RHP Chih-Wei Hu (6’0 220, 24 in 2018)
2017 statistics with Tampa Bay: 10 IP, 2.70 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 10.0 BB%, 22.5 K%
2017 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 61 2/3 IP, 3.06 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 4.8 BB%, 22.9 K%
After three starts with Durham in 2017, Hu was called up to make his major league debut out of the bullpen in late April. The Rays liked him in relief, and that’s the role he stayed in when he was soon sent back to the minors. He continued pitching effectively, although his strikeout rate didn’t jump as it does for many pitchers making that switch. In the majors, his fastball averaged 93.5 mph, and he also leaned on his changeup, evaluated by Baseball America ($) to be the best in the organization.
Hu is the fourth straight winner to not reach double-digit votes or 30 percent of the vote. Will some of his fellow pitchers from Durham’s staff be next?
2018 Community prospect list
|1||RHP Brent Honeywell||24||33||72.7%||2|
|2||SS Willy Adames||23||24||95.8%||1|
|3||1B/LHP Brendan McKay||16||34||47.1%||N/A|
|4||OF Jesus Sanchez||26||35||74.3%||9|
|5||1B/OF Jake Bauers||29||39||74.4%||4|
|6||OF Justin Williams||24||35||68.6%||17|
|7||IF Christian Arroyo||19||38||50.0%||N/A|
|8||OF Garrett Whitley||15||36||41.7%||15|
|9||LHP Anthony Banda||Special||election||N/A|
|10||RHP Jose De Leon||15||33||45.5%||3|
|11||OF Joshua Lowe||13||30||43.3%||7|
|12||SS Lucius Fox||16||36||44.4%||13|
|13||SS Wander Franco||13||35||37.1%||N/A|
|14||RHP Austin Franklin||17||33||51.5%||22|
|15||RHP Tobias Myers||11||32||34.4%||N/A|
|16||2B Nick Solak||Special||election||N/A|
|17||RHP Michael Mercado||7||27||25.9%||N/A|
|18||1B/OF Joe McCarthy||9||33||27.3%||25|
|19||2B Brandon Lowe||7||31||22.6%||N/R|
|20||RHP Chih-Wei Hu||8||28||28.6%||6|
|21||RHP Jaime Schultz||9||32||28.1%||12|
|22||C Ronaldo Hernandez||11||30||36.7%||N/R|
|23||RHP Diego Castillo||9||25||36.0%||50|
|24||RHP Yonny Chirinos||12||28||42.9%||41|
|25||2B Vidal Brujan||10||28||35.7%||N/R|
|26||RHP Ryne Stanek||8||25||32.0%||20|
|27||LHP Resly Linares||7||26||26.9%||47|
|28||LHP Genesis Cabrera||12||27||44.4%||23|
|29||3B Kevin Padlo||9||27||33.3%||14|
|30||LHP Ryan Yarbrough||13||29||44.8%||19|
|31||LHP Brock Burke||N/R|
|32||RHP Drew Strotman||N/A|
|33||SS Jermaine Palacios||N/A|
|34||C Brett Sullivan||26|
|35||C Nick Ciuffo||24|
|36||OF Ryan Boldt||38|
|37||IF Carlos Vargas||27|
|38||3B Adrian Rondon||11|
|39||LHP Travis Ott||40|
|40||RHP Curtis Taylor||N/A|
LHP Genesis Cabrera (6’1 170, 21 in 2018)
2017 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery: 134 1/3 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.1 BB%, 19.5 K%
Cabrera pitched very well again in 2017, even reaching Double A with Montgomery. Only three pitchers were younger than him in the Southern League. He has good stuff, led by his 92-93 mph fastball that can touch 97. He complements his heater with a good slider that has made him tough on lefties. He needs to develop a third pitch and improve his command.
RHP Diego Castillo (6’3 240, 24 in 2018)
2017 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 71 2⁄3 IP, 2.76 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 6.8 BB%, 30.6 K%
Except for a spot start in July last season, Castillo has been a reliever his entire professional career. He was already 20 when the Rays signed him in 2014, making him extraordinarily old for an international free agent. It cost just $64,000 to sign him, and that appears to be a bargain. His fastball has been recorded as high as 101 mph, and he has a good breaking ball to go along with it. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and could help the bullpen in 2018.
