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2015 DRaysBay Community Prospect #6

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Our second runoff went down to the wire

Ryan Brett throws a baseball at an unsuspecting instructional league umpire
Ryan Brett throws a baseball at an unsuspecting instructional league umpire
Jim Donten

It took a while, but the deciding vote for our fifth prospect was cast, and it went in Ryan Brett's favor.

A comment regarding our decision to move to runoffs when results are just close, and not necessarily tied received several recommendations. Is this something people feel strongly about? That's just how we've always done it so I continued it. If the preference is for first-past-the-post voting, that switch can be made.

1. SS Willy Adames (91.6%)
2. OF Steven Souza (52.6%)
3. RHP Taylor Guerrieri (51.4% in runoff)
4. RHP Alex Colome (68.8%)
5. 2B Ryan Brett (51.2% in runoff)

A weekly reminder of our rules from valued former staff member Michael:

For this year's list, the rules will be the same as before. Cast a "+1" vote as a reply to the prospect listed that you think is best. The player receiving the most votes is announced the winner of the spot. Each poll will be open for voting for a two day period, and the goal is to create a top 30 list.

A few notes to remember.....

1. Please vote for the prospect that you believe to be the best. Even if the player does not have a good shot at winning, I encourage you to vote for the best prospect. Runoffs are the times to vote for the prospect you like who has the best shot of winning.

2. If you want to vote for someone who is not listed, reply "(player name) +1" to "Others." If you think someone should be added to the list, reply with their name to the comment reading "Testers." They will then be added to the pool of contenders for the next poll.

3. There are many ways in which to decide who you want to vote for. Things such as scouting reports, statistics, age relative to league, position, and pedigree should all be considered. How you weigh these will determine your pick.

4. Discussion is encouraged. Perhaps the best part of doing this list, for me, is engaging in the many conversations. It helps everyone to make a better choice, to reevaluate their take on a player, and to share their views with others.

1B Casey Gillaspie (S/L, 6'4 240, 22 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Short-Season Hudson Valley: .262/.364/.411, 7 HR, 24 XBH, 13.6 BB%, 21.1 K%

Gillaspie was solid in his pro debut after being selected by the Rays in the first round from Wichita State. With no speed and nondescript defense at first base, it'll have to be his bat to carry him to the majors. He owns a pretty patient approach, and his raw power is above average. The New York-Penn League surely suppressed his statistics, but he still has some work to do to tap into his raw power consistently.

He's expected to start the 2015 season with Class A Bowling Green or Class A-Advanced Charlotte.

RHP Brent Honeywell (6'2 180, 20 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Rookie Princeton: 33 2/3 IP, 1.07 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 4.7 BB%, 31.3 K%

Honeywell burst onto the scene after the Rays drafted him in the second round in 2014. His arsenal is led by his screwball, a pitch hitters in the low minors no doubt struggled with. His fastball sits in the low-90's and can touch the mid-90's, and his breaking ball and changeup are a work in progress.

He's expected to start the 2015 season with Class A Bowling Green.

RHP Nathan Karns (6'3 210, 27 in 2014)

2014 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 145 1/3 IP, 5.08 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 9.9 BB%, 24.5 K%
2014 statistics with Tampa Bay: 12 IP, 4.50 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 8.2 BB%, 26.5 K%

Karns continued to pile up the strikeouts in his first year in the organization, but his season was inconsistent. His fastball and curveball combination give him a certain role as a big league reliever, but the Rays hope he could be more. With a better changeup and command, he could still be a starter.

Since the Rays are probably going to continue developing him as a starter, I expect he'll be in Durham.

OF Mikie Mahtook (R/R, 6'1 200, 25 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Triple-A Durham: .292/.362/.458, 12 HR, 51 XBH, 18/23 SB, 8.4 BB%, 24.9 K%

Mahtook's minor league career was a disappointment prior to 2014, but he had a major rebound last season. With his improvement at the plate came an increase in his strikeout rate, but he has solid tools across the board. He also brings energy to the field to make the most out of his ability.

He's expected to get a long look with the big league club in spring training, but I'd guess he'll head back to Durham.

C Justin O'Conner (R/R, 6'0 190, 23 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery: .278/.316/.466, 12 HR, 49 XBH, 3.8 BB%, 23.1 K%

O'Conner enjoyed a breakout 2014 when he finally put together his great glove and arm with solid offense. His arm behind the plate can change games and could get him to the big leagues itself. At the plate, he offers the power potential to be an everyday player in the future.

He's expected to start the 2015 season back with Double-A Montgomery.

LHP Enny Romero (6'3 210, 24 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 126 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 9.4 BB%, 21.2 K%

Romero had his best strikeout rate since 2011 and best walk rate since 2010, but his command problems persisted. His fastball and breaking ball remain impressive pitches, and his changeup could be an average pitch. The results remained inconsistent though, as they have been for years.

He's expected to start 2015 season with Triple-A Durham.

SS Adrian Rondon (R/R, 6'2 180, 16 in 2015)

2014 statistics: Not sure if they have these for Dominican amateur workouts

Rondon was the top international prospect in the 2014 international signing period, and the Rays completely disregarded their international pool limit to secure his talent. He has as many professional at-bats as I do right now, but that'll change soon with his superior talent. He can stick at shortstop and swing the bat.

I personally expect he'll start 2015 in the Gulf Coast League.

LHP Blake Snell (6'4 180, 22 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Class A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 115 2/3 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 11.4 BB%, 24.2 K%

He still has a lot of work to do, but Snell cut down on his walks in 2014 and was able to advance to Charlotte. His struggles finding the strike zone can prevent him from throwing going deeper into games, so further improvement can help him build his workload. His low-90's fastball with action is his best pitch, and his breaking ball and changeup both show potential. The latter two need more consistency.

He's expected to start the 2015 season in Class A-Advanced Charlotte.

IF Andrew Velazquez (S/R, 5'8 175, 20 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Class A South Bend: .290/.367/.428, 42 XBH, 50/65 SB, 10.0 BB%, 21.9 K%

Velazquez was acquired in the trade that sent Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona. He had an impressive on-base streak in 2014 which brought him to national attendance. He has some nice pop at this size, but it wouldn't be bad if he could cut down on his strikeouts a bit and utilize his good speed with more balls in play. He'll have a shot to stick at shortstop.

He's expected to start 2015 with Class A-Advanced Charlotte.

OF Justin Williams (L/L, 6'2 215, 19 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Rookie Missoula and Class A South Bend: .351/.403/.467, 4 HR, 21 XBH, 7.5 BB%, 20.9 K%

Also acquired in the Hellickson trade, Williams probably offers more upside in the batter's box than Velazquez. Expected to be a all-or-nothing potential slugger in the 2013 Draft, he has instead hit for contact and maintained a reasonable strikeout rate. He's not fast and adds little value in the field, so he'll need to continue to hit for contact and add power back into his game.

He's expected to start the season with Class A Bowling Green.

You can find more detailed scouting information (with some subscriptions necessary) at Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, Minor League Ball, MLB.com, ESPN and plenty of other places.