I had been thinking about doing one of these for awhile and with BA releasing their list it finally got me to polish it off. I did little recaps on the top 10 and include my projections on where I believe each of the 40 prospects will open 2012. (or when they return from injury/suspension).
The top spot could go to any of the first three but I give the nod to Archer who has proven he can be successful at the top level. Archer has an electric fastball and has shown signs of improving his command. Archer will still be a very good Major League Starter if he doesn't improve but if he does he could be a front of the rotation guy.
2. Taylor Guerreri, RHP, Bowling Green
Guerreri may very well be at the top of this list next season and has the best stuff of any Rays minor leaguer, he is however young and 4+ years away from the majors so we need to proceed with caution. The Rays have a great history of developing young pitchers so the excitement is clearly there.
3. Hak Ju Lee, SS, Durham
Lee has the defensive ability to be the opening day SS for the Rays in 2013, his bat however is still a bit behind. Lee has some gap to gap power and great speed but there are concerns that even the little power he has won't translate to the majors. He is going to have to be a high BB and guy and work on his base stealing to be a successful offensive weapon.
4. Alex Colome, RHP, Durham
Colome just keeps sneaking along under the radar for the Rays. He made his last 3 starts in Durham last year and was ok, he struck out 15 but walked 9. Like Archer, Colome has the stuff to pitch in the majors and how much he can improve his command will determine just how successful he can be.
5. Richie Shaffer, 3B, Bowling Green
Last year's first round pick got off to a very good start in his professional career with short season Hudson Valley. Shaffer has good hands and bat speed and should be able to hit at the big league level, I worry a shift to 1B will diminish his prospect status at some point but for now he will stay at third.
6. Enny Romero, LHP, Montgomery
There is a theme with the Rays highest level Starting prospects and that is electric stuff with command issues and Romero is no different. The lefty was in the futures game this past season and should be next year as well and could move up this list with a big season.
7. Blake Snell, LHP, Bowling Green
Snell is probably the biggest jumper from last season after a very impressive debut in Princeton. I am a bit optimistic that the Rays will allow Snell to move up to full season ball but wouldn't be shocked if he is in Hudson Valley. Unlike the top guys Snell did not have problems throwing strikes and has a great frame and should develop into a nice 1-2 punch with Guerreri.
8. Drew Vettleson, OF, Charlotte
Vettleson is the top of the Bowling Green Breakout group. Despite an absolutely horrible final couple weeks he put up very good numbers combining speed, power, and average. He does have issues with strikeouts he needs to correct over the next couple years if he wants to be an everyday Major Leaguer.
9. Mikie Mahtook, OF, Montgomery
There is a big knock on Mahtook that he doesn't have any great tools, but he does have good tools all across the board. I think he should be able to stay in CF which helps and I am not too worried about his debut and the numbers. I think it says a lot that the Rays are moving him as fast as they are and what they think of his talents, he could be in the majors as soon as next September.
10. Tyler Goeddel, 3B, Charlotte.
This ranking will be higher than most if not everyone else with Goeddel, I love the tools across the board. I think he will develop more power than he showed in 2012 as his body fills out and has a shot and being a 15 HR/20 SB guy , He needs to draw some more walks but he reminds me of a young David Wright
11. Jake Hager, SS, Charlotte
12. Ryan Brett, 2B, Charlotte
13. Oscar Hernandez, C, Bowling Green
14. Parker Markel, RHP, Bowling Green
15. Derek Dietrich, SS, Montgomery
16. Josh Sale, OF, Charlotte
17. Jeff Ames, RHP, Bowling Green
18. Todd Glaesmann, OF, Charlotte
19. Yoel Araujo, OF, Princeton
20. Tim Beckham, INF, Durham
21. Jessie Hahn, RHP, Bowling Green
22. Ryan Carpenter, LHP, Bowling Green
23. Lenny Linsky, RHP, Charlotte
24. Felipe Rivero, LHP, Charlotte
25. Cole Figueroa, INF, Durham
26. C.J. Riefenhauser, LHP, Durham
27. Brandon Martin, SS, Bowling Green
28. Jason McEachern, RHP, Charlotte
29. Jeff Malm, 1B, Charlotte
30. John Alexander, 1B, Hudson Valley
31. Cameron Seitzer, 1B, Montgomery
32. Braulio Lara, LHP, Montgomery
33. Grayson Garvin, RHP, Charlotte
34. Johnny Eiermann OF, Princeton
35. Jacob Thompson, RHP, Montgomery
36. James Harris, OF, Princeton
37. Luke Bailey, C, Montgomery
38. Kes Carter, OF, Bowling Green
39. Jacob Faria, RHP, Hudson Valley
40. Ty Morrison, OF, Durham