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Prospect List #3

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If you hadn't noticed the counter at the bottom (thanks Patrick) and the poll on the right (again thanks Patrick) have shot up rapidly the past two days, no we're not rigging our numbers, but rather Will Leitch at Deadspin and Larry Brown of AOL Fanhouse linked to our coverage of the Rays new uniforms and logo. As most of you remember I wrote the Deadspin Rays preview way back in February as well as interviewed Leitch, as for AOL Fanhouse you have to applaud AOL for being the first major sports media corporation to jump on the blog bandwagon and they've got a great gathering of bloggers.

I'd like to extend a hat tip to both of those gentlemen for the links and a welcome to those 3,000+ readers who have found our growing fan base in the past few days.

Moving on, we've came to slot number three on our prospect list, but here's the winner of the number two spot, a very familiar face and so far the NDRO is responsible for both picks, here's David Price:

Price entered his junior season as the best amateur player in the country and reinforced his reputation with a third dominant season. He has the complete portfolio of athleticism, stuff, makeup and a proven track record. He posted a 0.43 ERA with 151 strikeouts in 65 innings as a high school senior and would have been a high-round pick if it hadn't for signability questions. The Dodgers made a run at signing him after drafting him in the 19th round in 2004, but Price stuck to his Vanderbilt commitment and stepped into the rotation right away, earning Freshman All-America honors. Price attends Vanderbilt on a financial scholarship, rather than a baseball ride, and he is lauded for his positive, team-first attitude. He took two tours with USA Baseball's college national team, including a 5-1, 0.20 stint in 2006 when he led Team USA to a gold medal in the World University Games in Cuba and was named Summer Player of the Year. His fastball/slider/changeup repertoire is unmatched among amateurs. He pitches at 90-91 mph, but the late life, arm-side run and finish of his fastball make it a weapon. He can dial it up to 95, seemingly whenever he needs to. His slider touches 87 with hard, late, sharp bite, grading as a 70 pitch on the 20-80 scale. His changeup is deceptive, and a third plus pitch. He spots all three of his pitches to all four quadrants of the strike zone, adds and subtracts and carves up hitters with efficiency and ease. His arm action and delivery are excellent. Price was an honorable mention all-Tennessee selection in basketball in high school, an indication of his athletic ability, which helps him field his position well and repeat his delivery. He profiles, conservatively, as a No. 2 starter, while some scouts see him as a true No. 1. The Devil Rays are expected to make him the top pick.

Running List

  1. Evan Longoria
  2. David Price
  3. Tomorrow

Jake McGee

Position: LHSP

Age: 21.1

Projected 08 Level: AA/AAA

Stats:

Vero Beach (21 GS)- 116.2 IP 86 H 8 HR 145 SO 39 BB 2.93 ERA

Montgomery (5 GS)- 23.1 IP 19 H 2 HR 30 SO 13 BB 4.24 ERA

McGee out dueled fellow top lefty prospect Clay Kershaw not once but twice down the pivotal stretch and alongside fellow top arms Christopher Mason and Wade Davis lead Montgomery to it's second consecutive Southern League title. His fastball is ethereal and perhaps for the pure potential alone he could make a case for the first or second slot in the organizational food chain.

Wade Davis

Position: RHSP

Age:22.0

Projected 08 Level: AA/AAA

Stats:

Vero Beach (13 GS) - 78.1 IP 54 H 5 HR 88 K 21 BB 1.84 ERA

Montgomery (14 GS) - 80 IP 74 H 3 HR 81 K 30 BB 3.15 ERA

Another third of the Montgomery trio, Davis is more polished than McGee in terms of using his non-fastball pitches, although I'm not sure that any of his pitches can match the effectiveness of that McGee heater.

Reid Brignac

Position: SS

Age:21.8

Projected 08 Level: AAA

Stats:

Montgomery (527 AB) - .260/.328/.433/.761 17 HR 81 RBIs 55 BB 94 K

Although the Cajun God did struggle for most of the year, you wonder if perhaps some of it was Longoria withdrawal. Brignac maintains his hacky ways, but with a patient hitter like Longoria complementing his style you have to wonder if he grew too accustomed to the Batman / Robin approach.

Jeff Niemann

Position: RHSP

Age:24.7

Projected 08 Level: MLB

Stats:

Durham (25 GS) - 131 IP 144 H 13 HR 123 K 46 BB 3.98 ERA

"Big Red" had his most healthy season to date and finished strong down the stretch, giving hope that come April Niemann will be taking the mound for Tampa every fifth day.