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.
After a couple upper-minors hitters, we’ve now had consecutive highly touted pitchers be selected for the list. It’s possible Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz pitch in the same rotation next season.
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|
LHP Anthony Banda (6’2 190, 25 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Tampa Bay: 14 2⁄3 IP, 3.68 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 5.4 BB%, 17.9 K%
2018 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 42 IP, 3.64 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 9.9 BB%, 26.9 K%
Banda was one of two players acquired by the Rays immediately in the Steven Souza Jr. trade. With Durham, his strikeout rate was higher than it’s ever been, but he still walked too many batters. After a few solid appearances in the majors and a return to the minors, he underwent Tommy John surgery and could miss all of 2019. In the majors, he leaned heavily on his 94 mph fastball, and his changeup and breaking ball have above-average potential.
CF/RHP Tanner Dodson (S/R, 6’1 160, 22 in 2019)
2018 statistics with short-season Hudson Valley: 224 PA, .273/.344/.369, 2 HR, 12 XBH, 8/11 SB, 8.9 BB%, 15.2 K% — 25 IP, 1.44 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 5.4 BB%, 26.9 K%
Dodson is generally viewed more favorably as a pitcher, but he showed promise as a hitter in his pro debut. He’s a very good athlete and uses that to his advantage at the plate by putting the ball in play and working his way on base. On the mound, he became more effective after a permanent switch to the bullpen. He throws a lot of strikes with a mid-90s fastball and potentially plus slider.
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 $) spoke positively about his defense.
OF Moises Gomez (R/R, 5’11 200, 20 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 516 PA, .280/.328/.503, 19 HR, 60 XBH, 6.6 BB%, 26.6 K%
On a team with Vidal Brujan, Ronaldo Hernandez, and Brendan McKay, Gomez could have been overlooked, but his performance couldn’t be ignored. He owned just 12 professional home runs in three seasons prior to 2018, but he started hitting for power in games and was one of the Midwest League’s top sluggers. Moving forward, he has to improve his pitch recognition and defense.
LHP Resly Linares (6’2 170, 21 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 84 1⁄3 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 7.3 BB%, 28.2 K%
Linares was one of the Rays’ more effective pitching prospects last season, but a trip to the DL that cost him 1 1⁄2 months limited him to 84 1⁄3 innings. In his second start of the season, he threw seven no-hit innings, and over the course of the season, he was able to increase his strikeout rate and reduce his walk rate compared to 2017. His curveball is his best pitch, and he has room to add strength and improve his average fastball velocity.
OF Josh Lowe (L/R, 6’4 205, 21 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 455 PA, .238/.322/.361, 6 HR, 34 XBH, 18/24 SB, 10.3 BB%, 25.7 K%
Josh Lowe has the best tools out of all the Lowes in the organization (Baseball America ($), but they haven’t been consistently put to use in game action in his pro career. BA rated him as the best defensive outfielder in the organization, and he has the power potential to profile in a corner position if that’s where he winds up. However, he hasn’t hit for much power in games yet, and he’s going to have to make more consistent contact.
OF Joe McCarthy (L/L, 6’3 225, 25 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 191 PA, .269/.377/.513, 8 HR, 22 XBH, 13.1 BB%, 22.5 K%
McCarthy was limited to 47 games with Durham, although he did recoup some of those missed plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League. When he did play, he showed a significant increase in power — tying a career high in home runs despite only getting half as many plate appearances — and still got on base at a high rate. When he’s healthy, he’s a decent athlete who can add value on the bases.
LHP Colin Poche (6’3 185, 25 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Double-A Jackson, Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham: 66 IP, 0.82 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 7.9 BB%, 45.6 K%
Acquired as a player to be named later in the Steven Souza Jr. trade, Poche was the best reliever in minor league baseball in 2018. Only one pitcher with 60 or more innings had a lower ERA, and none had a higher strikeout rate. He was able to do that with average fastball velocity and an above-average breaking ball, but thanks to his high-spin invisiball, he was nearly untouchable last season.
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.