After this, there is just one more poll left before we wrap up our Minor League All-Star series here on DBay. This time we're breaking down the best lefties in the system this year.
As always vote once. We may or may not have had another ballot stuffer on the last poll, and that will be rectified by asking voters to select Jacob Faria, Taylor Guerrieri, Brent Honeywell or Spencer Moran in the comments.
Blake Snell (15-4, 1.41 earned-run average, 1.02 WHIP, 5.6 hits allowed per nine innings, 31.3% strikeout rate, 10.2% walk rate in 134 innings for Class A-Advanced Charlotte, Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham)
Snell won Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year Award. He dominated hitters, striking out 31.3% and having a minor-league leading ERA of 1.41. Snell's strong performance on the year overall allowed him to move up the ranks quickly this year, going from Charlotte to Durham. Promotions that aggressive are rare and reserved only for the best players. Snell was just consistently good. He started out the year with a 45+ (out of 80) future value from Fangraphs; by midseason it was all the way up to 60 and Snell was ranked as the No. 16 prospect across all of baseball. This is a name Rays fans should get used to if they aren't already.
Scott Diamond (11-6, 3.71 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 10.8 H/9, 14.3% strikeout rate, 4.1% walk rate in 150 1/3 innings for Triple-A Durham)
Diamond signed a minor league deal with the Rays just before the regular season started on April 5. Diamond has had experience in the majors, albeit unsuccessfully, with the Twins from 2011 to 2013. He spent the entire season with Durham this year and pitched how you would expect a journeyman to. It should be noted Diamond posted an extremely low walk rate.
Chris Kirsch (8-8, 4.07 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.3 H/9, 17.6% strikeout rate, 8.3% walk rate in 138.0 innings for Class-A Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery)
Kirsch was drafted twice before the Rays picked him in the 14th round out of Lackawanna College. Kirsch got off to a strong start in Charlotte with a 2.98 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 16 appearances there. However, he struggled after being promoted to Montgomery with his ERA rising to 5.69 and WHIP to 1.57. His strikeout rate actually rose slightly after the promotion, but that doesn't mean much considering the sharp increase in walks and hits allowed.
Travis Ott (6-3, 3.90 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 9.2 H/9, 22.3% strikeout rate, 8.0% walk rate in 60 innings for Short-season Hudson Valley)
Ott made his debut with the Rays organization after being acquired in the big Wil Myers trade. Ott made a few starts in Class A for Washington last year, but the Rays decided to play it safe and keep the 20-year old in short-season Hudson Valley. He put up solid strikeout and walk rates in his limited outings. Ott could see Bowling Green next year with a productive spring training.
Brock Burke (4-2, 3.42 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.2 H/9, 16.0% strikeout rate, 5.0% walk rate in 52 2/3 innings for Rookie-level Princeton)
I don't know how on earth Burke lowered his walk rate so much from last season but I'm very glad he did. It went from 17.1% to 5.0%. Since Burke was last year's third-round pick, it's great to see that improvement. He'll no doubt try to break into the New-York Penn League with Hudson Valley before he even turns 20.
- Catcher: Justin O'Conner
- First base: Jake Bauers
- Second base: Kean Wong
- Shortstop: Daniel Robertson
- Third base: Richie Shaffer
- Left field: Joey Rickard
- Center field: Boog Powell
- Right field: Taylor Motter
- Right-handed pitcher: ??