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Fangraphs releases top Rays prospects list for 2018

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(Finally!)

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Christian Arroyo is the likely 3B of the future
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fangraphs has had a slow roll out of their top prospect lists after the re-acquisition of Kiley McDaniel, but the Rays list is finally here with a notably reasonable approach.

The full list tops out with 34 names, those with a 45-grade projection are listed below.

  1. Willy Adames, SS — 60
  2. Brent Honeywell, RHP — 60
  3. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B — 60
  4. Jake Bauers, RF — 50
  5. Jesus Sanchez, RF — 50
  6. Wander Franco, SS — 50
  7. Anthony Banda, LHP — 50
  8. Christian Arroyo, 3B — 50
  9. Nick Solak, 2B — 45
  10. Josh Lowe, CF — 45
  11. Joe McCarthy, OF — 45
  12. Vidal Brujan, 2B — 45
  13. Resly Linares, LHP — 45
  14. Tobias Myers, RHP — 45
  15. Lucius Fox, SS — 45
  16. Brandon Lowe, 2B — 45
  17. Justin Williams, OF — 45
  18. Ronaldo Hernandez, C — 45
  19. Garrett Whitley, OF — 45
  20. Jose DeLeon, RHP — 45

Most of these names our readers will know.

Among the youngest prospects, Franco gets the biggest nod by outpacing MLB ready Banda and Arroyo in the 50-grade prospects. The switch hitting infielder has a lot of noise but prevailing optimism that this write up captures well.

This list is also notably nigh on Linares, and low on LHP Genesis Cabrera, who they project to a relief role (which typically earns FV grades of 40). With that in mind, I’ll note two names I think are missing the 45 grade cutoff on FG’s list: No. 21 Diego Castillo, whose triple digit heat and best-in-system slider project him as the Rays future closer, and No. 22 Yonny Chirinos, who added a split-change in July of last year that has elevated his game against major league hitters enough to win him a rotation spot in 2018.

There’s much to read in the article itself, but I will also highlight the System Overview for posterity here:

System Overview

Put simply, this is one of the best farm systems in baseball. The abrupt teardown during spring training was dismaying, and it’s unfortunate that the front office is forced to operate this way by ownership’s supposed lack of funds, but not only are there real reasons for Rays fans to be optimistic, but it’s possible that the Rays will have the most fascinating roster construction in baseball two or three years from now. We can already see the glut of second- and third-base types on the 40-man roster. There are five more players of that ilk on this list and a few others in the honorable-mention section. If you’re betting on which team moves to some kind of amorphous, positionless style of baseball, this franchise seems like the favorite.

This system is also going to be at least five names deeper in a few months. The Rays still have a PTBNL coming from Arizona to complete the Steven Souza deal and the names on the list are rumored to be pretty interesting. They also pick 16th, 31st, and 32nd in June’s draft and are the favorites to land projectable Dominican SS Alejandro Pie in the upcoming international signing period. This club’s future looks quite bright, though it might take better funding for it to be sustainable once this system starts bearing fruit.

With that optimism ringing in your ears: Go read the full list and write up.