As the spoils for trading starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, the Rays are receiving two prospects. Who are they?
Scouting grades (mlb.com) - Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
In 2014, shortstop Andrew Velazquez had an incredible 74 game on-base streak in the Midwest League, which may or may not be a record. As MLBTR noted, that's better than the celebrated run of Mookie Betts last season, which capped at 66.
He's a switch hitter that can hit to all fields and actually has a bit of pop for a 5'8", 175 pound guy. He's a good base stealer, and he has the arm and ability to stick at shortstop.
Oddly enough, it seems like there's some questions about Velazquez's hit tool, despite the on-base streak. His approach did improve in 2014 though. If he can keep his strikeouts down, he could be an everyday big leaguer with the flexibility to play the entire infield.
I'm most interested to see how he fits in with Willy Adames. Both will be play with Charlotte in 2015, and both deserve to get a lot of innings at shortstop. Kean Wong is certainly a factor in that infield too. Baseball America named Velazquez the 16th best prospect in the Midwest League.
Once upon a time, Velazquez wrote a sports diary for the New York Post titled Dandy Andy. You can read the final iteration here on how it feels to be drafted.
Dandy Andy -- Photo Credit: Frank LoCascio
Scouting grades (mlb.com) - Hit: 40 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
Nineteen year old outfielder Justin Williams is a former second-round pick. Entering the 2013 draft, Williams was seen as the all-or-nothing raw high school hitter a lot of fans hate when their teams draft. A funny thing has happened since then though: he's performed like a completely different player.
At 6'2 and 215 pounds, Williams was billed as a player with big-time power potential but one who may struggle to actually hit. In limited action in two seasons, mostly in short-season leagues, he has instead batted .351 in 544 career plate appearances with a 20.4% strikeout rate and 6.4% walk rate. His raw power has stayed in batting practice with only five career home runs and a .110 ISO. He even had a 28 game hitting streak in 2014, and Baseball America named him as the seventh best prospect in the Pioneer League.
If the Diamondbacks helped Williams make adjustments to make better contact, the Rays will have to help him make further adjustments to get some of that power to show up in games. He's not a great athlete and may be confined to left field depending on how the team feels about his arm. He's just 19 years old for most of 2015, and I'd expect him to start back in the Midwest League with Class A Bowling Green with a chance to move up to Class A-Advanced Charlotte.
For more on the prospects acquired, visit the Rays press release in our original report.