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Scott's 2015 Rays midseason top 30 prospects list

There is a new name at the top of the list

Blake Snell's breakout season has been among the best in minor league baseball
Blake Snell's breakout season has been among the best in minor league baseball
Jim Donten

Now that the draft-signing deadline and trade deadline have passed, we have a pretty complete look at what farm systems will look like for a while. Sure, calling this a midseason list when we are well past the actual midpoint of the season is a bit of a misnomer, but an update is still an update.

These lists are harder than they are in the offseason. An opinion could be clouded by a current hot stretch or slump. Maybe a player right after a trade or being drafted sounds good until they get on the field. Over the winter, when the bats and gloves have long been put away, it is easier to view a player and the information objectively.

We considered the following players to be graduated because they have either exceeded rookie limits or almost certainly will by the end of this season: pitchers Matt Andriese, Alex Colome, Steve Geltz and Nathan Karns, infielder Tim Beckham, catcher Curt Casali and outfielder Steven Souza.

Yes, Richie Shaffer could join that group, but that announcement was made while I was preparing the post for publication.

The stats may not be totally up to date, but I hope nothing has changed in the few days since I did this that something looks totally out of place. This is why I try and avoid citing specific numbers in pieces like this.

1. LHP Blake Snell

It is obvious that Snell still has to improve his control, but clearly, the Rays are still very confident in him for them to promote him twice this season. Snell is not an elite prospect but likely comfortably in top-50 rankings. For sake of comparison, though:

Blake Snell's age-22 season (Charlotte and Montgomery and soon Durham): 30.3 K% and 11.4 BB%
Matt Moore's age-22 season (Montgomery and Durham prior to reaching the majors):
34.8 K% and 7.6 BB%

I'm not sure this accomplishes anything except remind us how ridiculous Moore was on the doorstep of the majors.

Preseason rank: 13

2. SS Willy Adames

At some point, Adames is going to have to strike out a little less. When he's not much younger than his competition or stops walking, I may actually be concerned about it.

Preseason rank: 3

3. RHP Brent Honeywell

I think the new regime's seemingly more aggressive approach to promoting prospects served Honeywell nicely. As a junior college product, his readiness for certain levels was a little less clear than usual for top picks. The Rays saw him pitching very well for Bowling Green and responded accordingly.

Preseason rank: 8

4. RHP Taylor Guerrieri

Guerrieri seems to be back from his elbow surgery and the setback that followed. Now it's time for him to show he can face lineups a second time around and build up the workload he was never able to prior to the surgery.

Preseason rank: 5

5. SS Daniel Robertson

Robertson was performing well prior to the broken hamate keeping him out of action. This placement is more about what the players in front of him have done this season rather than his shortcomings.

Preseason rank: 1

6. CF Garrett Whitley

Calling a player a steal a handful of games into his pro career is premature, but the Rays were still fortunate to see him fall to the No. 13 pick in June.

Preseason rank: NA

7. SS Adrian Rondon

I feel like Rondon's ceiling is higher than Whitley's, but I also feel more comfortable saying an 18-year-old high schooler is more likely to approach his ceiling compared to a player that just turned 17 in July.

Preseason rank: 12

8. 3B Richie Shaffer

Like Justin O'Conner last season, I was too hasty removing a former top pick from my rankings. His strikeouts will probably be frustrating, but Shaffer's 2015 is much closer to what the team expected when it drafted him in the first round compared to the rest of his pro career to date.

Preseason rank: NR

9. C Justin O'Conner

After 2014's magical ride, it appears this season is a bit of a wake-up call for O'Conner. Even with the strikeouts, he should be able to run into one once in a while and offer a lot of value defensively.

Preseason rank: 2

10. 2B Ryan Brett

Hopefully it's because of his shoulder injury sustained in the majors, but Brett has been terrible in 2015. I'm not going to write a guy off for a bad half season, especially with a decent track record of performance, but this season is troubling.

