clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Baseball America releases Rays Top 30 prospects list in 2017 Prospect Handbook

Order your copy of the BA Prospect Handbook today!

MLB: Fall Star Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of my favorite times of the season. Sure baseball is happening, but this week that coincided with the 2017 Baseball America Prospect Handbook release. Now I have some reading material while watching some spring training games.

Before we dive into what that book has to say about the Rays, let’s discuss their process.

Baseball America puts a Grade on every player in a team’s top 30 along with a risk factor. This grade is meant to project their reasonable ceiling. What do the player grades and risk factors mean?



Hitter Role: Franchise Player

Pitcher Role: No. 1 Starter

Examples: Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout, Kris Bryant


Hitter Role: Perennial All-Star

Pitcher Role: No. 2 Starter

Examples: Robinson Cano, Anthony Rizzo, Johnny Cueto


Hitter Role: Occasional All-Star

Pitcher Role: No. 3 Starter, Game’s Best Reliever

Examples: Starling Marte, Brandon Crawford, Aroldis Chapman


Hitter Role: First Division Starter

Pitcher Role: No. 3 or 4 Starter, Elite Closer

Examples: Rougned Odor, Gio Gonzalez, Zach Britton


Hitter Role: Solid Average Starter

Pitcher Role: No. 4 Starter, Elite Set-up Reliever

Examples: Odubel Herrera, Mike Leake, Kelvin Herrera


Hitter Profile: Second Division Starter, Platoon

Pitcher Role: No. 5 Starter, Lower Leverage Reliever

Examples: Chris Carter, Tom Milone, Dan Otero


Hitter Profile: Reserve

Pitcher Profile: Fill-in Starter, Relief Specialist

Examples: J.B. Schuck, Keyvius Sampson, Jerry Blevins

Risk Factors:

Low: Likely to reach realistic ceiling, certain big league career barring injury.

Medium: Still some work to do to turn tools into major league-caliber skills, but fairly polished player.

High: Most draft picks in their first seasons, players with plenty of projection left, players with a significant flaw left to correct or players whose injury history is also worrisome.

Extreme: Teenagers in Rookie ball, players with significant injury histories or players whose struggle with a key skill (especially control for pitchers or strikeout rate for hitters) is a significant barrier to them ever reaching their potential.

Rays Top 30:

It is important to remember the deadline for the book was December 9. The Drew Smyly and Logan Forsythe trades haven’t occurred, but their return will be discussed in the end.

There are good write ups for all the prospects in the Top 30 and well worth a purchase for those interested in prospects.

1. Willy Adames, SS 60/Medium

2. Brent Honeywell, RHP 60/Medium

3. Casey Gillaspie, 1B 55/Medium

4. Jake Bauers, OF/1B 55/Medium

5. Chih-Wei Hu, RHP 55/Medium

6. Joshua Lowe, 3B/OF 65/Extreme

7. Jesus Sanchez, OF 60/Extreme

8. Jacob Faria, RHP 50/Low

9. Justin Williams, OF 55/High

10. Garrett Whitley, OF 55/Extreme

11. Austin Franklin, RHP 55/Extreme

12. Jaime Schultz, RHP 45/Medium

13. Ryne Stanek, RHP 45/Medium

14. Adrian Rondon, SS/3B 55/Extreme

15. Daniel Robertson, SS/3B 40/Low

16. Lucius Fox, SS 55/Extreme

17. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP 45/Medium

18. Greg Harris, RHP 50/High

19. Kevin Padlo, 3B 50/High

20. Joe McCarthy, OF/1B 45/High

21. Nick Ciuffo, C 45/High

22. Ryan Boldt, OF 45/High

23. Jake Fraley, OF 45/High

24. David Rodriguez, C 45/High

25. Kevin Gadea, RHP 50/Extreme

26. Chris Betts, C 50/Extreme

27. Hunter Wood, RHP 45/High

28. Jose Alvarado, LHP 50/Extreme

29. Austin Pruitt, RHP 40/Medium

30. Resly Linares, LHP 50/Extreme

Players acquired in trade since the publisher’s deadline

Jose De León, RHP 60/High (#3 Dodgers)

Ryan Yarbrough, LHP 50/High (#12 Mariners)

Carlos Vargas, SS 50/Extreme (#26 Mariners)

Individual Top 50 Prospect Lists

Five Baseball America Editors published their personal Top 50 Lists. 4 Rays prospects made at least one list.

BA Editor Top 50s

Player Ben Badler J.J. Cooper Matt Eddy John Manuel Kyle Glaser
Player Ben Badler J.J. Cooper Matt Eddy John Manuel Kyle Glaser
Willy Adames 7 18 9 13 9
Brent Honeywell Unranked 15 20 16 29
Jose De Le�n 40 21 18 24 8
Jake Bauers 25 Unranked Unranked Unranked Unranked

Organizational Talent Rankings:

Rays come in 11th before adding Jose De León who ranked 29th overall in their Top 100 list.

AL East Farm System Breakdown By Grade

Grade Rays Yankees Red Sox Blue Jays Orioles
Grade Rays Yankees Red Sox Blue Jays Orioles
65 1 0 2 1 0
60 4 4 2 1 0
55 8 8 0 8 4
50 7 10 10 9 9
45 8 8 12 9 14
40 2 0 4 2 3

The Rays system has as much talent as any in the division. Sure the Rays have some guys with higher risk profiles especially when you get to the 55 grades, but they have some really great prospects throughout the system in different risk brackets. The system is diverse.

The Yankees have a system that is universally loved, but the Rays have comparable talent. The Yankees have a less risk as most of their 55s are high risk and not extreme. Both systems are deep. I think the Rays system is much closer to the Yankees than most.

The Red Sox system is extremely top heavy. They have 2 65s (Andrew Benintendi and Jason Groome) and 2 60s (Rafael Devers and Bobby Dalbec) but the system falls off without a single 55 remaining.

The Blue Jays have a lot of risk, but they have talent. Most of it isn’t near MLB ready, but in a year the system could look much better than it does today.

The Orioles system is a train wreck. Their best prospects are 55s and there is a lot of risk in those prospects. It’s universally thought of as a bottom tier system and it shows.

The Rays are set up for the next few years to bring up a lot of talented players that could be a very productive core of a very successful Rays team. They will need to continue to take steps forward with their extreme risk teenagers, but the following wave has the talent to be really special.

4:18 PM Edit:

I mistakenly listed Joshua Lowe as a 60/Extreme when he should have been a 65/Extreme.