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Rays featured in Baseball America, ESPN midseason top-prospect lists

The rise of Wander Franco and addition of Matthew Liberatore have bolstered an already strong farm system.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Louisville vs TCU
Despite an injury that cost him about a month, Brendan McKay is still one of the top prospects in baseball
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

This week, Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law ($) released an updated top-100 and top-50 prospects list, respectively. Each list received significant updates with the addition of 2018 draft picks.

BA’s list features the following Rays:

9. SS Willy Adames
16. RHP Brent Honeywell
26. SS Wander Franco
34. 1B Jake Bauers
38. 1B/LHP Brendan McKay
44. OF Jesus Sanchez
80. LHP Matthew Liberatore
86. C Ronaldo Hernandez

Law’s list includes a similar group:

16. 1B/LHP Brendan McKay
17. SS Wander Franco
27. SS Willy Adames
41. RHP Brent Honeywell
45. LHP Matthew Liberatore

Subscribers can read all of his player comments, but this regarding Franco stood out: “If you’re looking for the next Vlad Jr. who’s going to be in the No. 1 overall discussion and might see the majors before he turns 20, this is your guy.”

Franco is just 17 and has only played in 25 professional games, but it’s impossible to ignore what he’s done so far. The Rays have paid big bonuses to international players before, and the early returns indicate Franco is going to be more than worth the investment.

Had Law extended his list to 100, Hernandez would have been there:

Like Franco, Liberatore is another recent addition already making headlines. Although he lasted until the No. 16 pick, he was ranked as the No. 2 player in the class by BA and No. 3 by Law.