Welcome back to the monthly featuring allowing you to choose the best of the Rays organization. We’re now considering July’s top players.
April: 3B Patrick Leonard, RHP Peter Bayer
May: 2B Brandon Lowe, RHP Yonny Chirinos
June: SS Willy Adames, LHP Travis Ott, C Ronaldo Hernandez, RHP Austin Franklin
There may be some tough omissions, so I left an option for other if there’s someone you feel I really made a mistake not including. For pitchers, I tried to include some relievers so it’s not just starters.
Please vote using whatever criteria you want to. If you prefer a top prospect gets extra credit, vote that way. If you don’t care about a player’s prospect status, ignore his prospect status. It’s all for fun.
OF Ryan Boldt: 114 PA, .330/.398/.500, 16 R, 10 XBH, 17 RBI, 3/7 SB
Boldt’s professional career started slower than the Rays would’ve liked, but he’s been surging lately. If he taps into his power potential a little more, he could be a pretty dynamic player.
IF Michael Brosseau: 97 PA, .381/.458/.583, 13 R, 10 XBH, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 2/6 SB
He should probably stop getting caught trying steals so often, but the Rays are likely thrilled with what they’ve gotten from the undrafted Brosseau. He was a Player of the Month nominee in April.
SS Lucius Fox: 87 PA, .289/.360/.368, 11 R, 4 XBH, 9 RBI, 6/10 SB
Not long after representing the Bahamas in July’s Futures Game, Fox was rewarded with a promotion to Charlotte. He has cut down on his strikeouts and is getting on base to utilize his speed.
IF Grant Kay: 115 PA, .311/.383/.505, 17 R, 12 2B, 15 XBH, 15 RBI, 4/4 SB
Kay has already set career-highs in doubles, triples and walks. He’s just one homer short of tying his career high in dingers, and his defensive flexibility has helped him reach Durham, just a step away from the majors.
1B Dalton Kelly: 115 PA, .354/.447/.677, 20 R, 7 HR, 17 XBH, 25 RBI, 5/5 SB
In 2016, Kelly hit seven home runs in 130 games in the Midwest League. In a scorching July, he led the organization with seven home runs for the Biscuits. His OPS has increased each month this season.
1B/OF Joe McCarthy: 125 PA, .327/.448/.535, 22 R, 12 XBH, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 5/6 SB
McCarthy’s lowest monthly OPS this season was .772. In July, he slugged .535, his career high for a month in his career so far. His three home runs were tied for a career-best in a month.
OF Garrett Whitley: 114 PA, .244/.398/.489, 17 R, 6 HR, 10 XBH, 16 RBI, 2/3 SB
Since the start of May, Whitley has enjoyed the best extended stretch of his career. From May through July, his strikeout rate has dipped under 25 percent, a clear sign of progress.
2B/3B Kean Wong: 98 PA, .282/.371/.400, 11 R, 8 XBH, 10 RBI, 3/6 SB
After a slow start this season that resulted in a brief demotion back to Double A, Wong has been solid the last couple months. He walked 12 times in July after only walking 14 times total over the first three months.
1B Vincent Byrd: 63 PA, .370/.397/.519, 6 R, 6 XBH, 13 RBI
The Gulf Coast League can be a hard place to hit, but Byrd didn’t have much of a problem collecting seven multi-hit games out of the 17 he played in July. Maybe the 6-foot-7, 240-pound first baseman can show more power in a different league.
OF Carl Chester: 128 PA, .369/.484/.485, 32 R, 9 XBH, 12 RBI, 9/14 SB
Chester started his professional career with three two-hit games, and a late-month promotion to Hudson Valley could not slow him down. He had an absurd 22 walks to 11 strikeouts during July.
1B Devin Davis: 101 PA, .284/.376/.580, 15 R, 6 HR, 14 XBH, 25 RBI, 2/2 SB
The Rays got Davis to sign as a 25th-round pick in 2015, and he could be in the midst of a breakout season with Princeton in the newly offensively charged Appalachian League. His six homers were tied for second in the organization with Garrett Whitley.
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 111 PA, .353/.396/.510, 20 R, 12 XBH, 2 HR, 19 RBI
Hernandez has been slump-proof in 2017, having never gone hitless in consecutive games. In addition to his offensive prowess, he’s thrown out 59 percent of attempted base stealers so far.
