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Fangraphs releases top Rays prospects list for 2019

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The Wander Franco love is real

FanGraphs has released their top Rays prospects for 2019, and has expanded their list from 34 last year to a whopping 54, including twenty-one prospects with a 45 Future Value grade or better.

The full list is as follows:

1. SS Wander Franco - 65

2. LHP/1B Brendan McKay - 60

3. RHP Brent Honeywell - 55

4. 2B Vidal Brujan - 55

5. 2B Brandon Lowe - 50

6. RF Jesus Sanchez - 50

7. C Ronaldo Hernandez - 50

8. LHP Matthew Liberatore - 50

9. 2B Nick Solak - 50

10. RHP Shane Baz - 50

11. SS Lucius Fox - 45+

12. 1B Nathaniel Lowe - 45+

13. RF Moises Gomez - 45

14. LF Joe McCarthy - 45

15. CF Josh Lowe - 45

16. SS Taylor Walls - 45

17. LHP Resly Linares - 45

18. LHP Anthony Banda - 45

19. CF Nick Schnell - 45

20. LHP Shane McClanahan - 45

21. 2B Tyler Frank - 45

22. RHP Jose De Leon - 40+

23. RHP Drew Strotman - 40+

24. LHP Colin Poche - 40+

25. CF Garrett Whitley - 40+

26. RHP/CF Tanner Dodson - 40+

27. SS Jelfry Marte - 40

28. SS Alejandro Pie - 40

29. RHP Tobias Myers - 40

30. RHP Ian Gibaut - 40

31. C Michael Perez - 40

32. RHP Joe Peguero - 40

33. C Nick Ciuffo - 40

34. LHP Matt Krook - 40

35. 2B Alberto Figuereo - 40

36. LF Ryan Boldt - 40

37. RHP Curtis Taylor - 40

38. C Chris Betts - 40

39. SS Abiezel Ramirez - 40

40. 2B Kean Wong - 40

41. 2B Tristan Gray - 40

42. SS Jermaine Palacios - 40

43. RHP Orlando Romero - 40

44. RHP Miguel Lara - 40

45. RHP Michael Mercado - 40

46. RHP Sandy Gaston - 40

47. RHP Austin Franklin - 35+

48. SS Ford Proctor - 35+

49. SS Osmy Gregorio - 35+

50. RHP Taj Bradley - 35+

51. RHP Matthew Peguero - 35+

52. RF Grant Witherspoon - 35+

53. C Edgardo Rodriguez - 35+

54. RHP Victor Munoz - 35+

There’s a lot to unpack in the mammoth article from FanGraphs (which certainly tops 14,000 words), with full paragraphs and grades on all 54 players above, but we have to begin with the praise for Wander Franco, who is now earning Evan Longoria comparisons at age-17:

The raw tools are accordingly loud, and match his stats: at least a plus hit tool with explosive bat speed, elite bat and body control, and an advanced sense of the zone to go along with plus raw power, plus speed, a plus arm, and a real chance to stick at shortstop. Franco is about as close as you’ll see to a perfect prospect at this point

[...]

Rays officials have likened their immediate impression of Franco, as a player and person, to Evan Longoria. Teammates respond to him, and there isn’t even a whiff of the makeup concern some scouts conjured up as an amateur. Franco seems to be the sole author of his potential at this point.

FanGraphs is not projecting a meteoric rise through the system, like has been seen with Juan Soto, and that has to do with both the player and the system, but it’s clear that Franco is the crown jewel.

After Franco there’s still a ton to unpack, including the leap of 2B Brandon Low to No. 5 on the list, the 70 grade arm of Hernandez and feet of Fox, and potential grade of pitches by Liberatore and Poche and Joe Peguero(!).

What write ups and grades stand out to you? Read the full write up from Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel here. and discuss in the comments below.