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2021 DRaysBay Community Prospect List No. 14

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Heriberto Hernandez’s addition to the list slides a couple players down a spot.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Previous winner

C/OF Heriberto Hernandez (R/R, 6’1 180, 21 in 2021)

2019 statistics with Arizona League Rangers and short-season Spokane: .345/.436/.635, 11 HR, 32 XBH, 12.4 BB%, 25.6 K%

Hernandez was the key player acquired in the trade that sent Nate Lowe to Texas. It took just $10,000 to sign him, but he’s been extremely productive since making his pro debut thanks to great bat speed and impressive in-game power. He’s played just as much first base and corner outfield as catcher, so it’s not yet clear where he best fits defensively.


Over half of the votes in the special election were in favor of adding Heriberto Hernandez to the list, so those votes were averaged to determine his placement. Based on the discussion involving Osleivis Basabe, I’ve added him as an option for this poll.

2021 Community prospect list

Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
1 SS Wander Franco 24 39 61.5% 1
2 OF Randy Arozarena 33 33 100.0% 9
3 IF Vidal Brujan 20 34 58.8% 3
4 RHP Luis Patino Special election N/A
5 LHP Shane McClanahan 11 29 37.9% 6
6 RHP Shane Baz 19 28 67.9% 4
7 DH/LHP Brendan McKay 19 31 61.3% 2
8 OF Josh Lowe 9 27 33.3% 5
9 IF Xavier Edwards 14 34 41.2% 8
10 IF Taylor Walls 10 28 35.7% 15
11 RHP Brent Honeywell Jr. 10 27 37.0% 11
12 C/OF Heriberto Hernandez Special election N/A
13 RHP Cole Wilcox Special election N/A
14 C Ronaldo Hernandez 8 21 38.1% 10
14 SS Greg Jones 13 25 52.0% 12
15 SS Carlos Colmenarez Special election N/A
16 C Blake Hunt Special election N/A
17 RHP Joe Ryan 14 25 56.0% 13
18 LHP Josh Fleming 11 21 52.4% 26
19 RHP JJ Goss 8 25 32.0% 16
20 RHP Seth Johnson 15 25 60.0% 24
21 RHP Nick Bitsko 10 25 40.0% N/A
22 3B Kevin Padlo 17 27 63.0% 14
23 SS Alejandro Pie 6 20 30.0% 31
24 SS Alika Williams 7 18 38.9% N/A
25 IF Osleivis Basabe 6 17 35.3% N/A
26 RHP Taj Bradley 5 18 27.8% 22
27 C Ford Proctor 5 18 27.8% 40
28 RHP Drew Strotman 12 20 60.0% 32
29 LHP Ian Seymour 6 17 35.3% N/A
30 LHP John Doxakis
31 IF Esteban Quiroz
32 OF Jhon Diaz
33 IF Pedro Martinez
34 OF Nick Schnell
35 RHP Michael Mercado
36 SS Abiezel Ramirez
37 RP Ryan Thompson
38 RHP Sandy Gaston
39 LHP Michael Plassmeyer
40 IF Curtis Mead
41 OF Niko Hulsizer
42 OF Moises Gomez

IF Osleivis Basabe (R/R 6’1 165, 21 in 2021)

2019 statistics with Arizona League Rangers and short-season Spokane: 176 PA, .323/.352/.398, 5 3B, 7 XBH, 7/9 SB, 4.5 BB%, 11.9 K%

Basabe was acquired alongside teammate Heriberto Hernandez in the trade that sent Nate Lowe to Texas. He’s a different player though. He’s a high-contact hitter who rarely strikes out. He’s also a good athlete with a good arm who can play across the infield and could play center field if necessary. Although he makes hard contact, in-game power hasn’t been there yet.

RHP Nick Bitsko (6’4 220, 19 in 2021)

Drafted in 2020

For the third straight season, the Rays took a high school pitcher in the first round, even when the rest of the industry is trending the other way. Bitsko was considered a top prospect for the 2021 draft, but he reclassified and got drafted a year earlier. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and his curveball is a potential plus pitch. His changeup has potential, and he should be a strike thrower. Bitsko recently required shoulder surgery “to repair a labrum issue,” but the extent of the injury is not known.

LHP Josh Fleming (6’2 220, 25 in 2021)

2020 statistics with Tampa Bay: 32 13 IP, 2.78 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 5.4 BB%, 19.2 K%

Fleming has pitched pretty well in his pro career, and he earned a chance to make his major league debut in 2020. He made appearances in the ALCS and World Series. Baseball America rated his changeup as the best in the organization, but among his secondary pitches, he used his slider more in the majors. He has always thrown a lot of strikes, and he continued to do so with the Rays.

RHP JJ Goss (6’3 185, 20 in 2021)

2019 statistics with Gulf Coast League Rays: 17 IP, 5.82 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 2.8 BB%, 22.5 K%

Goss improved throughout the spring in his draft year, and that led to the Rays selecting him with the No. 36 pick in 2019. His stuff got better. His velocity improved, and his breaking ball and changeup were sharper. Reports from 2020 indicate that trend has continued (Baseball America $). In addition, he was considered one of the best strike throwers in his draft class (BA $). With his athleticism, he should continue to throw strikes.

RHP Seth Johnson (6’1 200, 22 in 2021)

2019 statistics with Gulf Coast League Rays and rookie-level Princeton: 17 IP, 2.12 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 4.3 BB%, 23.2 K%

Johnson was a huge riser last spring as a fairly new convert to pitching after having little success as a hitter. He reportedly stood out in the instructional league in 2020. According to Baseball America, he’s shown improved fastball velocity and a better slider ($). Because of his lack of experience, he was probably among the prospects most affected by the canceled season, but it sounds like he didn’t waste his summer.

RHP Joe Ryan (6’1 185, 25 in 2021)

2019 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green, Class A-Advanced Charlotte, and Double-A Montgomery: 123 2⁄3 IP, 1.96 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 5.6 BB%, 38.0 K%

Ryan came out of nowhere in 2019 and was one of the best pitchers in minor league baseball, and he was at the alternate site in 2020. He leans heavily on a fastball that batters have a hard time picking up, and he finished second in the minors in strikeouts. His velocity may only be above average, but he commands his fastball well and throws a lot of strikes. His changeup can be above average, and he has to improve his breaking ball.

SS Alika Williams (R/R, 6’2 180, 22 in 2021)

Drafted in 2020

Williams was one of the top defensive infielders in the draft, and sticking at shortstop shouldn’t be an issue. On a team with the best college baseball players in the country, Baseball America ranked him as the No. 8 prospect (BA $), noting he had surprising success at the plate. He walked more than he struck out at Arizona State, but the pop he showed with Team USA was unexpected.