Welcome back to the monthly featuring allowing you to choose the best of the Rays organization. We’re now considering the top players of August and September.
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
July: 1B Dalton Kelly, RHP Brent Honeywell, C Ronaldo Hernandez, RHP Drew Strotman
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.
SS Willy Adames: 140 PA, .317/.374/.444, 16 R, 10 XBH, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 3/5 SB
Adames went through a slow start to the season, but he finished strong and finished with similar numbers to his breakout 2016 season. Over the final month, he was Durham’s best hitter.
IF Michael Brosseau: 104 PA, .315/.413/.393, 16 R, 5 XBH, 11 RBI, 4/8 SB
A late-season promotion to Charlotte did not stop Brosseau from hitting. In his minor league career since the Rays signed him as an undrafted free agent last year, he’s batted .320 with a .405 on-base percentage.
C Nick Ciuffo: 106 PA, .275/.368/.396, 14 R, 9 XBH, 13 RBI
Ciuffo’s overall numbers don’t jump out, but progress was clearly made at the plate this season. He more than doubled his career home run total and nearly did the same with his walks.
1B Nathaniel Lowe: 102 PA, .307/.402/.477, 12 R, 10 XBH, 2 HR, 19 RBI
Over the final month, Lowe had hitting streaks of five, five and six games. He didn’t hit for the typical power from a first baseman, but he was on base pretty consistently for Bowling Green and Charlotte.
C Rene Pinto: 118 PA, .309/.339/.427, 14 R, 11 2B, 17 RBI
Pinto finished the season strong after missing about a month on the disabled list. His OPS after his DL stint was 100 points higher than it was before he got hurt. His 11 doubles led the organization.
IF Daniel Robertson: 47 PA, .372/.426/.488, 7 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
He didn’t stand out in his major league time this season, but he showed the promise the Rays see in him in his brief stint with Durham late in the season. He had five multi-hit games out of 11 with the Bulls.
OF Jesus Sanchez: 116 PA, .318/.362/.477, 21 R, 9 XBH, 4 HR, 16 RBI
Sanchez was one of the top breakout players in the organization this season, and he finished strong. Over the final five games in particular, he batted .421 with a 1.005 OPS and didn’t strike out.
OF Justin Williams: 125 PA, .321/.400/.624, 21 R, 17 XBH, 8 HR, 31 RBI
If Williams becomes a regular big leaguer, his last month of 2017 may be looked at as the turning point of his career. In addition to his three-homer game, he had 14 walks and just 10 strikeouts during the month.
2B Vidal Brujan: 149 PA, .294/.395/.397, 29 R, 9 2B, 11 XBH, 2 RBI, 10/13 SB
The draft additions of Brendan McKay and Taylor Walls got a lot of attention with Hudson Valley, but Brujan, who’s still just 19, did a great job getting on base for the Renegades all season.
1B Devin Davis: 113 PA, .293/.363/.495, 17 R, 13 XBH, 3 HR, 17 RBI
Davis could not be stopped in his second season in the Appalachian League. He was the only player in the league with double-digit home runs and 20-plus doubles.
IF Trey Hair: 118 PA, .320/.415/.620, 20 R, 17 XBH, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 3/3 SB
Along with Davis, Hair provided the thump for Princeton’s lineup for the entire season. He tied Davis for the team lead in home runs with 10 thanks to his late surge.
OF Yerson Santana: 72 PA, .293/.394/.448, 7 R, 6 XBH, 9 RBI
Santana’s second season in the Gulf Coast League didn’t get off to a promising start, but he was a key member of the time over the season’s final month.
OF Jake Stone: 91 PA, .351/.429/.494, 15 R, 9 2B, 10 RBI, 9/10 SB
The Rays had success with Brosseau in undrafted free agency last season, and Stone looks prepared to follow in his footsteps. He led the GCL Rays in OBP and slugging percentage by pretty significant margins.
