RHP Riley O’Brien (6’4 170, 25 in 2020)
2019 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery: 102 2⁄3 IP, 3.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 10.3 BB%, 24.9 K%
O’Brien — a high school teammate of Blake Snell (Baseball America $) — has pitched well since he was drafted in the eighth round in 2017, but he received little attention until this season when he continued to have success at higher levels. He’s posted consistently high strikeout rates thanks to his mid-90s fastball and hard slider. His velocity wasn’t always that high. Moving forward, he has to throw more strikes.
Riley O’Brien is the third player who wasn’t ranked last year to be selected for the list. His stuff is impressive, and people are starting to notice as he moves through the organization.
I’ll take up to one tester this poll. I selected Drew Strotman from over the weekend because he was nominated first and none of the players had any additional recommendations.
2020 Community prospect list
|1||SS Wander Franco||57||57||100.0%||1|
|2||DH/LHP Brendan McKay||136||251||54.2%||3|
|3||IF Vidal Brujan||66||197||33.5%||8|
|4||RHP Shane Baz||82||207||39.6%||12|
|5||OF Josh Lowe||72||257||28.0%||18|
|6||LHP Shane McClanahan||50||193||25.9%||11|
|7||IF/OF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo||68||227||30.0%||N/A|
|8||IF Xavier Edwards||78||178||43.8%||N/A|
|9||OF Randy Arozarena||Special||election||N/A|
|10||C Ronaldo Hernandez||71||185||38.4%||7|
|11||RHP Brent Honeywell||81||147||55.1%||2|
|12||SS Greg Jones||121||260||46.5%||N/A|
|13||RHP Joe Ryan||106||214||49.5%||N/R|
|14||3B Kevin Padlo||79||179||44.1%||N/R|
|15||IF Taylor Walls||65||156||41.7%||20|
|16||RHP JJ Goss||49||129||38.0%||N/A|
|17||OF Nick Schnell||38||109||34.9%||22|
|18||LHP Anthony Banda||38||139||27.3%||16|
|19||RHP Riley O'Brien||45||145||31.0%||N/R|
|20||SS Lucius Fox||30||122||24.6%||13|
|21||OF Moises Gomez||35||117||29.9%||15|
|22||RHP Taj Bradley||88||169||52.1%||N/R|
|23||LHP John Doxakis||32||107||29.9%||N/A|
|24||RHP Seth Johnson||39||119||32.8%||N/A|
|25||C Michael Perez||24||113||21.2%||23|
|26||LHP Josh Fleming||36||146||24.7%||N/R|
|27||OF Garrett Whitley||28||110||25.5%||21|
|28||OF Niko Hulsizer|
|29||LHP Michael Plassmeyer|
|30||RHP Peter Fairbanks|
|31||SS Alejandro Pie|
|32||RHP Drew Strotman|
|33||OF Jhon Diaz|
|34||C Chris Betts|
|35||RHP Sandy Gaston|
|36||LHP Resly Linares|
|37||C Brett Sullivan|
|38||RHP Joel Peguero|
|39||RHP Tobias Myers|
|40||IF Ford Proctor|
OF Jhon Diaz (L/L, 5’11 160, 17 in 2020)
Signed Aug. 29
Diaz was the Rays’ top signing in the international period, and he was ranked No. 18 in the class by MLB.com. The Yankees were expected to sign him, but the deal fell through, giving the Rays an opportunity. He’s known for his performance in games, but he has good tools too. At the plate, he should make consistent contact with a nice plate approach and potential for average power. In the field, he could play a decent center field.
LHP John Doxakis (6’4 215, 21 in 2020)
2019 statistics with short-season Hudson Valley: 32 2⁄3 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 8.5 BB%, 23.8 K%
Doxakis had a strong pro debut after the Rays made him a second-round pick, which isn’t surprising considering his success in college baseball’s toughest conference. He’s an advanced pitcher who throws strikes with a deceptive delivery. His stuff is just average across the board, although Baseball America’s most recent report ($) has a little higher velocity than its predraft report ($). He also throws a slider and changeup.
