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Fangraphs releases Rays Top 31 prospects list

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With a few surprises to talk about, this list remains a very solid one

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Longenhagen and Chris Mitchell of Fangraphs compiled information from various sources, including some of their own, and released their “Top 31 Rays Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays” list.

In an effort to get everyone over there to read through the details, I’ll only note the list below with the MLB.com and BA rankings next to each player’s name (NA if not ranked). I’ll also add a note or two about the ranking. Overall, this is a very solid list that has a few risky picks, so it’s worth the read through.

1 Willy Adames (MLB.com 1, BA 1)

  • Unanimous, let’s move on.

2 Brent Honeywell (MLB.com 2, BA 2)

  • Unanimous, let’s move on.

3 Jose DeLeon (MLB.com 3, BA NA - pre-trade)

  • We’ll believe that BA would of had him 3rd (or so), let’s move on!

4 Jesus Sanchez (MLB.com 7, BA 7)

  • Absolutely love the aggressive ranking here. I still have Bauers ahead of him, but that’s a great ranking.

5 Jake Bauers (MLB.com 4, BA 4)

  • Should be spot ahead, but solid.

6 Josh Lowe (MLB.com 6, BA 6)

  • Unanimous, let’s move on.

7 Chih-Wei Hu (MLB.com 8, BA 5)

  • Fits between BA and MLB.com, and I like this ranking better. You don’t win the SL RHP of the year for no reason, and he belongs among the best.

8 Lucius Fox (MLB.com 14, BA 16)

  • First shocker of the list. I’m a believer that in 2017 we’ll see Fox come around some, but I’m not sure I’d have him in the top 8. A few spots too high, but I appreciate the confidence.

9 Casey Gillaspie (MLB.com 5, BA 3)

10 Adrian Rondon (MLB.com 13, BA 14)

  • This ranking is solid and is about where Rondon should rank.

11 Garrett Whitley (MLB.com 11, BA 10)

  • My 2017 breakout candidate, Whitley’s set to turn some heads and it seems everyone keeps him in this spot waiting for that breakout to happen. May be in top 3 next year.

12 Daniel Robertson (MLB.com 17, BA 15)

  • A little aggressive here as there was still some higher ceilinged talent to get to.

13 Austin Franklin (MLB.com 12, BA 11)

  • Solid ranking, let’s move on!

14 Justin Williams (MLB.com 10, BA 9)

  • Being a little more patient than other outlets who believe in the bat with Williams.

15 Jacob Faria (MLB.com 9, BA 8)

  • This is about where Faria should be as he seems to be wavering between the SP and RP role at this point.

16 Ryne Stanek (MLB.com 16, BA 13)

  • Solid.

17 Jake Fraley (MLB.com 25, BA 23)

  • Fairly aggressive in comparison to other networks here, and there’s a good case for having Padlo and others ahead of Fraley, but it’s alright, really.

18 Diego Castillo (MLB.com NA, BA NA)

19 Chris Betts (MLB.com 26, BA 26)

Still believing the hype in Betts, and I’m alright with that. This season will be so telling for him that this ranking makes sense.

20 Resly Linares (MLB.com NA, BA 30)

This is how they sell Linares being ahead of Padlo & co: “Linares is a projectable and quick-armed lefty with a fastball that currently resides in the 87-92 range and some breaking-ball feel. He’s still very thin, especially for a 19-year-old, but should grow into at least a bit more velocity as he matures.” That’s two guys in the top 20 that should be pushed back 6-7 spots imo (Castillo and Linares).

21 Michael Santos (MLB.com NA, BA NA)

22 Kevin Padlo (MLB.com 19, BA 19)

  • Still has to prove he can hit for average before everyone shows him more love. Solid ranking.

23 Taylor Guerrieri (MLB.com 18, BA 17)

24 Hunter Wood (MLB.com 27, BA 27)

  • They note how excellent his value will be whether he winds up in the 5th spot in the rotation or in the pen (I lean heavily towards RP).

25 Jaime Schultz (MLB.com 15, BA 12)

  • Definitely a head scratcher here. They’re fairly critical of his delivery and note “It’s setup stuff, but middle-relief command.” This is one I have to completely disagree with simply because I believe a few tweaks can get him to where he needs to be, particularly as a RP. With his stuff, there’s closing material in that arm and makeup. Just as they projected future improvements with Fox and Rondon, they should have recognized the same with Schultz.

26 Greg Harris (MLB.com 28, BA 18)

  • He’s in my top 20 as the most unheralded Rays prospect, so this is alright.

27 David Rodriguez (MLB.com 22, BA 24)

  • Nailed the write up on D Rod, so have a look.

28 Jose Alvarado (MLB.com NA, BA 28)

29 Brandon Koch (MLB.com NA, BA NA)

  • Hip issues are not kind to pitchers. I hope he stays healthy, because if he does this ranking was light.

30 Ryan Boldt (MLB.com 30, BA 22)

  • Honestly, I didn’t understand the Rays drafting him.

31 Jhonleider Salinas (MLB.com NA, BA NA)

  • Talk about going off the board!!! And it’s a great heads up addition to the board, as he was likely the less talked about but higher ceilinged return from the Brandon Guyer deal.

Prominent Omissions

The most glaring omissions are OF/1B Joe McCarthy, C Nick Ciuffo, LHP Ryan Yarbrough, RHP Kevin Gaeda, RHP Austin Pruitt, and LHP Genesis Cabrera.

Overall Thoughts

While I noted some beefs with the list above, I do appreciate the risks it takes and how it includes a few “off the board” guys. So often the main channel lists seem like safe bets that it can make for a mundane look through the system.

That’s why I believe this list is solid. Not only do they take the time to explain each ranking, but they made some risky decisions and may wind up pointing to a few gems others overlooked.