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Rays Top 50 Prospects: No. 43, Tristan Gray

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Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Recently acquired in trade with the Pirates as part of the Daniel Hudson deal for Corey Dickerson, the next guy on our list will likely jump much higher by mid-season.

No.43, 2B Tristan Gray, 21 years old

Born: Mar 22nd, 1996 in Houston, TX

Height/Weight: 6’3” 185 lbs Bats/Throws: L/R

Signed: by Pirates after being selected in 13th rd of 2017 draft, for $125,000

Twitter handle: @TristanGray09

Twitter profile statement: “Tampa Bay Rays , Elkins Knight for life| Follower of Christ”

Baseball America Rankings

  • Not ranked on Pirates Top 30 pre-trade or Rays Top 30 post-trade
  • However, Gray was noted as having one of the better pro debuts, being tied for the lead in the New York Penn (NYP) league with 25 extra-base hits
  • Ranked 19th among NYP prospects
  • Not ranked among BA’s Top 500 pre-draft

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 35th
  • Low: 55th

Tristan Gray: Abilities

  • Athleticism and Versatility
  • Strong arm
  • Good speed but not a burner
  • Developing power
  • Abilities notes: Tristan didn’t get much coverage either pre-draft or among top 30 rankings list in 2017, but with a solid start to 2018 that could change very quickly.

Joined the Rays by way of....

Trade, along with RHP Daniel Hudson and Cash considerations, in return for Corey Dickerson.

Latest Transaction: After the trade, Feb 22nd, assigned to Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Note: The assignment to Charlotte doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll begin the season there, as camp will dictate where everyone gets assigned.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

  • His father, Jason Gray, played for the Texas Rangers after being selected by them in the 26th round of the 2000 draft.
  • In 2017 while with Rice University batting 5th or 6th in the lineup, tied for lead with eight HR, third in BA (.313), SLG (.540) and doubles (16).
  • Finished 6th in OPS within the NYP league (.815), one spot ahead of Vidal Brujan (.793)
  • While Brujan led the NYP with 108 TB, Gray finished a solid 3rd with 101 (Nolan Jones, ranked 4th among Indians prospects, finished 2nd with 105).
  • Made the NYP Mid-Season All-Star team and earned the NYP All-Star Game Top Star award.

Stats

Tristan Gray 2017

GP 53
GP 53
PA 235
AB 208
Hits 56
Doubles 12
Triples 6
Home Runs 7
RBI 37
SB (CS) 5 (7)
AVG 0.269
OBP 0.329
SLG 0.486
OPS 0.815
BB% 8.1 %
SO% 13.6 %
ISO 0.216
BAbip 0.285
wOBA 0.376
wRC+ 140

Stats Notes: Hit .274/.318/.532 vs LHP and .267/.333/.466 vs RHP, but more impressively hit .323/.375/.613 with RISP.

Interesting Comparison: Daniel Murphy

  • Selected in the same round (13th), both Murphy and Gray were initially noted for good athleticism but had their detractors pre-draft. Both have good power, and both run well but are not expected to steal a ton of bases.
  • Both are taller than most at 2B and hit from the left side, and both had immediate success despite being selected outside the top 10 rounds.
  • Interestingly, Murphy also got his first taste of pro ball in the NYP and was subsequently promoted to HiA, which is where - it seems - Gray may begin 2018.
  • Finally, both Murphy and Gray had questions on where they’ll wind up positionally speaking if and when they reach MLB.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

It’s amazing what a short time in pro-ball can do for a prospect’s profile. Coming out of the draft, nobody would have predicted what Gray managed to accomplish in the NYP league, but he’s put himself squarely on the map now that he did exceed expectations.

So what does that mean going forward? Well, he’s going to have to battle within one of the strongest infield prospect laden teams in MLB, which brings a few thoughts to mind.

Although many still project Gray as a 2B, I think there’s a fair chance that he gets a look at 3B, both to increase his versatility and to see whether or not he can play the position long term. He spent the last month of the 2017 season at SS and has the arm for 3B to go with the size.

When you look through the Rays system behind Kevin Padlo, who is likely headed to Double-A, it gets fairly thin at 3B and after struggling through much of 2017, there’s reason to believe Adrian Rondon will repeat the Low-A level.

Even if it doesn’t work out to the point where he can stick there in a full time role, increasing Gray’s versatility by giving him experience at the hot corner - to go along with 2B and SS experience - may increase his toolset and likeliness of landing a utility role in the future.

And with the power he managed in 2017, as you can see below, he’s an intriguing prospect to monitor in 2018. If all goes well, he could continue to surprise many.

Tristan Gray: Spotlight Videos

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 50 Rays Prospects

*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list