IF Tyler Frank (R/R, 6’0 185, 22 in 2019)
2018 statistics with short-season Hudson Valley: 226 PA, .288/.425/.412, 2 HR, 17 XBH, 3/6 SB, 14.6 BB%, 12.4 K%
Frank was a high school teammate of Lucius Fox, our No. 13 prospect. He’s a versatile player. As a professional, he spent significant time at shortstop, third base, and second base. As an amateur, he’s also played catcher and left field. He has a strong plate approach and had more walks than strikeouts in his debut. He makes good contact and could develop a little more power.
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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|
OF Ryan Boldt (L/R, 6’2 210, 24 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Double-A Montgomery: 273 PA, .274/.348/.461, 7 HR, 25 XBH, 12/14 SB, 8.8 BB%, 21.2 K%
Boldt was having another solid season before a broken foot caused him to miss the last two months of the regular season (ESPN $), although he did return for a stint in the Arizona Fall League. For a player with decent size, he never showed any in-game power until 2018, when he hit seven of his 13 professional home runs. He’s a decent athlete and effective basestealer. He has transitioned to mostly playing corner outfield.
C Nick Ciuffo (L/R, 6’0 200, 24 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Tampa Bay: 44 PA, .189/.262/.297, 6.8 BB%, 27.3 K%
2018 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 236 PA, .262/.301/.380, 5 HR, 5.5 BB%, 26.3 K%
After serving a suspension to start the season, Ciuffo’s gradual rise through the system culminated in his major league debut. At the plate, he’s made some progress in recent seasons, and his .262 average was tied for a career high. Behind the plate is where he’ll make a difference. He has a strong arm, and he’s improved in other defensive aspects, like receiving and calling games.
LHP Josh Fleming (6’2 190, 23 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 110 1⁄3 IP, 2.53 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 4.4 BB%, 18.5 K%
Fleming missed the first month of the season, but he was immediately effective when he did debut. He doesn’t have high strikeout rates, but the 2017 fifth-round pick throws a ton of strikes and has posted high groundball rates, particularly in his time with Bowling Green. He reportedly has average stuff.
RHP Sandy Gaston (6’3 200, 17 in 2019)
Signed Nov. 1
Gaston was ranked as Baseball America’s No. 4 player from Cuba available this international signing period ($), and the Rays signed him for $2.61 million. He has touched 100 mph — obviously uncommon at his age — but has little else to offer consistently at this point. His curveball and changeup have potential but need a lot of work. Throwing strikes has often been a problem.
IF Tristan Gray (L/R, 6’3 185, 23 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 496 PA, .238/.300/.419, 38 2B, 13 HR, 53 XBH, 7.9 BB%, 22.8 K%
It took some time for Gray to adjust to the Florida State League after skipping a level, but he settled in and had a solid season, leading the league in doubles. Acquired last year for Corey Dickerson, he’s shown some power so far in his pro career. His versatility may be his most valuable trait. He’s played mostly second base, but he also has experience at shortstop and second base.
RHP Michael Mercado (6’4 160, 20 in 2019)
2018 statistics with short-season Hudson Valley: 50 IP, 5.22 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7.2 BB%, 17.3 K%
In his fifth start of the season, Mercado struck out six in five perfect innings, but outings like that were infrequent. He throws strikes, but his strikeout rate in his brief career is just 17 percent. According to FanGraphs, his stuff has not yet developed from when he was drafted, when he was a projectable right-hander. He works with a low-90s fastball and curveball and changeup with above-average potential.
RHP Riley O’Brien (6’4 170, 24 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green and Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 88 1⁄3 IP, 2.75 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 11.8 BB%, 28.9 K%
In his first full professional season, O’Brien showed impressive versatility, making 13 starts with 12 more appearances out of the bullpen. Opponents had a .537 OPS against him as a reliever and a .605 OPS against him as a starter. Keith Law’s report indicates his fastball velocity has jumped into the mid-90s (ESPN $), but he still has to improve his secondary offerings and throw more strikes.
SS Alejandro Pie (R/R, 6’4 175, 17 in 2019)
Signed July 2
Pie is another highly touted international prospect picked up by the Rays. He signed for $1.4 million. Despite his size, he should have a chance to stick at shortstop thanks to his athleticism, good arm, and instincts in the field. Compared to other international prospects, his in-game performance has been good, and his bat speed suggests he has some power potential. He’ll have to improve his approach.
RHP Drew Strotman (6’3 195, 22 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 46 IP, 3.52 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.5 BB%, 22.8 K%
Strotman was not a particularly effective reliever much of his college career, but after the Rays made him a fourth-round pick in 2017, he immediately became a very effective starter. Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery could cause him to miss all of 2019. When healthy, he works with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a breaking ball with above-average potential, and a potentially average changeup. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his pro career.