After the top six, things are as wide open as ever.
7. Kevin Kiermaier, CF (55% runoff)
After the high-upside Andrew Toles checked in at number six, another top defensive center fielder followed him up. Kiermaier was perhaps the top breakout player in the organization in 2013, posting his best season at the plate since his pro debut in 2010.
Kiermaier's bat is a question mark, but we're long past the point of perfect prospects on this list. He has a nice approach and can run, so even if he's not making consistent, hard contact, he'll have value thanks to his defense. His placement is no surprise; Kiermaier has placed in the top 10 on both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America's top 10 lists.
8. Curt Casali, C (39%)
Kiermaier's competition was another big breakout guy in 2013. Casali was acquired at the end of spring training from Detroit for Rule 5 pick Kyle Lobstein, and it looks like the Rays may be on the winning end of that deal.
Unlike Kiermaier though, Casali did not appeared on either the BA or BP top 10. In that respect, he may be a bit of a surprise, but his placement makes sense. When BA's Prospect Handbook ships any day now, I can't imagine he would've missed the top 10 by that much.
In pretty decent sample sizes, Casali performed at the plate for both Charlotte and Motngomery, adding a bit of pop to his always solid plate approach. With good defense and leadership developed by catching top pitching staffs at Vanderbilt, he has a strong all-around game.
9. Ryan Brett, 2B (39%)
Brett couldn't crack the 40% barrier like Casali, but he was still a clear winner. Only two other players got more than a handful of votes: first rounder Nick Ciuffo and the departed Jesse Hahn. The position player vote didn't split though, and the run on batters continued.
This position is exactly where he sits on the BP list and one behind where he sits over at BA. It seems like a good spot for him. His hit tool and plate approach should give him a relatively high floor compared to other prospects (which has been debated extensively), even though he's limited to second base.
10. Jesse Hahn, RHP (63%)
Before being traded for a Tony Gwynn bobblehead, Hahn was fairly easily voted in as the 10th best prospect for the Rays. He was on BP's top 10 list, and Scout's Kiley McDaniel even has him in his top 100. Most of the discussion that day had nothing to do with Hahn at all though.
Talent-wise, Hahn was a slam dunk top 10 player in the organization, and I think it's safe to say the reason he wasn't voted in higher were his extensive injury concerns. Whether arm problems result in him pitching in relief or not at all, skepticism here was quite fair.
10. Nick Ciuffo, C (42%)
Despite not having extensive professional experience, Ciuffo earned the new #10 spot with his first round pedigree. Again, most of the discussion seemed to focus on now-Dodger infielder Chone Figgins. Would he have been a better option than Sean Rodriguez?
Placement of new draft picks on these lists could possibly be the biggest source of debate, especially if they weren't taken right at the top of the draft. There isn't a lot of information to work with, and most of it is probably pretty rosy. Meanwhile, there are a lot of factors to consider:
- What is this player's ceiling?
- Did the team get the pick 'right'? That is, do we trust their judgment that this player deserved to be drafted when they were?
- How did this player perform?
- Does that even matter? Was it a small sample size? Was the level of competition appropriate?
These questions aren't as tough to answer for a seasoned minor leaguer. There are more reports detailing the player's capabilities (and limitations for that matter). There's enough data that draft standing matters less and less and if it looks like a player can make the necessary adjustments to pro ball.
11. Ryne Stanek, RHP (64%)
Those questions are probably even more difficult to address with Stanek. Ciuffo was drafted right around where he should've been per the pundits' consensus throughout the spring, but Stanek was drafted later than he could've been if he was at his best with Arkansas.
That leads us to wonder if Stanek's talent supersedes Ciuffo's. Since Stanek has no professional experience and Ciuffo has very little, it comes down to if one thinks Stanek will come back from his injury just fine, and that he'll return to the level he used to pitch at.
12. Matt Andriese, RHP (32%)
In the first vote after the Alex Torres trade, the best prospect in the return immediately claimed a spot. Andriese eked out a win with the lowest percentage yet, prevailing in a very divided community. Five other players, Tim Beckham, Brandon Guyer, Oscar Hernandez, Riley Unroe and Richie Shaffer also received multiple votes.
Andriese's still a bit of an unknown quantity to Rays fans, but he does have over two years of minor league experience since being drafted in the third round in 2011. He has already reached Triple-A and has had success, throwing strikes and keeping the ball in the park despite pitching in some tough environments.
Voting is about to wrap up for spot #13. There are all sorts of different profiles left to vote for; there are higher upside players in the lower minors like Hernandez, lower upside players with a little more certainty like Guyer or C.J. Riefenhauser or former top picks that could still turn it around like Shaffer or Drew Vettleson.