This time is the best time of the year for Jay, Jim, me and the rest of the guys at Raysbaseball.com because we put together our Top 25 prospects lists and try a get an idea of what a Rays fans' idea of the Rays Top 25 Prospects are. To the readers here at DRays Bay, I'll give you a peek in the next week to what my picks outside of my Top 10 are... And if you guys are real good, I may even sneak the Top 10 in.
Here goes my "Bottom 5"
#25: Wade Townsend,RHP-
There's not alot of good things that can be said about Wade Townsend as a Ray...so far. The only positive that I can think of is that he was a quick signing. Other than that, he's worthless for us right now. In his 12 games(10 starts) with the Hudson Valley Renegades, he was Rick Ankiel-like(and that's at Rick's worst). He had a 7.55 K/9, but that was paired up with a 5.49 BB/9. It only gets worse, with his ERA being 5.49 and his WHIP being 1.72. Rays fans won't have to worry about him in 2006 and maybe some of 2007, due to Townsend undergoing Tommy John Surgery which ended his season at the beginning of the Arizona Fall League. The question that our Front Office needs to figure out in the year or so, is whether Wade comes back as a starter or a reliever.
#24: Shawn Riggans, C-
At first, I'm probably going to get questions about why I ranked Riggans so lowly...but I have my reasons. Riggans has nice "pop" for a catcher and is relatively young, but I don't really see him getting much of a chance with the Rays anytime soon. Unless the Rays admit their mistakes of the trade acquisitions of Kevin Cash and Josh Paul and then totally ignore that they signed Mike Rose, I don't see Riggans seeing the time of day unless he has a "breakout" season in 2006.
#23: Jeremy Hellickson, RHP-
One of the many "steals" we got in this past year's draft was Jeremy Hellickson. A little small by MLB standards in regards to pitchers, but he's got the stuff and makeup for people to ignore those stereotypes that he's a "high risk" pitcher. He would've gone higher, but due to signability issues and a late-starting HS season, not many people got a good look at him. The Rays did enough to woo Hellickson away from the Univ. of Iowa and sign him, but other than that...there's nothing to write about him. We've yet to see him pitch, so that's basically why I ranked him so low.
#22: Francisco Leandro, OF-
In 2004 and 2005, Leandro has put up nice numbers....but if you consider his age when he put up those numbers(24 in 2004, 25 in 2005), are those numbers that great? Is he putting up these stats because he's that good or because he's that much older than his competition? This year, he'll be 26 in Montgomery, we'll know by the end of the year if it was his age or his talent that got him there.
#21: Brandon Mann, LHP-
Very quiet Rays pitching prospect in regards to the others, he's a groundball pitcher(which goes against almost all Rays rules as a pitcher) and doesn't have High 90's fastballs. However, he does enough to get the job done and get it done right. Isn't being rushed and nor should he be. The Rays are going to have to decide either this year or next year, if they're going to keep him in the rotation or move him into the bullpen(where his groundball aptness has its best advantage). Great guy if you ever meet him, also.
#20: Chris Seddon, LHP
2006 is a make-or-break season by Chris, that's because the Rays have a horde of pitching prospects in High A and Double A if Chris continues to falter like he has the last couple years. He must show us what got him to AAA in the first place or else he's as good as gone.
More to come later...