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2015 DRaysBay Community Prospect #8

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The Rays are counting on Adrian Rondon, and now he's landed on the community prospect list

If Adrian Rondon picks up Derek Shelton's Speed Hitter, he'll be in the big leagues in no time
If Adrian Rondon picks up Derek Shelton's Speed Hitter, he'll be in the big leagues in no time
Jim Donten

The last poll would be one that could've gone to a runoff, but since the preference seems to be no runoff unless it's tied, I'm moving on.

A couple things I wanted to mention but didn't because I closed the comments:

Nathan Karns has been an option since the very first poll, but he didn't receive his first votes until the last one.

Nine different players got votes, easily surpassing the previous high.

Down on the Farm doesn't continue in the offseason because I work full-time, and the benefits of doing it year-round don't seem worth it. The last couple offseasons, I had planned on doing weekly or every other week winter league updates, but clearly that slipped through the cracks.

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)
6. C Justin O'Conner (70%)
7. SS Adrian Rondon (36.6%)

1B Jake Bauers (L/L, 6'1 195, 19 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Class A Fort Wayne: .296/.376/.414, 8 HR, 29 XBH, 10.9 BB%, 17.1 K%

Acquired in the Wil Myers trade, Bauers doesn't really fit the typical first base profile. Nevertheless, Baseball America ranked him as the 20th best prospect in the Midwest League. For such a young hitter, he has a strong approach at the plate and can hit any kind of pitch, and he makes a lot of contact. He also plays a good first base.

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

C Nick Ciuffo (L/R, 6'1 205, 20 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Rookie Princeton: .224/.289/.333, 4 HR, 12 XBH, 8.1 BB%, 21.3%

Seen as a pretty balanced catcher coming out of high school in 2013, Ciuffo has instead shown that his defense is far ahead of his bat. He has a strong arm and has improved his receiving  in a system that has quite a few good defensive catchers. His bat needs some work, though he did show improvement as the season progressed after battling illness at the beginning.

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

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.

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.

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.

RHP Ryne Stanek (6'4 180, 23 in 2015)

2014 statistics with Class A Bowling Green and Class-A Advanced Charlotte: 57 2/3 IP, 4.06 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.5 BB%, 20.7 K%

Stanek made his long-awaited debut in 2014 after the 2013 first-rounder had to get hip surgery due to an injury in college. He showed the same stuff he did at Arkansas  with a fastball that can touch the mid-90's, above average breaking ball and usable changeup. Shoulder fatigue cut his season short, and it appears that health could be a barrier for his potential to start.

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 prominence. 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.