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Mid-season top 31 prospect list

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With half the season in the books, I take a stab at an updated look at the organization

I have some lukewarm things to say about Tim Beckham
I have some lukewarm things to say about Tim Beckham
Christian Petersen

Michael shared his list a couple days ago, and today is my turn. I echo all his thoughts on the troubles of making a list mid-season. Looking back at the one I did last year says it all. Of course I'll go ahead and do it anyway because lists are a great way to generate discussion and compare players. A couple procedural notes: we both went up to 31 prospects because we both planned on including Ryne Stanek, and he hasn't signed yet. We also excluded Wil Myers, Chris Archer and Alex Torres since they're pretty certain to lose their prospect eligibility this year. For me, it's a shame in the case of Torres because he deserves a much higher ranking than the #29 I gave him pre-season.

I make my list the way Michael makes is. I first gather up a long list of possible players (although shorter than I do in the off-season when I'm more thorough.) I rank the pitchers and position players separately and then merge the lists together. This ends up with multiple pitchers or hitters clumping together sometimes, but I still think it's a good method.

1. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Class A Bowling Green, Age 20 Season (+3 from pre-season list)

Now with a 22 inning scoreless streak, it's obvious that Guerrieri deserved his place in the Futures Game. His strikeout rate is down from last year, but it seems like he's regaining some of the velocity he apparently lost in his first pro season. He's a certain top 50 prospect in baseball, and that's still pretty good for a currently depleted system.

2. Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Triple-A Durham / Rays, Age 23 Season (+3)

Odorizzi can be a bit home run prone with no plus pitch and his fastball occasionally flattening up, but he still has the arsenal to start and provide some quality innings at the back-end of the rotation. His relative safeness is why I have him over Colome.

3. Alex Colome, RHP, Triple-A Durham / Rays, Age 24 Season (+4)

Colome has improved his walk rate with Durham this year, but the concerns that could lead to him ending up as a reliever in the end are still there. His delivery is inconsistent with effort, and his changeup is questionable. It was nice to see him join the majors though.

4. Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Triple-A Durham, Age 22 Season (-1)

Coming into this, I thought there was no way that Lee would still be the team's number one position player prospect, but I don't know what other direction to go in. He was having a great year before his devastating knee injury, and we'll have to wait to see how he comes back from it.

5. Enny Romero, LHP, Double-A Montgomery, Age 22 Season (+3)

The strikeout rate (18.0%) is still a bit lower than you'd expect for someone with his kind of arm strength, but he's walking fewer batters and having better results. We'll get a second look at him in the Futures Game in less than two weeks.

6. Drew Vettleson, OF, Advanced Class-A Charlotte, Age 21 Season (+5)

Recently, the Baseball Prospectus prospect staff described Vettleson's first half production as unremarkable, and it's hard to disagree. His power has gone down again, and that's troubling for a corner outfielder. On the positive side, he is striking out less.

7. Ryne Stanek, RHP, Unsigned 2013 Draft Pick (N/A)

We have our first 2013 pick on the list, and it won't be long until the next. If the Rays can can work on his mechanics and command, he could be the organization's next great pitching prospect. He certainly has the stuff to do so, and now they have to get him signed.

8. Jesse Hahn, RHP, Advanced Class-A Charlotte, Age 23 Season (+10)

Despite skipping over Bowling Green, Hahn has continued to completely overwhelm the opposition in short bursts. Across the board, his stats are similar to the numbers he posted last year with Hudson Valley. As he starts working deeper into games, we'll see if he can keep it up as hitters get more and more looks against him.

9. Andrew Toles, OF, Class-A Bowling Green, Age 21 Season (+11)

Once again, Toles has slowed down after a hot start, but his speed and defense make him worthy in the top one-third of the organization. It's not really a surprise that the pop he showed in his pro debut last year isn't quite there again since he is more of a gap-to-gap guy than a power hitter.

10. Jake Hager, SS, Advanced Class-A Charlotte, Age 20 Season (-1)

Hager is another player having a down season compared to 2012, but he's still a player with a chance to stick at shortstop with an average bat. He's still hitting for decent contact, but he's not driving the ball as much and has been inefficient stealing bases.

11. Nick Ciuffo, C, GCL Rays, Age 18 Season (N/A)

Ciuffo was picked ahead of Stanek, but I still have them flipped in these rankings. I do think he's the best catching prospect in the organization despite not having debuted yet. He's a good all-around talent.

12. Tim Beckham, SS, Triple-A Durham, Age 23 Season (+9)

Without actually going through the archives, I think this is the highest I've ever had Beckham ranked. I'm still not too confident in him, but again, the system has thinned out a bit. His strikeout rate is way too high for the kind of player he is.

13. Felipe Rivero, LHP, Advanced Class-A Charlotte, Age 21 Season (+1)

Rivero's ranking is a great example of how these rankings aren't done in a vacuum. His performance is down, but he still moves up a spot. It is concerning that his walk rate has increased so much for a pitcher that has hardly walked anyone in his career though.

