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2019 DRaysBay Community Prospect No. 21

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Taylor Walls rounded out the second third of the list.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Cal State Fullerton vs Florida State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

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SS Taylor Walls (S/R, 5’10 180, 22 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 540 PA, .304/.393/.428, 40 XBH, 31/43 SB, 12.2 BB%, 14.8 K%

Walls was a steady performer for Bowling Green and only had one full month with an OPS below .800. He didn’t hit for a lot of power, but he did make a lot of contact and reached base frequently. He was also more active on the bases than he had been in college. That consistency was also evident on the infield. He was named the best defensive shortstop in the Midwest League (Baseball America ($) and best defensive player in the organization.


In his Rays prospects ranking, Keith Law noted the organization’s depth up the middle (ESPN $). Taylor Walls is a part of that — he’s the third shortstop on the list and eighth player who plays catcher, second base, shortstop, or center field.

2019 Community prospect list

Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
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 Jose De Leon (6’1 220, 26 in 2019)

2018 statistics: Did not pitch

De Leon missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. That came on the heels of an injury-plagued 2017 season that saw him go on the disabled list three times. When healthy, he was one of the top strikeout pitchers in the minors, and he also threw a lot of strikes. His fastball sat in the low-90s, and his changeup was his best pitch. His slider had above-average potential too.

OF/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.

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.

RHP Ian Gibaut (6’3 250, 25 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Triple-A Durham: 56 IP, 2.09 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.5 BB%, 33.8 K%

Gibaut has been one of the organization’s top strikeout pitchers since he was drafted in 2015. It’s thanks to his impressive stuff. According to FanGraphs, in addition to his mid-90s fastball, his changeup is a plus-plus pitch, and his slider has plus potential. He needs to throw more strikes, but he showed improvement in that area in 2018. He earned a spot on the 40-man roster and will make his big league debut in 2019.

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 Tobias Myers (6’0 193, 20 in 2019)

2018 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 119 IP, 3.71 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 8.0 BB%, 19.6 K%

Myers struggled in his introduction to full-season ball, but he did improve as the season progressed. Over his first nine appearances, batters had a .906 OPS against him. Over his final 14, they had a .695 OPS against him, roughly the league average. Improved control was possibly the biggest difference. He has a low-90s fastball, and his curveball and changeup have 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 13 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.

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.

OF Garrett Whitley (R/R, 6’1 195, 22 in 2019)

2018 statistics: Did not play

Whitley missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing labrum surgery at the end of spring training. In August, he began throwing again. He had a rough April in 2017, but he began to showcase his potential the rest of the season with Bowling Green, showing his speed and beginning to hit for some power. If he’s able to return healthy, he’ll have to continue to cut down on his strikeouts.