Preseason rank: 6

11. 1B Jake Bauers

It's fair to expect more power from a first baseman, but it's so uncommon for a player to reach Double-A as quickly as Bauers has. 19-year-olds just don't hit with the approach he has very often.

Preseason rank: 29

12. 1B Casey Gillaspie

Gillaspie fits the classic first base profile better than Bauers, but I think he's been passed for now. The injury was bad timing because he had been hitting much better after a slow start.

Preseason rank: 10

13. LHP Enny Romero

I just can't let go Romero's tantalizing ceiling. I know he will never reach it, but his peripherals in Triple-A have been improving.

Preseason rank: 11

14. OF Boog Powell

Powell has proven that his 2014 season could not be totally chalked up to the performance enhancer that got him suspended. He makes good contact and gets on base, but he still has to utilize his above-average speed more effectively on the bases.

Preseason rank: 23

15. RHP Jacob Faria

Faria has frequently been one of the better-performing pitchers for the Rays over the years, and his improving strikeout totals have garnered the attention of evaluators and analysts.

Preseason rank: NR

16. SS Andrew Velazquez

Velazquez has not been quite as good as he was while in the Arizona organization, but he did miss quite a bit of time with a hand injury. I'm not sure if that accounts for his lack of action on the bases, though.

Preseason rank: 7

17. RHP Jose Mujica

It was not that long ago that Mujica was considered to be the best pitcher on the international market. Perhaps I am being too aggressive through a handful of starts, but he's now healthy and it's time to show why he got the bonus he did.

Preseason rank: NR

18. RHP German Marquez

Marquez has not performed as well as last season, but at 20 years old and in the Florida State League already, I'm not going to get too worked up over that. He has improved his walk rate.

Preseason rank: 15

19. RHP Chih-Wei Hu

One of the newest Rays has performed well throughout his career so far and has done so with solid stuff.

Preseason rank: NA

20. C Chris Betts

Getting Tommy John surgery is not a great way to start a pro career, but position players besides Ty Morrison, apparently, can come back from that quicker than pitchers. Betts should be fine.

Preseason rank: NA

21. 2B Kean Wong

Wong's performance has essentially been equivalent to the 2014 season despite a slow start. If you liked him last year, you should like him now.

Preseason rank: 26

22. COF Justin Williams

Williams has been closer to the player evaluators expected out of high school. His walk rate is comically low, but in his favor, his strikeout rate is not out of hand. He's still just 19.

Preseason rank: 16

23. OF Mikie Mahtook

Maybe being on the taxi squad for the first 2 1/2 months of the season affected Mahtook, but even in his current stint with Durham, Mahtook has been bad.

Preseason rank: 14

24. RHP Ryne Stanek

I'm assuming Stanek's stuff is still there, but we are nearly 50 innings in to his time with Montgomery and the results have not been there.

Preseason rank: 27

25. UTIL Taylor Motter

Motter got off to a terrible start, but he is now having what could be the best season of his career. He has spent most of his time in right field but also appeared at the two other outfield position as well as third base, shortstop and second base.

Preseason rank: NR

26. OF Johnny Field

Field's numbers are down in 2015, but I don't think that will stop him from becoming an extra outfielder with some pop.

Preseason rank: 25

27. SS Hak-Ju Lee

Even with his defense, this may be too high for Lee. I can't chalk up a strikeout rate around 30% to an injured knee.

Preseason rank: 19

28. COF Tyler Goeddel

Another year, and another season that Goeddel faded after a hot April. I would recommend the Rays add him to the 40-man roster this offseason, have him make the team out of spring training and trade him for Matt Joyce on May 1.

Preseason rank: 21

29. 3B Patrick Leonard

If Leonard can continue his current surge through the rest of the season, he should be able to restore his higher ranking. Being able to play third base again helps his value.

Preseason rank: 24

30. SS Jake Hager

Missing an entire season obviously is not good for Hager, but I didn't want to completely drop him off.

Preseason rank: 20