14. Mikie Mahtook, OF, Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, Age 23 Season (-1)

Mahtook is still a bit of a tweener, probably not having the athleticism to play center field and not having the power to play in a corner. His bat has been underwhelming enough that whether he can be a fringe starter is a question at this point.

15. Richie Shaffer, 3B, Advanced Class-A Charlotte, Age 22 Season (-9)

To me, Shaffer has easily been the biggest disappointment in the system this year. The Florida State League is a tough place to hit, but he simply hasn't shown anything at the plate. He's striking out quite a bit, not really walking and not showing enough power.

16. Ryan Brett, 2B, Advanced Class-A Charlotte, Age 21 Season (-1)

Brett has been swinging a hot bat since returning from his suspension, but let's see if he can keep it up. I'd like to see the walk rate come back up a bit, but it's good that his strikeout rate is back down to what it has been in the past. Whatever happened to that other big name that was suspended?

17. Jeff Ames, RHP, Class-A Bowling Green, Age 22 Season (+9)

Ames has been effective in his first go-around in full-season ball, but the dip in strikeout rate for an older pitcher is a bit concerning. I would still guess that he's a reliever in the end though with an above average fastball and slider combination.

18. Tyler Goeddel, 3B, Class-A Bowling Green, Age 20 Season (+1)

Goeddel's results in 2013 have essentially been the same as last year's but with a lower BABIP. He has cut down on his strikeouts which is good though. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't expecting more for a player repeating the league though.

19. Brandon Guyer, OF, Triple-A Durham, Age 27 Season (+3)

I feel kind of silly having a 27 year old on this list, but what are you going to do? He's still more of a platoon guy or fourth outfielder, but a spot hasn't opened up for him in the majors yet. He should be able to contribute a bit at some point.

20. Mike Montgomery, LHP, Triple-A Durham, Age 23 Season (+5)

Montgomery really hasn't been any better than he was last year with Kansas City, with the injury thrown in that took out a chunk of his season. Despite the underwhelming statistics so far, he has still been solid against lefties and could find a role at the next level getting them out.

21. Blake Snell, LHP, Class-A Bowling Green, Age 20 Season (-9)

I'm probably being a bit too hard on Snell since he's still a very young pitcher trying to work things out, but his walk rate has really ballooned this year to 15.9%. He's still striking guys out and showing stuff though, so it's not a totally pessimistic outlook.

22. Jose Mujica, RHP, GCL Rays, Age 17 Season (Not ranked)

In such short action, I don't believe the international prospects have separated themselves very much as you'll see very soon. Mujica was ranked the highest of the three last year despite not getting the biggest bonus, so I'm going on that.

23. Jose Castillo, LHP, GCL Rays, Age 17 Season (NR)

Castillo did get the biggest bonus which surprised some. Like Mujica, the Rays brought him to the United States for Gulf Coast League action right away which certainly reflects positively on him.

24. David Rodriguez, C, VSL Rays, Age 17 Season (NR)

Like Oscar Hernandez two years ago, Rodriguez is tearing up the Venezuelan Summer League thanks in part to a favorable home park to put it mildly. What separates him from Oscar right now to me is his superior pedigree with a larger signing bonus. Admittedly that can all become irrelevant quickly, but neither has played professionally for very long yet.

25. Cole Figueroa, IF, Triple-A Durham, Age 26 Season (NR)

Figueroa's not even a starting player in the majors, but with his solid defense across the diamond, nice plate approach and knack for putting the ball in play, I just think he has a role in the big leagues.

26. C.J. Riefenhauser, LHP, Double-A Montgomery / Triple-A Durham, Age 23 Season (NR)

Recently promoted, Riefenhauser has been one of the most impressive relievers, not starters, in the organization over the last few seasons. Before getting bumped up to Durham, he was striking out a comical 43.1% of left-handed opponents with Montgomery despite pedestrian stuff.

27. Todd Glaesmann, OF, Double-A Montgomery, Age 22 Season (-4)

Unfortunately, it seems like the all-around hitting ability Glaesmann showed in 2012 may have been a fluke. His underwhelming walk and strikeout numbers are largely unchanged though, but he's showing less power and has a steep decline in BABIP.

28. Oscar Hernandez, C, Class-A Short Season Hudson Valley, Age 19 Season (-4)

I can never seem to settle on where to put Oscar. Ask me tomorrow and I could have him back at 24. He held his own in Princeton last year, and he's off to a decent start in 2013 with Hudson Valley. At the very least, he's shown that he has some skill and that his 2011 VSL season wasn't a mirage.

29. Josh Sale, OF, Advanced Class-A Charlotte, Age 21 Season (-19)


30. Brandon Martin, SS, Class-A Bowling Green, Age 19 Season (-13)

Although I've apparently been supplanted as the biggest Martin supporter on the internet, I'm not going to give him. He's still athletic with legit shortstop defense and potential with the bat. He has to continue refining that plate approach.

31. Vince Belnome, 1B, Triple-A Durham, Age 25 Season (NR)

Eh, why not? His defense is a major question mark, but players who hit and hit and hit like he has in his career have to get a little recognition at some point.