some luck to get to the majors, but I have little doubt that he could hit enough to play in the majors if he gets there.
4. Eligio Sonoqui – Rookie (20) - .291/.373/.397 in Rookie Ball. Finally having his first healthy season. Has shown big time batting cage power, has room to fill out.
1. Willy Aybar – MLB (25)
2. Elliott Johnson – AAA (24) - .260/.317/.428 in Durham. Made it to the majors, which is pretty good for a guy who was an undrafted free agent, but probably isn’t in the team’s long-term plans unless Aki gets injured.
3. Elias Otero – Rookie (20) - .350/.413/.579 in Princeton. Undrafted free agent from Puerto Rico Baseball Academy is catching some notice.
1. Jason Bartlett – MLB (28)– Between Brignac’s mediocre season and his defense, I think he’s passed Brignac on the long-term depth chart, although one of them will probably have to move either way.
2. Reid Brignac – AAA (22) - .246/.294/.410 in Durham
3. Tim Beckham – Rookie (18) - .208/.268/.257 in Princeton, 7 errors. It’s just rookie ball.
4. Ben Zobrist – AAA (26) - .366/.471/.577 in Durham, .230/.288/.486 in MLB this year in 74 ABs. Likely utilityman of the future. Keeps hitting well in the minors, not as well in his chances in the majors.
1. Evan Longoria - MLB (22)
2. Joel Guzman – AAA (23) - .245/.273/.437 in Durham – Still relatively young, but out of options next year combined with an inability to take a pitch means it’s unlikely he’s still on the roster by the beginning of next season. Poor man’s Tony Batista.
3. Burt Reynolds – Rookie (19) - .299/.353/.474 in Princeton. And yes, he’s Dominican.
1. Gabe Gross – MLB (28)
2. Justin Ruggiano – AAA (26) - .313/.371/.522 in Durham, .290/.333/.452 in MLB in 31 ABs.
3. Ryan Royster – A+ (22) - .258/.300/.361 in 350 ABs. Was HORRIBLE in the first half, after a monster season in low-A. Has picked it up significantly lately, with an .794 OPS since the all-star break. I wonder whether there was a distraction in his life in the first half, or if he wasn’t completely healthy.
4. Reid Fronk – A- (22) - .270/.377/.463 in Columbus. Average tools all the way around.
5. KD Kang – SS (20) - .268/.350/.452 in Hudson Valley. Shows plus power and patience, but the power hasn’t translated into games yet.
6. Jason Corder – SS (22) - .347/.379/.508 in 121 ABs. 7th round draft pick. Showed better power in college than former teammate Evan Longoria, FWIW.
1. BJ Upton – MLB (23)
2. Desmond Jennings – A+ (21) – .259/.360/.412 in limited action in Vero Beach – Has been injured in one way or another most of the year. When healthy, still looks like a future star.
3. Fernando Perez – AAA (25) - .281/.351/.380 in Durham
4. John Matulia – A+ (21) - .303/.361/.386 in Vero Beach. Speed might be too fringy for ML CF, and power is too fringy for corner OF, so we’ll see how far he gets.
5. DJ Jones – Rookie (18) - .220/.310/.320. Plus tools all the way around, hasn’t done much on field yet though.
6. Ty Morrison – Who knows. Signed, but hasn’t played yet. This year’s 4th rounder. Projectable HSer, Oregon state POY
1. James Shields – MLB (26)
2. Matt Garza – MLB (24) - Seems to be improving over the course of the season, and on some days looks flat out unhittable.
3. Wade Davis – AAA (22) – 2.25 ERA, 23/11 K/BB in 24 IP in Durham, 3.85 ERA, 81/42 K/BB in 103 IP in Montgomery. Performance took a step back in AA this year, but he’s been dealing in AAA so far. Still has major league stuff, still is a solid prospect.
4. Jeremy Hellickson – AA (21) – 4.37 ERA, 41/7 K/BB ratio in 45 IP in Montgomery, 2.00 ERA, 83/5 K/BB in 77 IP in Vero Beach. Seems to be starting to settle down in AA. Has the makings of three plus pitches, we’ll see how they develop. Already has plus control and command.
5. Edwin Jackson – MLB (24) – Seems to be putting it together, but can still be frustratingly inconsistent, and still doesn’t have a real out pitch. ERA+ of 101 this year.
6. Andy Sonnanstine – MLB (25) – Not bad when the 8th starter on your depth chart has an ERA+ of 92 in 133 IP. FIP is significantly better than his actual ERA, but I suspect some of that may have to do with his relatively low velocity.
7. Jeff Niemann – AAA (25) – 3.61 ERA, 91/38 K/BB in 99 IP. Looks great for three or four starts, then gets hammered. Barring a catastrophy, will be in the Rays bullpen next year, as he’s out of options and he has two plus pitches in his fastball and curve.
8. Nick Barnese – SS (19) – 2.79 ERA, 61/18 K/BB in 48 IP. Haven’t seen a scouting report for him this year, but last year was 89-92 with plus movement on his FB. Last year’s third rounder. The front office really likes this kid.
(Ryan Carpenter will fit here if he signs)
9. Heath Rollins – A+ (23) – 3.47 ERA, 111/26 K/BB in 130 IP. Gets a lot of comparisons to fellow Winthrop alum Kevin Slowey, but not quite as good of control. Three solid average pitches and decent control.
