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Rays Nuggets: Link Dump Edition

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A few pieces around the Internets (a series of tubes, if you will) today that I wanted to note.

First, over at our SB Nation sister site, Beyond the Boxscore, new head writer Jeff Sackmann kicks off the BtB preview series by doing a piece on the very team this blog covers, which would happen to be the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He writes of the "Rays in a Nutshell"...

Several savvy midseason trades last year made the Tampa farm system even more well-stocked than it already was. We'll see still more of the Rays' young talent hit the bigs this year along with Japanese import Akinori Iwamura. But despite the presence of such young stars and stars-in-embryo as Scott Kazmir, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and Delmon Young, this is still a team a long way away from competing. The more immediate goal is booting the Orioles out of 4th place, and perhaps knocking at the door of .500.

Sackmann does a good job in this piece of previewing the Devil Rays, albeit with some minor mistakes (like not including Jamie Shields among the players that are locked into rotation slots), however the piece is good nonetheless. I encourage you to head on over there and check it out.

Also, Bryan Smith of Baseball Analysts did his Top 75 Prospects List over at SI.com that is also well worth checking out. He did a perfectly reasonable job with the rankings, especially considering how debatable lists like this are open to be. Among his top 75 were six Devil Rays prospects, Delmon Young at No. 2, Reid Brignac at No. 17 and Evan Longoria at No. 22, Elijah Dukes at No. 39 and Jeff Niemann at No. 45, and Jake McGee at No. 54. He writes of Delmon...

I wanted Young to be my top prospect this season. He held that role a year ago and I have long predicted his future superstardom. My views on Young's future are unchanged heading into this season, but Young was downgraded to the No. 2 spot on this list because of one negative trait: patience. Young does not have great makeup (see: bat toss at umpire), but he would hardly be the first superstar to combine success with anger. What I can't overlook is Young's allergy to drawing walks, as he has just 20 since a mid-July promotion to AAA in 2005. Young must walk more in the majors to reach his full potential, but his power, hand-eye coordination, speed and throwing arm will make him an All-Star regardless.

While I personally believe that Elijah Dukes is ranked far too high on that list, it is still very good overall and I recommend checking it out.

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to Rays left-handed ace Scott Kazmir, who amazingly turned 23 today. It is still incredibly hard to believe that he is just 23 despite putting up two very excellent seasons. Hopefully Kazmir can continue his incremental steps toward success this season and most importantly, remain healthy. I am looking forward to a wonderful season from Kazmir. Here's hoping Kazmir enjoys a great 23rd birthday. Spring training is approaching, and I hope you worked dilligently, Scott K! Just 23 more days!

Update [2007-1-24 20:24 by Patrick L. Kennedy]: As Jacob observed in the comments, I was absent in my thinking when I forgot to mention that Wade Davis was also mentioned in Bryan Smith's Prospect Rankings as a honorable mention. Sorry Wade, no slight.

Update [2007-1-24 23:52 by Patrick L. Kennedy]: And in another Patrick Screwup®, I failed to notice that there was a *second* page of honorable mentions, and on that page contained yet another prospect of our farm system, Jeremy Hellickson. Sorry Hellfish, I wasn't on my 'A' game today. Congratulations and good luck next season!