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Scott's 2014 Rays mid-season top 30 prospects list

There's a new name at the top of the list, and some new faces following that

Taylor Guerrieri would have been in last year's Futures Game if not for his elbow injury
Taylor Guerrieri would have been in last year's Futures Game if not for his elbow injury
Jim Donten

Now that the draft and trade deadline passed, we have a pretty complete look at what farm systems are going to look like until the off-season.  Everyone else did their mid-season prospect update during the middle of the season, but I boldly decided to wait until there's a month left in the minor league season.

It's tough doing these lists mid-season because a player could be in a peak or valley, or there could be post-draft or post-trade hype.  A fringe player performing well could sneak on with good statistics, but then in the off-season, a few months removed from the season ending, maybe it's easier to step back and take a more objective look.

My process is this: I make a gigantic list of anybody that could be considered.  This will include plenty of recent draft picks, players performing well, anyone on the pre-season list, and players that may have been considered prospects two years ago.  I rank the hitters and pitchers separately and then merge the lists.

Jake Odorizzi, Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Guyer (finally) have graduated, while Curt Casali and Cole Figueroa are still in play.  Ages are in parenthesis.

1. RHP Taylor Guerrieri (21) - Guerrieri is back and pitching a little bit, so to me, he gains the top spot with good stuff and good control.

Preseason rank: 3

2. IF Willy Adames (18) - Adames is doing very well in full-season ball as an 18 year old.  If he can stick at short, he has a pretty high ceiling.

Preseason rank: Detroit Tigers

3. 1B Casey Gillaspie (21) - Gillaspie has gotten his pro career off to a nice start, and his power is the key.  Let's see if their latest first round college bat can pan out.

Preseason rank: NA

4. RHP Alex Colome (25) - Colome has been decent since his return from his suspension.  All the same risks are still there though, and his ultimate role in the big leagues is still undetermined.

Preseason rank: 5

5. LHP Mike Montgomery (25) - This could be a bit more bullish on Montgomery than I should be.  He has good stuff and is throwing strikes this year, giving him a shot to stick in a rotation.

Preseason rank: NR

6. 2B Ryan Brett (22) - Brett's limited to the right side of the infield, but at this point, it really seems like he can hit and run.  Is it just me, or does he always seem to have a nagging injury?

Preseason rank: 6

7. SS Hak-Ju Lee (23) - Lee's a tough one.  His performance has been abysmal, but he can still play a good shortstop.  I'll give him a break because of the knee injury, but I am really concerned at this point.

Preseason rank: 2

8. LHP Enny Romero (23) - Compared to mid-season lists at and Baseball America, I'm low on Romero, but if he's a reliever in the end, even a late inning one, how high should he be?

Preseason rank: 4

9. RHP Ryne Stanek (22) - Stanek's performance has been solid so far this year.  I might've bumped him up a bit too much, but I think fringe top 10 is appropriate.

Preseason rank: 12

10. C Nick Ciuffo (19) - Ciuffo is again not hitting well, even out of the non-hitting environment that is the Gulf Coast League's South division.  I've seen no change in reports though, so it's just going to take time with him.

Preseason rank: 7

11. OF Mikie Mahtook (24) - Mahtook has been slumping lately, but he's still having a nice rebound season for Durham.  He crushes left-handed pitching with solid defense and baserunning.

Preseason rank: 23

12. RHP Matt Andriese (24) - This may be too high for Andriese.  His ceiling isn't that high, and it's concerning that he's walking batters at a career high rate while allowing more extra base hits than ever.

Preseason rank: 10

13. C Curt Casali (25) - Casali could graduate by the end of the year depending on Ryan Hanigan's injury.  His transition to the majors has been rough so far, but he should carve out a big league role.

Preseason rank: 14

14. RHP Nate Karns (26) - Karns has deviated between extremely hot and cold stretches all season.  He's still walking too many batters, and I think he ends up in the bullpen soon.