10. Alex Cobb – A- (20) – 3.34 ERA, 81/28 K/BB in 116 IP, 1.93 G/A, 1.08 WHIP. Good sinker, other pitches are catching up.
11. Mitch Talbot – AAA (24) – 4.11 ERA, 110/24 K/BB in 131 IP. Probably a fringe major leaguer. Has a couple options left, so he’ll probably be stashed in Durham for a while in case of injuries, etc.
12. Chris Mason – AAA (24) – 6.31 ERA, 81/35 K/BB in 97 IP. Horrible year in AAA after having a great season last year in AA. Has plenty of time to come around, but by the time he gets there, the major league bullpen might already be full.
13. Joseph Cruz – Rookie (20) – 3.55 ERA, 42/8 K/BB ratio in 38 IP in Princeton. Projectable.
14. Matt Walker – A+ (21) – Control fell apart last year, never came back, and then got busted for steroids. Still young and still has great stuff, but that’s a lot to overcome.
1. Scott Kazmir – MLB (24)
2. David Price – AA (22) – 2.08 ERA, 48/12 K/BB in 51 IP in Montgomery, 1.82 ERA, 37/7 K/BB ratio in 35 IP in Vero Beach. Should be in the majors before September 1.
3. Jake McGee – AA (21) – 3.94 ERA, 65/37 K/BB ratio in 78 IP in Montgomery. Out for the rest of the year with TJ, still more than young enough to make a full recovery. Stuff took a bit of a step back this year, and it’s unclear whether the elbow had been bothering him all year.
(Kyle Lobstein will fit here if he signs)
4. James Houser – AA (23) – 3.03 ERA, 69/34 K/BB ratio in 86 IP in Montgomery. Numbers against lefties are killer, so he has a shot at being a loogy someday, but for someone who used to throw gas, his velocity is just horrible, sitting in the mid-to-low 80’s these days. Then again, JP Howell makes it work. Also got suspended for PED use last year. Never put any weight onto his lanky frame.
5. Matt Moore – Rookie (19) – 2.59 ERA, 53/13 K/BB ratio, 23 HA in 35 IP. Low 90’s fastball, projectable, was a 2-sport star in HS.
6. Glenn Gibson – I’ll just say he’s had a horrible year this year. ERA around 7.5 in A- with as many walks as strikeouts, demoted back to short season.
1. Grant Balfour – MLB (30) – 1.44 ERA, 48/13 K/BB in 31 IP in the majors; 0.38 ERA, 39/10 K/BB ratio in 24 IP in AAA. OK, so he’s not really a prospect, but he’s under team control for a long time and is the obvious closer of the future at this point. Is back to where he was before he got hurt. Only has one pitch, but a 96 mph fastball with plus movement is evidently enough to strike out most major leaguers.
2. JP Howell – MLB (25). Who knew that five pitches would work better in relief than starting.
3. Jason Hammel – MLB (25). The only reason he’s on the depth chart ahead of Salas is because he’s in the majors and Salas isn’t. Still, he’s been solid lately, ERA down to 4.11.
4. Juan Salas – AAA (29) – 2.27 ERA, 48/10 K/BB ratio in 39 IP, 0.96 WHIP – Not sure what he needs to do to get back to the majors. Has a major league ERA+ of 126 and has always pitched well in the minors, since converting from shortstop. Hopefully should replace someone in the bullpen before September 1 rolls around. Despite his age, still is somewhat of a prospect because he converted to pitching so late.
5. Eduardo Morlan – AA (22) – 3.48 ERA, 25/11 K/BB ratio in 31 IP in Montgomery. Has had injury problems, and his velocity is down in the 88 – 91 range.
6. Ryan Reid – AA (23) – 3.25 ERA, 42/24 K/BB in 35 IP in Montgomery, 0.29 ERA, 45/3 K/BB in 31 IP in Vero Beach. Killed high-A, struggling a bit more with control in AA. We have yet to know whether he’s really legitimate or not. Reportedly has a good FB/CH combo, but neither pitch is really plus at this point. Will have a tough time making it to the majors in this system, but could get his name in the encyclopedia elsewhere.
7. Dale Thayer – AAA (27) – 1.70 ERA, 66/18 K/BB ratio in 58 IP. Sleeper to make it to the majors since he’s not on the 40-man roster, but reportedly is velocity is up in major league range these days, and all he does is get guys out on every level.
8. Matt Gorgen – SS (21) – 2.35 ERA, 23/4 K/BB in 15 IP. Was considered to be the better of the Gorgen twins coming out of HS, but the worse by the time they were done with college. Average velocity with some room to build around on secondary stuff.
9. Justin Garcia – A- (21) – 2.36 ERA, 64/19 K/BB ratio in 61 IP. Tops out around 90 and relies on control.
10. Neal Frontz – AA (24) – limited AA sample (6 IP), 1.38 ERA with 41/12 K/BB in 51 IP and 1.62 G/A in A+. Fringy stuff, probably tops out in AAA, but could be a groundball specialist someday.
11. Jae Kuk Ryu – AAA (25) – Not going to bother with the stats, as I’ll be shocked if he’s not pitching in Korea this time next year.
1. Sergio Pedroza – AA (24) - .261/.346/.364. Probably close to being done as a prospect.