We're asking readers to vote on the best at each position in the minors. You don't have to choose the best prospect, but if that's how you want to vote, it's your prerogative. The criteria you use to make a decision is solely up to you. And please don't vote twice.
If you know how Michael Russell got so many votes the last couple days, please let me know.
With this poll, we'll round out the Rays' All-Star infield.
Juan Carlos Arias (.208 batting average/.275 on-base percentage/.304 slugging, 12 runs, 2 home runs, 10 runs batted in, 0 stolen-base attempts, 23.0% strikeout rate, 6.5% walk rate in 139 plate appearances for the GCL Rays)
After Arias, 20, initially had trouble signing, he made his U.S. debut in 2015 after a nice campaign in the Dominican Summer League. However, he had a tough time adjusting, struggling along with most of his teammates in the Gulf Coast League. Previously listed at 220 pounds, he is now apparently a slimmer 199, giving him a better chance to play third base.
Jace Conrad (.255/.301/.380, 46 R, 11 HR, 43 RBI, 32-of-39 SB, 13.3 K%, 4.5 BB% in 444 PA for Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte)
Conrad swung a hot bat with Bowling Green but struggled after a midseason promotion to the Florida State League, like just about every other hitter. He excels putting the ball in play, steals a lot of bases and adds a bit of pop when he's hitting well. The 22-year-old has some versatility, also getting innings at second base, left field and shortstop this season.
Grant Kay (.251/.304/.333, 46 R, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 13-of-19 SB, 17.3 K%, 6.3 BB% in 463 PA for Class-A Bowling Green)
Kay's pro debut in 2014, when he homered in his first at-bat and wound up hitting for the cycle, may have been one of the best ever, but he could not carry that over to 2015 with the Hot Rods. He played third base exclusively in 2015, and while his strikeout and walk rates were largely unchanged, the 22-year-old's power was nowhere to be found, and the balls in play did not find as many holes.
Patrick Leonard (.256/.350/.408, 72 R, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 11-of-14 SB, 25.1 K%, 10.5 BB% in 514 PA for Double-A Montgomery)
After being exiled to first base in his first two seasons with the Rays, the 22-year-old Leonard was able to move back across the diamond when Tyler Goeddel moved to the outfield and Richie Shaffer was promoted to Durham. He shrugged off a slow April and slashed .268/.369/.425 from May through the rest of the season, although he still has not matched his career-high 14 home runs in the Appalachian League in 2013.
Alex Schmidt (.227/.300/.357, 25 R, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 1-of-2 SB, 20.3 K%, 7.7 BB% in 207 PA for Short-season Hudson Valley)
The Rays signed Schmidt, 23, as an undrafted free agent and sent him to the New York-Penn League. His .656 OPS was actually just a bit below the league average, and his .130 ISO was above the league average.
Richie Shaffer (.267/.357/.539, 64 R, 26 HR, 72 RBI, 4-of-5 SB, 26.9 K%, 11.8 BB% in 457 PA for Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham)
The 24-year-old Shaffer carried over a hot finish to 2014 with a nice start back with Montgomery in 2015, but his breakout did not truly begin until his first Triple-A game when he homered twice in a four-hit game. Weeks later, he socked three dingers, and he continued hitting, eventually to the majors. Occasional time at first base and the corner outfield spots improves his versatility.
Brett Sullivan (.260/.296/.483, 47 R, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 5-of-5 SB, 12.5 K%, 3.6 BB% in 281 PA for Rookie-level Princeton)
Sullivan played third base for Princeton after the Rays took him in the 17th round, but he apparently showed enough in his few games at catcher with Pacific that they want to try him out there on a long-term basis. Despite his aggressive approach, he was tied for third in the league in doubles and home runs, and he was second in total bases.
- Catcher: Justin O'Conner
- First Base: Jake Bauers
- Second Base: Kean Wong
- Shortstop: Michael Russell