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2016 DRaysBay Community Prospect No. 8

Jacob Faria earns a resounding win for the No. 7 slot

159 strikeouts in 149 2/3 innings will get everyone's attention
159 strikeouts in 149 2/3 innings will get everyone's attention
Jim Donten

On last season's list, Jacob Faria wasn't even nominated for voting. Now, he's a top-10 prospect.

Happy New Year to all.

1. LHP Blake Snell (95.2%)
2. SS Willy Adames (59.1%)
3. 1B/OF Jake Bauers (60.6% in runoff)
4. RHP Brent Honeywell (50.0%)
5. RHP Taylor Guerrieri (57.5%)
6. SS Daniel Robertson (64.3%)
7. RHP Jacob Faria (69.0%)

C Chris Betts (L/R, 6'1 215, 19 in 2016)

2015 statistics: Did not play

A player as talented as Betts should not have been available to the Rays with the No. 52 pick, and he should not have taken until the deadline to sign. It was then revealed that he required Tommy John surgery, which will cost him the first half of the 2016 season. When healthy, he has the chance for above-average hit and power tools, which would stand out at catcher if he's able to stay behind the plate.

OF Mikie Mahtook (R/R, 6'1 200, 26 in 2016)

2015 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 418 PA, .249/.304/.366, 34 XBH, 10-for-11 SB, 5.3 BB%, 23.4 K%
2015 statistics with Tampa Bay: 115 PA, .295/.351/.619, 9 HR, 5.2 BB%, 27.0 K%

Mahtook's 2015 was a tale of two seasons. In the minors, he looked nothing like the player he was with the Bulls just one season earlier. In the majors, he had the fourth-fewest at-bats per home run among players with more than 100 plate appearances. Despite the outburst, his power is typically graded around average, like his other tools. He provides versatility with enough energy, athleticism and arm strength to play all three outfield spots.

RHP German Marquez (6'1 185, 21 in 2016)

2015 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 139 IP, 3.56 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 4.9 BB%, 17.5 K%

The selling point for Marquez is his fastball-curve combo, combining a low-to-mid-90s fastball and above-average curveball. Marquez has a changeup as well which can look average at times. Marquez has made strides with his control over the past year, lowering his walk rate to 4.9%. At Charlotte, he also took steps to adjust his delivery, adding a hip turn that keeps him in line with the plate. His biggest struggle has been allowing hits, and his 1.27 WHIP indicates that the issue has yet to be alleviated.

UT Taylor Motter (R/R, 6'1 195, 26 in 2016)

2015 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 558 PA, .292/.366/.471, 58 XBH, 14 HR, 26-for-34 SB, 10.2 BB%, 17.0 K%

Motter continued his trend of above-average seasons as he progresses through the minor leagues, spending the entire year at Triple A. Motter flashes power with a second straight season of double-digit home run numbers. What may carry him to the majors is his versatility in the field; he has played all three outfield spots as well as second and third along with his primary shortstop designation. He could break camp with the team next season, but is equally as likely he ends up in Durham to start the season.

SS Adrian Rondon (R/R, 6'1 190, 17 in 2016)

2015 statistics with the GCL Rays: 164 PA, .166/.256/.234, 9 XBH, 10.4 BB%, 34.8 K%

Rondon's OPS was the second worst in the Gulf Coast League, but the good news is he was the second-youngest player in the league. He was also just one of three players in the organization born after the Devil Rays' first game. His stats were poor, but the tools, and his patient plate approach, were still there. He has above-average bat speed for a potential plus hit tool and average power. He could stick at shortstop.

3B Richie Shaffer (R/R, 6'3 220, 25 in 2016)

2015 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 457 PA, .267/.357/.539, 26 HR, 54 XBH, 11.8 BB%, 26.9 K%
2015 statistics with Tampa Bay: 88 PA, .189/.307/.392, 4 HR, 11.4 BB%, 36.4 K%

For 2013 and most of 2014, Shaffer's nondescript performance was not befitting of a first-round pick. After heating up in August with Montgomery, he picked up where he left off in 2015. In his Durham debut at the end of May, he hit two home runs, and a few weeks later, he socked three. He'll always strike out a bit, but he'll also walk and show plus power. He has enough arm to play third base and right field and can offer adequate play at all four corner positions.

IF Andrew Velazquez (S/R, 5'8 175, 21 in 2016)

2015 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 203 PA, .290/.343/.360, 11 XBH, 5-for-13 SB, 7.4 BB%, 26.1 K%

Velazquez came over with Justin Williams in the trade that sent Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona, but a broken hamate cost him a large part of the season. Whether it was the injury or not, he was not the same player in 2015. Most notably, he was poor on the bases, and his walk rate went down while his strikeout rate went up. After playing the outfield as an amateur, as a professional he's seen time all around the infield.

OF ​Garrett Whitley (R/R, 6'0 200, 19 in 2016)

2015 statistics with the GCL Rays and short-season Hudson Valley: 164 PA, .174/.293/.312, 10 XBH, 8-for-13 SB, 12.8 BB%, 22.6 K%

Whitley was the Rays' first-round pick at No. 13 overall. He struggled at the plate in his initial season, finishing with an average of .174. He received criticisms on his inability to hit for average before the draft. Whitley does have above average raw power at the plate. Otherwise, Whitley has a plus speed and an above-average arm, making him a solid player defensively. His stock rides on the development of his hit tool.

OF Justin Williams (L/R, 6'2 215, 20 in 2016)

2015 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 490 PA, .277/.298/.394, 39 XBH, 7 HR, 6-for-8 SB, 2.9 BB%, 18.4 K%

Williams debuted in the Rays organization with an average 2015, carrying a combined 100 wRC+, but he is tearing up the Australian League this winter. Williams struggles heavily with his approach at the plate, which limits his ability to hit. Williams has plus raw power with the potential to have at least above average game power. Williams is a fringy fielder, even with a solid-average arm. He has fringe speed to mix with that, meaning he projects as a corner outfielder.