OF Jake Stone: 59 PA, .220/.339/.400, 9 R, 2 HR, 4 XBH, 4 RBI
Among everyday players with the GCL Rays, Stone is third in OPS. He had a slow start to the month but finished strong with hits in five straight games.
SS Taylor Walls: 108 PA, .262/.407/.369, 11 R, 7 XBH, 13 RBI, 4/4 SB
Walls showed a lot of promise early in his Florida State career, but he never quite built on his early success. He’s been an on-base threat, just like he was with the Seminoles in the postseason this summer.
RHP Yonny Chirinos: 39 IP, 1.62 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 28.7 K%, 4.0 BB%
After a bit of a stumble in June, Chirinos was back in fine form in July. He earned a win in five of his six starts, and he only allowed more than one earned run once during the month.
RHP Edwin Fierro: 25 IP, 1.44 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17.5 K%, 3.0 BB%
Prior to July, Fierro had been a reliever for nearly his entire career. He’s filled in admirably in Montgomery’s rotation the last few weeks and had three scoreless, five-inning outings in July.
RHP Ian Gibaut: 15 1⁄3 IP, 1.76 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 28.8 K%, 11.9 BB%
Gibaut still has to work to lower his walk rate, but it hasn’t stopped him from consistently pitching effectively this season. He had at least one strikeout in ten of his 13 July appearances.
RHP Brent Honeywell: 22 IP, 1.23 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 36.5 K%, 7.1 BB%
The Call Up has still eluded Honeywell, but it’s certainly not for a lack of quality outings. The Futures Game MVP had two scoreless starts and also struck out 11 in five innings another time out.
RHP Spencer Jones: 11 1⁄3 IP, 3.18 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 27.9 K%, 7.0 BB%
After not allowing a run in June, Jones continued to pitch effectively for the Stone Crabs in July. In addition to his good strikeout rate, he keeps the ball on the ground well.
RHP Reece Karalus: 19 2⁄3 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 17.3 K%, 8.6 BB%
Karalus allowed runs in two of his seven July appearances for Charlotte, but his finest game came on July 20 when he struck out five in five scoreless frames against Tampa.
RHP Adrian Navas: 34 IP, 2.12 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 23.5 K%, 4.5 BB%
Navas was poor for most of the first three months of the season, but he was reliable for Bowling Green in July, aside from a start in which he allowed three home runs. Improved control was the key for him.
RHP Willy Ortiz: 32 IP, 0.56 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 19.9 K%, 7.4 BB%
Ortiz baffled Midwest League hitters all month. In five starts, he allowed just two runs., and he lasted at least six innings in all of his starts.
RHP Tyler Day: 19 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 14.9 K%, 8.1 BB%
Day’s strikeout rate hasn’t overwhelmed so far, but he’s been able to generate a lot of ground balls. The 19th-round pick has found early success with Princeton.
RHP Miguel Lara: 19 1/3 IP, 1.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 21.0 K%, 11.1 BB%
Lara has had an interesting season. He has two eight-strikeout appearances in the Gulf Coast League, but he hasn’t struck out three in any of his other games. It’s the Dominican righty’s first season in the U.S.
LHP Luis Moncada: 17 2/3 IP, 3.57 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 17.1 K%, 9.2 BB%
Moncada was roughed up in two June appearances, but he turned his season around in five July appearances (two starts). Pitching in the Appalachian League has not been easy this season.
LHP Ivan Pelaez: 15 1/3 IP, 1.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 17.2 K%, 6.9 BB%
The team’s 33rd-round pick developed a reputation for throwing strikes as an amateur, and that’s been true for Pelaez in his brief professional career so far too.
RHP Drew Strotman: 22 1/3 IP, 2.01 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 26.5 K%, 4.8 BB%
In his first professional start, Strotman threw five scoreless innings. His next time out, he held his opponent hitless for six innings. He didn’t allow a run in three of his five appearances in July.
RHP Mikey York: 22 IP, 0.82 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 24.7 K%, 2.5 BB%
York did not receive the attention Austin Franklin did as part of the Rays’ 2016 draft class, but he has been one of the most effective pitchers in the New York-Penn League this season.