DRaysBay Prospect Predictions Series: Best Tool In The Upper Minors

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, and Part 5.

Yesterday, the question revolved around the best tools in the lower minors. Today, the panel of experts will discuss the best tools in the upper minors.

After the jump is the list of the participants, today's question, and their answers.

The experts that decided to take part in the list are as follows: Jim Callis of Baseball America, Kevin Goldsteinof Baseball Prospectus, Frankie Piliere of Scout.com, David Rawnsley of Perfect Game, and John Sickels of Minor League Ball.

Which Rays' positional prospect in the upper minors has the best tool, and what is it? Which Rays' pitching prospect in the upper minors has the best tool, and what is it?


Jim Callis: If we're still considering Matt Moore a prospect because of his limited major league experience to this point, it's clearly him. Both his fastball and curveball are easy plus-plus pitches. Chris Archer can flash a fastball and slider that grade as highly, but he's no close to Moore's consistency. For the hitters, some scouts grade Hak-Ju Lee's speed as plus-plus. Other tools that stand out are the arms on Lee and Tim Beckham, and Lee's defensive ability at shortstop.


Kevin Goldstein: I think you'd have to go with Hak-Ju Lee's total package defensively there. Plus defender and plus arm. It's a very rare combination.


Frankie Piliere: I'll take Hak-Ju Lee on defense on this one. Always a treat to see him play the position.


David Rawnsley: Hak-Ju Lee’s defense at shortstop stands out, which his speed contributes to as a secondary tool. We get so used to talking about Latin American shortstop prospects that it’s nice to see someone from the other side of the world wear that "top shortstop prospect" mantel.

Ignoring Matt Moore completely on this question, Alex Torres’ ability to miss bats stands out for me. "Missing Bats" isn’t a customary tool category but maybe it should be. Of course, maybe if Torres tried to miss bats less frequently and throw more strikes he might be a better pitcher.

Chris Archer’s slider is a major weapon if he can throw it for strikes. That seems to be a common theme with Rays pitchers at all levels, throwing enough strikes.


John Sickels: I don't know if this can really be defined as a "tool" since several different physical attributes are included in this category, but I really love Hak-Ju Lee's glove. Is "quickness" a tool? What about situational awareness? Is instinct a tool? He's got all those things to go with plus range and a strong arm.

Matt Moore is way ahead of everyone else with both his fastball and curve, but you already knew that.
In general I think we talk too much about tools and not enough about skills. You can have all the tools in the universe but you have to have the skills to use them.


Once again, I'd like to thank the experts for participating. The series concludes tomorrow.

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