1B Nate Lowe (L/R, 6’4 235, 23 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte, Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham: 555 PA, .330/.416/.548, 27 HR, 60 XBH, 12.3 BB%, 16.2 K%
Prior to 2018, Lowe had 11 home runs in 757 plate appearances. An adjustment to his swing allowed the 2016 13th-round pick to tap into plus power and emerge as one of the organization’s top sluggers. He did it with a great plate approach, and his .330 average was third among Rays minor leaguers. He will have to hit because he doesn’t offer much on the bases or in the field.
I can’t imagine we’re going to have another vote quite like that one again this offseason. As has been discussed, there’s no telling which direction the list is going to go in now.
2019 Community prospect list
|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|
RHP Shane Baz (6’3 190, 20 in 2019)
2018 statistics with rookie-level Bristol and rookie-level Princeton: 52 1⁄3 IP, 4.47 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 11.9 BB%, 24.2 K%
Acquired in the Chris Archer trade, Baz has some of the best stuff in the system, but he is young and has quite a bit of work to do in order to move up the organization. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s and can touch higher, and his secondary offerings have promise as well, particularly his slider, which Baseball America rates as the best in the organization ($). He has struggled with control so far in his pro career, however.
SS Lucius Fox (S/R, 6’1 180, 21 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery: 524 PA, .268/.351/.341, 20 2B, 29/38 SB, 9.5 BB%, 18.9 K%
Like 2017, Fox had a solid season repeating the level he was at the previous season and then struggled to close the year at a tougher level. His overall statistics were strikingly similar, but for a player whose offensive game is predicated on speed and contact, it’s good that he cut down on his strikeout rate. Both Baseball America ($) and Keith Law (ESPN $) spoke positively about his defense.
OF Moises Gomez (R/R, 5’11 200, 20 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 516 PA, .280/.328/.503, 19 HR, 60 XBH, 6.6 BB%, 26.6 K%
On a team with Vidal Brujan, Ronaldo Hernandez, and Brendan McKay, Gomez could have been overlooked, but his performance couldn’t be ignored. He owned just 12 professional home runs in three seasons prior to 2018, but he started hitting for power in games and was one of the Midwest League’s top sluggers. Moving forward, he has to improve his pitch recognition and defense.
LHP Resly Linares (6’2 170, 21 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 84 1⁄3 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 7.3 BB%, 28.2 K%
Linares was one of the Rays’ more effective pitching prospects last season, but a trip to the DL that cost him 1 1⁄2 months limited him to 84 1⁄3 innings. In his second start of the season, he threw seven no-hit innings, and over the course of the season, he was able to increase his strikeout rate and reduce his walk rate compared to 2017. His curveball is his best pitch, and he has room to add strength and improve his average fastball velocity.
LHP Shane McClanahan (6’1 188, 22 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Gulf Coast League Rays and rookie-level Princeton: 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 4.2 BB%, 54.2 K%
McClanahan was once viewed as one of the top players available in the 2018 draft, but inconsistent performances over the second half of the college season caused him to drop to the No. 31 pick. He has impressive velocity from the left side with a fastball that can touch 100 mph, and his slider and changeup show promise. He struggles when he loses control of his pitches, and he already has a Tommy John surgery to his name.
OF Nick Schnell (L/R, 6’3 180, 19 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Gulf Coast League Rays: 82 PA, .239/.378/.373, 1 HR, 6 XBH, 2/8 SB, 17.1 BB%, 28.0 K%
Schnell was the Rays’ third first-round pick in the 2018 draft, but it’s hard to glean much from his pro debut since he only played in 19 games — other than hopefully he steals bases more efficiently in the future. In that debut, he played mostly center field, but that may not last. If it doesn’t, he has the power potential to profile in a corner outfield position, and he has a good arm too.
2B Nick Solak (R/R, 5’11 175, 24 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Double-A Montgomery: 565 PA, .282/.384/.450, 19 HR, 39 XBH, 21/27 SB, 12.0 BB%, 19.8 K%
He plays similar positions and played together with No. 4 prospect Brandon Lowe for a while this season, but they’re not particularly comparable players. Solak has a more contact-oriented approach and doesn’t have the same power potential. However, he is a better athlete and stole a career-high 21 bases. He’s a versatile defender who learned center field in 2018.