Preseason rank: 11

15. IF Tim Beckham (24) - Beckham is back on the field after his off-season knee injury.  Hopefully once he shows he's healthy, he can get an extended look in the big leagues so we can move closer to finally settling the Beckham debate.

Preseason rank: 15

16. C Justin O'Conner (22) - O'Conner's breakout season has been amazing.  He's got a great arm behind the plate, and he's hitting for nice power in games now.

Preseason rank: NR

17. C Oscar Hernandez (20) - Hernandez has moved into full-season ball and continues to play well at and behind the plate.  It's hard to believe he has a .749 OPS after the horrendous start he had.

Preseason rank: 13

18. SS Jake Hager (21) - After an injury affected his 2013 season, Hager has gotten back to being a solid performer at the plate and in the field.  He's only had 11 plate appearances against pitchers younger than him this season.

Preseason rank: 19

19. LHP Blake Snell (21) - Snell earned a promotion to Charlotte after a nice return visit to Bowling Green.  He still has a lot of work to do with his control, but this season has been a step forward.

Preseason rank: 22

20. 1B Patrick Leonard (21) - Leonard's 2013 was disappointing, but this season he's re-emerging as one of the best power hitters in the organization.  I wouldn't argue putting him higher.

Preseason rank: NR

21. LHP Grayson Garvin (24) - Between the Arizona Fall League and regular season action last year, Garvin threw over 50 innings.  He's at 57 this season, but the back injury that landed him on the DL again is a factor in that.

Preseason rank: 24

22. 3B Tyler Goeddel (21) - Goeddel has been roughly the same player he was in his past two seasons with a higher BABIP.  He's not breaking out, but the potential is still there.

Preseason rank: 21

23. 2B Kean Wong (19) - Wong has been solid as one of the younger players in the Midwest League.  The Rays are careful promoting first year players to full-season ball, and he's shown he deserves it.

Preseason rank: NR

24. IF Riley Unroe (18) - Unroe is having another good season.  His walk rate is down, but that 16.3% rate was unsustainable anyway.  He can hit and stick at shortstop.

Preseason rank: 20

25. OF Granden Goetzman (21) - Goetzman's healthy, breakout season has not quite transitioned to Charlotte yet.  With a strikeout rate above 30% and walk rate below 3%, he needs to improve his approach.

Preseason rank: NR

26. RHP Dylan Floro (23) - Floro is a durable, ridiculous strike thrower that can get ground balls too.  He's another player that I could be a bit low on.

Preseason rank: 27

27. LHP C.J. Riefenhauser (24) - Riefenhauser has taken a bit of a step back this year, but he should still be a big league reliever that can get righties and lefties out.

Preseason rank: 26

28. LHP Jose Castillo (19) - Castillo is back from his injury, and hopefully he can squeeze some innings in before the season is over.  His stuff is certainly impressive.

Preseason rank: 18

29. CF Andrew Toles (22) - Is this too big of a drop?  I don't know what to do with Toles.  This is a lost season for him.  He wasn't really hitting, but it's never good to not be on the field.

Preseason rank: 8

30. IF Adrian Rondon (16) - Well, he got a big bonus and has a lot of talent.  I can't wait to see him in box scores next year.

Preseason rank: NA

Like in the off-season, this is a pretty muddled picture.  It's still in the bottom third of the league as far as farm systems goes, but I do think there's talent here.  There are almost 10 players I wish I could've included on this list, but I can't fit 40 players in a top 30.

Some of this placement was really difficult.  With nine players either new to the organization, some players who deserved to move up didn't.  Those include Unroe, who has a lot of fans here, Oscar and Floro among some others.  There's nothing wrong with their performances, especially in the case of Floro.

So have at it.  I didn't have a lot of times to review it and make changes, but sometimes that can be a good thing too.  I'm open to debate because there aren't clear cut choices here.