The major mid-season top prospect lists are out from Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, and both lists feature Rays Double-A prospects Willy Adames and Brent Honeywell in the top-50, where they belong.
Both prospects have a quality that initially held them back through skepticism, particularly if you only took a cursory glance at each.
Adames has the build of a third baseman, and it takes belief in his ability to play short stop to keep him highly regarded. But even as a future 3B, he also has the intangibles of leadership and chemistry that we (as statistically based bloggers) typically don't measure with any sort of quality; however, every interview from Rays brass and his coaches rave about this quality in the system top-prospect. Combine that with some belief in his defense, and he's a clear top-25 kid.
Baseball America ranks Adames at No. 23 overall on the strength of his offense (particularly his slugging and walks), which is rounding out his game. In turn, Baseball Prospectus ranks Adames No. 30 with a mix of praise for his hit tool, and a begrudging respect for his defense:
His power to all fields pairs with an above-average hit tool to form a potent combination for a glove that rates as "good enough" to stick at short.
Featured in last night's Futures Game showcase, Willy Adames is hitting .266/.366/.441 with a 13.2 BB% and 20.7 K%, 8 HR (.175 ISO), 9 SB, and an overall .373 wOBA and 133 wRC+ in 81 Games (348 PA) for Double-A Montgomery.
Close behind Adames is the Rays official top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell. Honeywell has the fame and bloodline of a screwball pitcher, but is so much more than that. That fun fact will lead any conversation, but the newly promoted pitcher has much more to his game and has even overcome an elbow injury this year.
Honeywell projects like a mid-rotation starter, B-Pro says as much in their No. 44 overall ranking, but encourage that his continued success will come from continued aggression in going after hitters with his "deep arsenal." Baseball America ranks him much higher at No. 28 overall, but merely recognize his "stuff."
The Prospectus list ends at a top-50, but Baseball America continues on, bringing in Jake Bauers at No. 54 overall. It's not clear that Bauers would have made a top-100 for Prospectus, as their writers are unsure where he fits on the field, but as one of the youngest players in Double-A he's building power.
Jake Bauers is hitting .288/.376/.438 with a 12.3 BB% and 15.4 K%, 10 HR (.150 ISO), 7 SB, and an overall .378 wOBA and 136 wRC+ in 82 Games (357 PA) for Double-A Montgomery. You can read more about Bauers here from our friends at Minor League Ball, who think he's in line for a promotion to Triple-A shortly.