C Ronaldo Hernandez (R/R, 6’1 185, 21 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 449 PA, .284/.339/.494, 21 HR, 42 XBH, 10/14 SB, 6.9 BB%, 15.4 K%
Hernandez was a star with Princeton in 2017, and he was nearly as good in his full-season debut in 2018. He was second among minor league catchers in home runs (Baseball America $). He makes consistent contact as well. However, he has a lot of work to do behind the plate. His plus arm helps him manage the run game, but he has to improve his receiving to stick at catcher.
Ronaldo Hernandez could finally be the Rays’ long-term solution at catcher. He still has a lot of work to do behind the plate, but time is certainly still on his side.
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.
2B Vidal Brujan (S/R, 5’9 155, 21 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 548 PA, .320/.403/.453, 55/74 SB, 9 HR, 41 XBH, 11.5 BB%, 12.4 K%
Brujan was second in the minors in steals, and he had the most steals in the organization since Andrew Toles had 62 in 2013. His game is built around that impressive speed. He has a swing geared toward line drives, and he has a great plate approach that helps him get on base as much as possible. Defensively, he’s fine at second base and could probably play center field thanks to his athleticism.
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.
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.
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.
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.