Tonight at 8pm EST, the deadline will pass for teams to lock in their 40-man rosters ahead of the Winter Meetings. Once the deadline passes, a team will not be able to add a player from within their organization to the 40-man roster until the end of spring training in 2018.
Players left off the 40-man roster and who are eligible, can be selected during the Rule V draft, which occurs on the 4th and final day of the Winter Meetings. This year, the draft will fall on Thursday, December 14th.
The Tampa Bay Rays currently have a 40-man roster consisting of 32 players, leaving them with eight spots to fill before the deadline and they have plenty of candidates to choose from.
To be eligible for the Rule V draft, you must meet this criteria:
- Signed at 19 or older and have at least 4 years of experience
- Singed at 18 or older and have at least 5 years of experience
Brent Honeywell - RHP
The 2nd top pitching prospect in all of baseball will be added to the Rays 40-man roster at some point this afternoon. Baseball America has him as the Rays 2nd best prospect behind Willy Adames, and 14th overall in their mid-season update. Honeywell split the year between Double-A and Triple-A. He had a rough go of it during his transition period, but eventually dominated in Durham.
Jake Bauers - 1B/OF
Acquired in the deal that brought in Steven Souza and sent Wil Myers to San Diego, Bauers has progressed quickly through the Rays system and spent all of the 2017 season with the Durham Bulls. He is only 21 years old, so he is still developing into his power. During their mid-season update, Baseball America had him as the Rays 4th best prospect and 66th overall.
Justin Williams - OF
Williams had a breakout campaign in 2017, as he finally learned to draw walks, tripling his walk rate from 2016. He had a career high in home runs as well, hitting 14 while spending the entirety of the season in Double-A. Baseball America has him as the Rays 10th best prospect.
On the Bubble
Diego Castillo - RHP
The Rays minor league reliever of the year would surely be taken in the draft. He has a fastball that can touch the triple digits. He struck out close to a 1⁄3 of all opponents faced while pitching for the Durham Bulls in 2017.
Ryan Yarbrough - LHP
Another trade acquisition, Yarbrough came to the Rays in the Drew Smyly deal. He was sent to Triple-A, where he spent a solid season at the top of the Durham Bulls rotation. However, he’ll turn 26 in December, and has yet to make his major league debut, his prospect status has dimmed.
Nick Ciuffo - C
The Rays 2013 top pick, Nick Ciuffo went through some struggles during the his first few seasons of professional baseball, but has since rebounded. He enjoyed the best year of his brief career in 2017 while playing all of it in Double-A for the Biscuits. Known for his proficiency behind the plate, his offensive potential shined through with the Biscuits.
Burch Smith - RHP
Smith is finally healthy, he just finished out a dominating campaign in the Arizona Fall League as the Rays sent him there to get some more innings under his belt after missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to injury. He has some major league experience as well, and could possibly slot into a few teams starting rotations.
Yonny Chirinos - RHP
An international signee in 2012, Chirinos has performed well at every stop along the way for the Rays without much attention being brought to him. He finally reached Durham in 2017 and proceeded to put up the best numbers of his career. A finesse guy, Chirnos barely walks anyone and and most balls put in play against him are on the ground.
Probably not, but maybe?
Travis Ott - LHP
The Rays kept Ott in short-season ball for a long time (2 years to be precise), but they finally must have found something they liked in him as they bumped him up to High-A to finish out the season. His numbers have always been solid, but he put up the best performances of his carer while pitching for the Stone Crabs.
Kean Wong - 2B
The hero of the Triple-A Championship game, Wong has always been a glove first type of player, while being a slap hitter at the plate. This year with the Bulls, he slashed .265/.328/.361 with 5 HR over 105 games.
Jose Mujica - RHP
At one time, he was considered one of the top international prospects in the game, but it took him awhile to progress through the Rays system, finishing his 4th year in the system just at the A-Level, but in 2017, the Rays promoted him to Montgomery where he enjoyed plenty of success.
Johnny Field - OF
The Rays could really use a right-handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Mallex Smith next season. Field is the internal candidate.
Several other names to be considered
Kyle Bird - LHP; Grant Kay - INF; Greg Harris - RHP; Riley Unroe - INF