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.
The Rays’ farm system had its fair share of significant injuries in 2018, and Garrett Whitley’s was one of the toughest. After his strong finish to the 2017 season, he could have had a big year.
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.
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 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.
C Michael Perez (L/R, 5’11 180, 26 in 2019)
2018 statistics with Tampa Bay: 80 PA, .284/.304/.392, 6 XBH, 3.8 BB%, 23.8 K%
2018 statistics with Triple-A Reno: 240 PA, .284/.342/.417, 6 HR, 16 XBH, 8.3 BB%, 16.7 K%
After being acquired from Arizona for Matt Andriese, Perez became the Rays’ regular catcher until a hamstring injury ended his season. With a good arm and improving pitch-framing ability, he offers good defensive value. He offers a bit of potential at the plate as well, although his approach was perhaps too aggressive in his cup of coffee. He should make consistent contact.
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.