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Keith Law releases Top 10 Rays Prospects

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Nate Karns is Law's expected fifth starter in 2015.
Nate Karns is Law's expected fifth starter in 2015.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Keith Law's prospect rankings are out for ESPN, and the Rays Top 10 list is the freebie this year, meaning it's not behind the paywall and you can go read it for yourself.

He doesn't go player by player, so we won't do our pros and cons as we did with previous top ten recaps, but we can note his list and the key observations.

1. Justin O'Conner, C

2. Daniel Robertson, SS

3. Willy Adames, SS

4. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP

5. Stephen Souza, OF

6. Nate Karns, RHP

7. Nick Ciuffo, C

8. Hak-Ju Lee, SS

9. Brent Honeywell, RHP

10. Casey Gillaspie, 1B

Sleeper: Blake Snell, LHP

It's no surprise at the top two choices, as they were part of Law's fourth tier in the Top-100 rankings. Read the recaps on O'Conner and Robertson there.

Law likes the power potential in Adames's swing, but he's not nearly as bullish on Souza's power. For more on his homerun potential, see our swing analysis from yesterday. Both players were key pieces in the trades of David Price and Wil Myers respectively, but Law hasn't heard or seen what the Rays seem to have bought noting that, "in both cases the Rays have more optimistic forecasts for the players than the rest of the industry."

On defense he seems to believe Adames's batting profile will be strong and his defense comparable to the position, and calls the optimistic take a comp to Jhonny Peralta. His complaint is Adames's size and slow footwork for the position of short stop.

Souza is ranked fifth on his list, as opposed to first over at Baseball America, and the reasoning isn't convincing as to why. He calls souza "major league ready" and praises his contact ability in the batter's box, but worries about the upside, saying, "the probability that the next six years of Souza's time are worth more than the next five of Myers' is low." The trouble with that wide lens perspective is that it doesn't focus on the Rays' troubles with Myers. It does not seem like he was taking to the coaching or the environment well, and his desire was to move to Center Field. The Padres can offer that to Myers, the Rays would have just been more of the same. Souza's overall defense is far more inspiring and his approach at the plate is far more polished. It makes sense why the Rays would want a safer bet, and given context, Souza should excel in Tampa Bay in ways Wil Myers likely never would have.

Guerrieri slides in at fourth, maintaining stock despite blowing out his elbow. He and Ciuffo at No. 7 are former Top-100's for Law, but he likewise was playing "hurt" - a stomach ailment, as Law calls it. Hak-Ju Lee likewise maintains some respect at No. 8 despite devestating knee and ankle injuries (Law doesn't mention the knee).

On the positive side are two pitchers: Nate Karns at No. 6, who Law is penciling in as the fifth starter until Matt Moore recovers from injury, and recent draft pick Brent Honeywell at No. 9. Smart drafting by the Rays to get Honeywell in an early round gets praise from Law. The first round choice from 2014 is his No. 10, Casey Gillaspie, noting the ideals in his first base profile.

The rest of his list is noted through the paragraphs as follows:

11. Blake Snell, LHP

12. Andrew Velazquez, INF

13. Adrian Rondon, SS

14. Ryan Brett, 2B

15. Justin Williams, OF

16. Mikie Mahtook, OF

17. Richie Shaffer, 3B

18. Enny Romero, LHP

Deceptive RHP Burch Smith is also of note, due to a likely 2015 impact, but the list ends there.