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2019 DRaysBay Community Prospect No. 4

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For the second straight season, Brendan McKay is the No. 3 prospect in the organization.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Louisville vs Texas A&M Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Previous winner

1B/LHP Brendan McKay (L/L, 6’2 212, 23 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 242 PA, .214/.368/.359, 6 HR, 15 XBH, 18.2 BB%, 21.5 K% — 78 13 IP, 2.41 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 4.7 BB%, 34.4 K%

McKay’s two-way experiment was twice disrupted by oblique injuries, costing him quite a few plate appearances and innings. When he was healthy, he showed more on the mound than he did at the plate. He locates all of his pitches well, including a plus fastball and cutter along with a breaking ball and changeup. As a hitter, he can make good contact and has a strong plate approach, but he didn’t hit for much power in 2018.


This week, there will be two polls. The second one will run on Thursday. Next week, I’m planning on doing them Wednesday and Friday.

2019 Community prospect list

Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
1 SS Wander Franco 39 43 90.7% 13
2 RHP Brent Honeywell 32 49 65.3% 1
3 1B/LHP Brendan McKay 26 53 49.1% 3
4 2B Brandon Lowe 21 50 42.0% 19
5 LHP Matthew Liberatore 13 46 28.3% N/A
6 OF Jesus Sanchez 17 48 35.4% 4
7 C Ronaldo Hernandez 22 44 50.0% 22
8 2B Vidal Brujan 32 48 66.7% 25
9 1B Nate Lowe 32 34 94.1% N/R
10 2B Nick Solak 12 35 34.3% 16
11 LHP Shane McClanahan 11 47 23.4% N/A
12 RHP Shane Baz 12 34 35.3% N/A
13 SS Lucius Fox 14 35 40.0% 12
14 OF Joe McCarthy 16 36 44.4% 18
15 OF Moises Gomez 12 31 38.7% N/R
16 LHP Anthony Banda 12 35 34.3% 9
17 LHP Resly Linares 13 37 35.1% 27
18 OF Josh Lowe 17 33 51.5% 11
19 LHP Colin Poche 20 37 54.1% N/A
20 SS Taylor Walls 15 33 45.5% N/R
21 OF Garrett Whitley 13 35 37.1% 8
22 OF Nick Schnell 15 35 42.9% N/A
23 C Michael Perez 11 33 33.3% N/A
24 RHP Jose De Leon 13 30 43.3% 10
25 RHP Ian Gibaut 14 31 45.2% N/R
26 OF/RHP Tanner Dodson 12 27 44.4% N/A
27 RHP Tobias Myers 10 28 35.7% 15
28 IF Tyler Frank 11 28 39.3% N/A
29 OF Ryan Boldt 12 28 42.9% 36
30 IF Tristan Gray 10 26 38.5% N/R
31 RHP Drew Strotman 32
32 RHP Sandy Gaston N/A
33 C Chris Betts N/R
34 SS Alejandro Pie N/A
35 C Nick Ciuffo 35
36 RHP Austin Franklin 14
37 SS Jelfry Marte N/R
38 RHP Michael Mercado 17
39 RHP Curtis Taylor 40
40 IF Andrew Velazquez N/R

2B Vidal Brujan (S/R, 5’9 155, 21 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 548 PA, .320/.403/.453, 55/74 SB, 9 HR, 41 XBH, 11.5 BB%, 12.4 K%

Brujan was second in the minors in steals, and he had the most steals in the organization since Andrew Toles had 62 in 2013. His game is built around that impressive speed. He has a swing geared toward line drives, and he has a great plate approach that helps him get on base as much as possible. Defensively, he’s fine at second base and could probably play center field thanks to his athleticism.

C Ronaldo Hernandez (R/R, 6’1 185, 21 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 449 PA, .284/.339/.494, 21 HR, 42 XBH, 10/14 SB, 6.9 BB%, 15.4 K%

Hernandez was a star with Princeton in 2017, and he was nearly as good in his full-season debut in 2018. He was second among minor league catchers in home runs (Baseball America $). He makes consistent contact as well. However, he has a lot of work to do behind the plate. His plus arm helps him manage the run game, but he has to improve his receiving to stick at catcher.

LHP Matthew Liberatore (6’5 200, 19 in 2019)

2018 statistics with the Gulf Coast League Rays and rookie-level Princeton: 32 23 IP, 1.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.2 BB%, 29.1 K%

The Rays were fortunate to land Liberatore — one of the top players available — with the No. 16 pick in the 2018 draft. His fastball sits in the low-90s, and he could add to that as he gets stronger. His curveball and changeup could both be plus pitches, and his ability to throw strikes is much better than the usual high school pitcher, although his walk rate was a bit high in his pro debut.

2B Brandon Lowe (L/R, 6’0 185, 24 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Tampa Bay: 148 PA, .233/.324/.450, 6 HR, 14 XBH, 10.8 BB%, 25.7 K%
2018 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 445 PA, .297/.391/.558, 22 HR, 54 XBH, 12.8 BB%, 22.9 K%

Lowe built on a strong 2017 season with an even better 2018, and he earned his first major league opportunity — while narrowly maintaining prospect status entering 2019. He emerged as one of the organization’s top sluggers and had a solid big league debut. Not only does he have above-average power, he should make solid contact as well. He also added defensive versatility by learning left and right field.

OF Jesus Sanchez (L/R, 6’3 210, 21 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery: 488 PA, .282/.324/.433, 11 HR, 45 XBH, 5.3 BB%, 18.9 K%

Sanchez continued his steady progress toward the majors in 2018 and earned a spot in the Futures Game. He has the hit tool and power potential to play a corner-outfield spot, where he belongs defensively. Despite not stealing many bases, he is a good athlete. While he can make contact with a lot of pitches, he has to become more selective, and he will continue to be tested when he returns to Double A in 2019.