IF Deion Tansel: 129 PA, .325/.388/.430, 11 R, 8 XBH, 26 RBI, 7/9 SB
Tansel is known more for his glove, but his hot finish to the season helped guide Hudson Valley to the New York-Penn League playoffs.
RHP Yonny Chirinos: 35 IP, 2.31 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 16.2 K%, 4.0 BB%
Except for a down month in June, few pitchers have been as effective as Chirinos has been over the last two seasons. It’s hard to imagine him not getting a big league shot with someone in 2018.
RHP Brent Honeywell: 28 1/3 IP, 2.22 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 27.9 K%, 3.6 BB%
Aside from a brief suspension, Honeywell finished the season strong. When his chance comes, whether it’s 2017, 2018 or 2028, he’ll probably be able to take advantage of it.
RHP Eduar Lopez: 35 1/3 IP, 2.29 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 13.7 K%, 6.8 BB%
Lopez has never had overwhelming strikeout rates since the Rays got him in the David DeJesus trade two years ago, but he generates ground balls and has been an effective pitcher.
LHP Anthony Misiewicz: 28 1⁄3 IP, 3.49 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 21.1 K%, 4.4 BB%
Misiewicz came over in the late-season deal that sent Ryan Garton and Mike Marjama to Seattle. Except for one start when he was hammered for seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, he didn’t allow more than two earned runs in any of his five starts in the organization.
RHP Jose Mujica: 37 1/3 IP, 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 17.6 K%, 8.1 BB%
Mujica wasn’t supposed to pitch for Montgomery this season, but he certainly made the most of his chance. His six starts in August were possibly the best stretch he had in 2017.
RHP Adrian Navas: 30 1⁄3 IP, 1.78 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 24.6 K%, 7.0 BB%
Through June, Midwest League batters owned a .901 OPS against Navas. Over his final 10 starts, that was below .600. Reducing his walk rate and keeping the ball in the park were the keys to his success.
LHP Travis Ott: 26 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 31.9 K%, 7.4 BB%
Ott was last charged with an earned run on July 21. Over his final 16 appearances, he only allowed more than one earned run once. He had a .528 OPS against in that stretch.
RHP Mikey York: 28 IP, 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 22.3 K%, 5.8 BB%
York finished his season with three starts in the Midwest League, and that didn’t stop him from pitching effectively. In 11 starts with Hudson Valley and Bowling Green, he didn’t allow more than two runs in any of his outing.
RHP Trevor Charpie: 15 2⁄3 IP, 1.72 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 20.0 K%, 3.1 BB%
An undrafted free agent, Charpie was the GCL Rays’ most effective reliever and perhaps their best pitcher overall.
RHP Kyle Goodbrand: 15 1⁄3 IP, 1.17 ERA 0.59 WHIP, 36.2 K%, 1.7 BB%
Baseball America ranked Goodbrand as the 387th best prospect in the draft, but the Rays got him with the 1,069th pick. In limited innings, he lowered his walk rate compared to his amateur days.
LHP Brendan McKay: 18 IP, 2.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 25.8 K%, 6.1 BB%
We only saw McKay on the mound in small doses, but he was impressive in those brief glimpses. His development in 2018 will be one of the most interesting stories in all of minor league baseball.
RHP Tobias Myers: 26 1/3 IP, 3.08 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 38.0 K%, 4.0 BB%
People will probably always attach caveats to Myers’ performance because of the trade he was involved in, but that doesn’t take away from how well he pitched in 2017.
RHP Phoenix Sanders: 16 2⁄3 IP, 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 26.1 K%, 5.8 BB%
Sanders was a key cog on a postseason USF team, and he pitched effectively in his pro debut for Princeton.
RHP Michael Mercado: 14 2⁄3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 20.7 K%, 1.7 BB%
Mercado was selected by the Rays 36 picks after they drafted McKay. He was good in his pro debut but didn’t really show strikeout stuff until his last two outings, when he combined for eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.