SS Greg Jones (S/R, 6’2 175, 24 in 2022)
2021 statistics with High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery: 317 PA, .270/.366/.482, 14 HR, 26 XBH, 34/36 SB, 10.4 BB%, 30.3 K%
Jones has some of the best tools in the organization, and he showed them when he was healthy in 2021. He stole a base nearly every other game he played and was only caught twice. He also showed off impressive power potential for a middle-of-the-diamond player. However, the strikeouts will need to come down. Defensively, he has the athleticism and arm to play anywhere, but center field might be his best fit.
Despite a wide distribution of votes, Jones was a clear winner in this poll, gathering more than twice the number of votes as the runner up. In the previous two off-seasons Jones ranked in the 11-15 range of the Community list.
2022 Community Prospect List
|1||RHP Shane Baz||24||28||85.7%||6|
|2||OF Josh Lowe||16||34||47.1%||8|
|3||IF/OF Vidal Brujan||23||36||63.9%||3|
|4||RHP Taj Bradley||19||27||70.4%||26|
|5||IF Curtis Mead||20||28||71.4%||40|
|6||SS Greg Jones||17||36||47.2%||14|
|7||2B Xavier Edwards||9||26||34.6%||9|
|8||RHP Tommy Romero||11||25||44.0%||NR|
|9||SS Carlos Colmenarez||6||23||26.1%||15|
|10||RHP Seth Johnson||7||23||30.4%||20|
|11||SS Carson Williams||16||29||55.2%||NA|
|12||LHP Ian Seymour||12||20||60.0%||29|
|13||IF Jonathan Aranda||16||26||61.5%||NR|
|14||RHP Cole Wilcox||10||23||43.5%||13|
|15||OF Kameron Misner||10||22||45.5%||NA|
|16||OF Heriberto Hernandez||8||21||38.1%||12|
|17||SS Willy Vasquez||9||25||36.0%||NR|
Greg Jones is the top talent among four first round draft picks from 2019 in the Rays system. Jones was selected No. 22 overall, followed by RHP JJ Goss at No. 36 and RHP Seth Johnson at No. 40, while fellow first round draftee OF Kameron Misner (No. 35 overall) was acquired last night in the Joey Wendle trade with Miami. Among the remaining 2019 first rounders, Johnson has been added to this poll, while Goss rehabbed from injury in September with 10.1 IP over four outings.
If you feel Misner is worthy of consideration, feel free to nominate him as an Other (vote for No. 7) or Tester (candidate for future poll).
Here are the current candidates for No. 7:
IF Jonathan Aranda (L/R, 5’10 173, 24 in 2022)
2021 statistics with High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery: 411 PA, .330/.418/.543, 14 HR, 41 XBH, 10.2 BB%, 18.5 K%
Prior to 2021, Aranda was a decent but unremarkable performer. In 2021, he became a 40-man-roster lock with a tremendous season. He was one of the top hitters in the organization, making consistent contact with a good plate approach and showing improved power. Which position he should play remains a question, but his bat demands that he be in the lineup somewhere.
SS Carlos Colmenarez (L/R, 5’10 170, 18 in 2022)
2021 statistics with Dominican Summer League Rays 1: 113 PA, .247/.319/.289, 3 XBH, 7/13 SB, 7.1 BB%, 36.5 K%
Although the numbers in his pro debut are unimpressive, Colmenarez dealt with a hamate injury that delayed his start to the season. That has historically affected a player’s power in particular. He was perhaps the top player in the 2020 international class with all five tools average or better. He has a great chance to stick at shortstop, and his bat gives him a high ceiling.
2B Xavier Edwards (S/R, 5’10 175, 22 in 2022)
2021 statistics with Double-A Montgomery: 337 PA, .302/.377/.368, 19-for-30 SB, 13 2B, 16 XBH, 10.7 BB%, 12.5 K%
After missing the first month of the season on the injured list, Edwards was as advertised in his first season playing games in the organization. He hit a ton of singles, demonstrated a good plate approach, and showed enough speed to steal bases. There was almost no power to speak of, although he did hit a homer in the postseason. He didn’t play an inning at shortstop but did play a fair amount of games at third base.
OF Heriberto Hernandez (R/R, 6’1 195, 22 in 2022)
2021 statistics with Low-A Charleston: 320 PA, .252/.381/453, 12 HR, 27 XBH, 7/11 SB, 15.3 BB%, 28.1 K%
In his full-season debut, Hernandez continued to hit for a lot of power. He’s not huge, but his power is his best attribute. Just eyeballing the numbers, he was probably one of the organization’s top three-true-outcome players. His aggressive approach might hold him back at higher levels, but he does walk a lot. The Rays moved him out from behind the plate, and he only played outfield in 2021.
RHP Seth Johnson (6’1 200, 23 in 2022)
2021 statistics with Low-A Charleston: 93 2⁄3 IP, 2.88 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 8.3 BB%, 29.0 K%
After a couple rough starts to begin the season, Johnson had a stint in the bullpen. That turned his season around, and he returned to the rotation after a month. That growth is important because he’s still an inexperienced pitcher. The stuff — a mid-90s fastball and impressive slider — isn’t a question. He just has to continue improving his control and accumulating innings.
RHP Tommy Romero (6’2 225, 24 in 2022)
2021 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 110 1⁄3 IP, 2.61 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 7.1 BB%, 33.3 K%
Romero remained one of the best statistical pitchers in the minors in 2021. He was tied for 19th in strikeouts, and he maintained his impressive control. With a low-90s fastball and average changeup and breaking ball, he should get his chance in the majors soon. In the roster shuffling leading up to the rule 5 draft deadline, the Rays opted to add him to the 40-man roster.
RHP Cole Wilcox (6’5 232, 22 in 2022)
2021 statistics with Low-A Charleston: 44 1⁄3 IP, 2.03 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 2.9 BB%, 29.9 K%
Wilcox impressed in his pro debut, but he had Tommy John surgery in September and is likely missing the entire 2022 season. When he pitched, he worked with a mid-90s fastball and plus slider. His changeup needs improvement. He showed drastically improved control from the start of his college career.
SS Carson Williams (R/R, 6’2 180, 19 in 2022)
2021 statistics with Florida Coast League Rays: 47 PA, .282/.404/.436, 5 XBH, 2/4 SB, 12.8 BB%, 27.7 K%
Williams was the Rays’ top pick in the 2021 draft, and he had a nice debut in a limited number of plate appearances. He has a nice all-around toolset, and all five tools could be average or better, led by his arm for the left side of the infield. He could stay at shortstop. If he doesn’t, his power potential would allow him to profile at other positions. He also has decent speed.