LHP Josh Fleming (6’2 210, 24 in 2020)
2019 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 148 2⁄3 IP, 3.57 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 4.4 BB%, 17.7 K%
Fleming has been very effective in his two full seasons in the organization. The Rays named him Montgomery’s MVP this season, and he set career highs in strikeouts and innings. His stuff is just average, but he throws a ton of strikes and generates a ton of groundballs. He’s particularly effective against lefties, limiting them to a .433 OPS in 2019 and .511 OPS in 2018.
SS Lucius Fox (S/R, 6’1 180, 22 in 2020)
2019 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 480 PA, .221/.331/.327, 39/50 SB, 28 XBH, 12.3 BB%, 21.7 K%
In an organization filled with athletes, Fox is one of the best. He has at least 29 steals in all three seasons with the organization, and he’s an efficient basestealer. His defense in the infield is among the best in the organization, and for the first time in his pro career, he played some second base and third base. At the plate, he hit for slightly more power than usual, but he generally struggled, particularly in a cup of coffee with Durham.
OF Moises Gomez (R/R, 5’11 200, 21 in 2020)
2019 statistics with Class A-Advanced: 489 PA, .220/.297/.402, 16 HR, 44 XBH, 9.8 BB%, 33.5 K%
Baseball America views Gomez’s power as the best in the organization, and his 16 home runs set Charlotte’s single-season record. However, his aggressive approach got the best of him in 2019, and he wasn’t able to build on his breakout 2018 season. His athleticism and defense are just average, so he’ll need to improve his pitch recognition to make more consistent contact and get the most out of his raw power.
RHP Seth Johnson (6’1 200, 21 in 2020)
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%
Despite both being college pitchers, Johnson and John Doxakis are not very similar. Johnson was a huge riser this spring as a fairly new convert to pitching after having little success as a hitter. His promise is why the Rays made him the No. 40 pick in June. He throws in the low-to-mid 90s, but the rest of his game needs refinement. His slider is his best secondary pitch, but his changeup has shown potential.
RHP Joel Peguero (5’11 160, 23 in 2020)
2019 statistics with Class-A Bowling Green: 47 1⁄3 IP, 2.85 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 5.7 BB%, 22.7 K%
Peguero made his full-season debut in 2019, and for the first time, he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. That was a key for him. For the first time in his U.S.-based career, he got good results. Despite his small size, he has touched 100 mph and sits in the mid-90s. However, it hasn’t yet resulted in high strikeout rates. He has to improve one of his secondary pitches.
SS Alejandro Pie (R/R, 6’4 175, 18 in 2020)
2019 statistics with Dominican Summer League Rays 1: 253 PA, .289/.361/.342, 24/32 SB, 11 XBH, 4.3 BB%, 18.2 K%
Pie was one of the Rays’ top two signings in the 2018-19 international period, and he was decent in his pro debut — although his 5.9 HBP% is likely unsustainable. Despite his size and potential for growth, he could stick at shortstop thanks to his athleticism. If not, he has the arm to play anywhere on the field. With that size comes power potential, but he hasn’t shown much of it yet.
RHP Drew Strotman (6’3 195, 23 in 2020)
2019 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 16 IP, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 12.3 BB%, 17.8 K%
A fourth-round pick in 2017, Strotman was quickly rising prospect ranks until he needed Tommy John surgery in his first full season. He wasn’t able to pitch many innings but did get a chance to finish the season in the Arizona Fall League. When he was healthy, he worked with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, and his slider was his best secondary pitch. He’ll have to throw more strikes, but control doesn’t always come back immediately after surgery.
OF Garrett Whitley (R/R, 6’1 195, 23 in 2019)
2019 statistics with Class A-Advanced Charlotte: 439 PA, .226/.339/.412, 10 HR, 42 XBH, 16/28 SB, 14.1 BB%, 37.1 K%
Over the final two months of the 2017 season with Bowling Green, Whitley hit .246 with a .381 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage. However, he was unable to carry that momentum over to the 2018 season due to shoulder surgery that kept him out until 2019. When he returned, he showed glimpses of the tools that made him a first-round pick in 2015, but as the strikeout rate indicates, he was very inconsistent.