RHP Yonny Chirinos (6’2 170, 24 in 2018)
2017 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 168 1⁄3 IP, 2.73 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 4.0 BB%, 21.7 K%
Once again, Chirinos was one of the most effective pitchers in the organization, and this time, the Rays wouldn’t risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft, adding him to the 40-man roster. In 474 1⁄3 career innings, including 55 in the offensively inclined Venezuelan Summer League, he owns a 2.75 ERA. His strikeout rate improved five percent last season. Piecing together tidbits on him from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus ($), he throws a low-90s fastball with a slider and splitter.
C Ronaldo Hernandez (R/R, 6’1 185, 20 in 2018)
2017 statistics with rookie-level Princeton: 246 PA, .332/.382/.507, 5 HR, 28 XBH, 6.5 BB%, 15.9 K%
Hernandez is the latest in a long line of promising young catchers in the Rays’ organization. He was 20th in the Appalachian League in OPS, but only three players in front of him were also under 20 years old. He has impressive power potential, and despite still being such a young player, he’s already showing it in games with all the doubles he hit. He makes good contact with a nice plate approach. He has a good arm and the ability to stay behind the plate.
LHP Resly Linares (6’2 170, 20 in 2018)
2017 statistics with short-season Hudson Valley: 61 1/3 IP, 2.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.4 BB%, 24.5 K%
In his second season pitching in the U.S., Linares improved immensely in 2017. He allowed 36 hits in 61 1⁄3 innings after allowing 40 hits in just 32 innings the previous season with Princeton. His walk rate increased, but he was very effective in a rotation that featured higher-profile arms like Brendan McKay and Austin Franklin. He throws a good curveball and his changeup has some promise, and he’ll need to add some velocity to his average fastball as he gets stronger.
SS Jelfry Marte (S/R, 5’11 170, 17 in 2018)
No 2017 statistics
The Twins initially signed Marte for $3 million, but that agreement was later voided due to a vision issue discovered in his physical. That allowed the Rays to scoop him up for a reported $800,000. He’s an athlete who has the ability to become an impressive defender at shortstop. He’s a good basestealer. At the plate, he’s a line-drive hitter but may not develop much power.
3B Kevin Padlo (R/R, 6’2 205, 21 in 2018)
2017 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 259 PA, .223/.324/.391, 6 HR, 22 XBH, 13.5 BB%, 23.2 K%
In his second season in the organization, Padlo struggled, but the hamate injury he sustained in May could be a significant mitigating factor. That injury is known to sap power from a player, and his .082 ISO in the Arizona Fall League would certainly suggest that. He’s known for his power potential, but he’ll have to cut down on his strikeouts to tap into his power in games more often. For a big guy, he’s not a bad athlete and fields his position well.
RHP Jaime Schultz (5’10 200, 27 in 2018)
2017 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 11 2⁄3 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.0 BB%, 42.0 K%
Schultz almost certainly would’ve made his big league debut in 2017 had a persistent groin injury not sidelined him for much of the season. It was not the first groin injury of his career. In his limited work with Durham, he pitched out of the bullpen for the first time, and he was electric, striking out more than two batters out of every five he faced. If he throws strikes with his mid-90s fastball and plus breaking ball, he can be a dominant reliever.
LHP Ryan Yarbrough (6’5 205, 26 in 2018)
2017 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 157 1⁄3 IP, 3.43 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 6.0 BB%, 24.7 K%)
In his first season in the organization after arriving from Seattle in the Drew Smyly trade, Yarbrough was very good for Durham, putting himself in a position to reach the majors in 2018. He led the International League in strikeouts and was third in innings. He’s tall and throws a low-90s sinker, although he oddly allowed 20 home runs after only allowing 15 in his career up to that point. His changeup is his second best pitch, and he’s working on his slider.