Baseball America has kicked off their prospect coverage for next season, starting with baseball’s No. 1 organization — your Tampa Bay Rays.
Normally we’d lead this article with a photo of SS Wander Franco, baseball’s top prospect for three years running. Instead, there’s a new mystery element to the list, rookie eligible ALCS MVP Randy Arozarena!
What does Baseball America make of the the rising star? Well, you need to get the full detail from their report. Below we will list out the top ten players with just a choice snippet, but you can get all of the content behind their paywall, including a write up of all the best tools in the organization like Best Fastball (Shane Baz!), Best Changeup (Josh Fleming!), and Best athlete (SS Greg Jones!).
1. Wander Franco | SS
Hit: 80. Power: 60. Run: 50. Field: 50. Arm: 55.
The Rays played him at second base and third base at the alternate site to help prepare for the possibility he could break into the majors at another spot. He has the tools to be an above-average or even plus defender at second or third.
2. Randy Arozarena | OF
Hit: 55. Power: 60. Speed: 70. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55
Arozarena’s postseason was one for the ages, but he’ll have to make adjustments as the league sees more of him and finds his weaknesses. Most evaluators see him settling in as a .270 hitter with 20-25 home runs and 10-15 steals.
3. Vidal Brujan | 2B
Hit: 60. Power: 40. Speed: 80. Fielding: 55. Arm: 50.
A switch-hitter, Brujan is hard to strike out with his excellent bat control and has sneaky power from the left side. His righthanded swing doesn’t have much power.
4. Shane McClanahan | LHP
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 60. Slider: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 45
What’s even better is his 86-88 mph breaking ball. McClanahan can throw it tighter with more of a curveball shape or turn it into a wipeout slider that starts in the middle of the plate and ends up at a righthanded hitter’s feet. In either form, it’s a pitch that finishes hitters.
5. Shane Baz | RHP
Fastball: 70. Slider: 70. Curveball: 40. Changeup: 45. Control: 40.
Baz’s tempo in his delivery is too energetic and his lower half isn’t always in sync with his arm, leading to below-average command and control.
6. Brendan McKay | LHP
Fastball: 60. Cutter: 55. Curveball: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 60.
Shoulder injuries have a lower success rate for full return than elbow injuries, and McKay’s future outlook is muddied by his shoulder surgery.
7. Xavier Edwards | 2B
Hitting: 60. Power: 30. Speed: 60. Fielding: 55. Arm: 45.
Edwards fits the Rays’ desire for athletic, multi-positional players. He projects as a table-setter who’s contact and speed-based game is a throwback to earlier eras.
8. Nick Bitsko | RHP
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 40. Control: 45
[...] clean delivery. His fastball sits 92-96 mph and touches 98, and he pairs it with a hard, high-spin downer curveball that’s been up to 2,500 revolutions per minute. Both project to be plus or better pitches.
9. JJ Goss | RHP
Fastball: 55. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 55
Goss’ body has room to fill out further, which gives hope for further projection. [...] Goss’ stuff is already major league-caliber, and it should just continue to get better.
10. Joe Ryan | RHP
Fastball: 60. Slider: 40. Curveball: 30. Changeup: 50. Control: 55.
[...] facing more advanced hitters at the alternate site helped him realize he needed to develop his secondaries. His fringy slider has surpassed his below-average curveball, but neither is consistent. Ryan’s 83-85 mph changeup is his best secondary offering.
Baseball America has much and more at their site. Read it here!