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2022 DRaysBay Community Prospect List No. 22

Austin Shenton

Previous Winner

3B Austin Shenton (L/R, 6’0 205, 24 in 2022)

2021 statistics with High-A Everett, Double-A Arkansas, and Double-A Montgomery: .295/.398/.549, 14 HR, 49 XBH, 12.6 BB%, 23.4 K%

Shenton was acquired in the Diego Castillo trade, but a thumb injury ended his season pretty quickly in his new organization. Thanks to a strong plate approach, ability to make contact, and emerging power, he was able to advance quickly in his first full pro season. Eventually, he’ll need to find a defensive home. It could be third base, but any corner position could be an option.

Thank you to all for your patience with us as SB Nation transitioned to the new commenting platform. If it’s your first time using it in the coming vote, please filter the Comments by “Oldest” to recreate the way the old system worked.

The clear winner in both iterations of the vote for No. 21 was a 2019 fifth round pick out of FIU by the Mariners, who balanced the scales in the Castillo for Chargois swap that saw the Rays dump their longest tenured reliever for a deal where they couldn’t say no. Marc Topkin profiled Shenton for Baseball America in August of 2021 following his thumb injury.

2022 Community Prospect List

Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
Rank Player Votes Total Percentage Last season
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
18 RHP JJ Goss 8 23 34.8% 19
19 RHP Colby White 11 25 44.0% NR
20 C Ford Proctor 8 25 32.0% 27
21 3B Austin Shenton 9 20 45.0% NA
22 RHP Sandy Gaston 4 18 22.2% 38
23 C Blake Hunt 5 18 27.8% 16
24 C Rene Pinto 5 19 26.3% NR
25 LHP John Doxakis 5 18 27.8% 30
26 IF Junior Caminero 5 16 31.3% NA
27 IF Osleivis Basabe 5 18 27.8% 25
28 2B Cooper Kinney 6 17 35.3% NA
29 OF Ruben Cardenas 6 19 31.6% NA
30 1B Kyle Manzardo 7 19 36.8% NA
31 RHP Nick Bitsko
32 RHP Jayden Murray
33 LHP Brendan McKay
34 RHP Calvin Faucher
35 IF Ryan Spikes
36 LHP Jacob Lopez
37 LHP Antonio Jimenez

On to the candidates!

IF Osleivis Basabe (R/R, 6’1 188, 21 in 2022)

2021 statistics with Low-A Charleston and High-A Bowling Green: 327 PA, .284/.347/.388, 18/22 SB, 19 XBH, 8.6 BB%, 13.8 K%

Basabe was acquired from Texas in the Nate Lowe trade. He’s known for making contact, and his low strikeout rate reflected that. Every report says he has power potential, but that doesn’t show in his slugging percentage yet. He also has good speed and stole bases pretty efficiently. Defensively, he has the arm and athleticism to stick at shortstop but also showed versatility by playing different positions.

RHP Nick Bitsko (6’4 225, 20 in 2022)

Did not pitch in 2021

Bitsko was the No. 24 pick in the 2020 draft after reclassifying to be drafted a year sooner. However, he has not yet made his pro debut. Shoulder surgery sidelined him in 2021, but he is expected to debut in 2022. Prior to the surgery, he had two potential plus pitches in his mid-90s fastball and curveball. His changeup has shown promise.

IF Junior Caminero (R/R, 5’11 157, 18 in 2022)

2021 statistics in Dominican Summer League: 171 PA, .295/.380/.534, 9 HR, 17 XBH, 11.7 BB%, 16.4 K%

Rather than lose him for nothing in the Rule 5 draft, the Rays traded Tobias Myers to Cleveland for Caminero. Cleveland signed him in the 2019 international period, and he made his pro debut in 2021. He played all four infield positions but mostly the corner spots. He led the Dominican Summer League in home runs and was eighth in slugging.

LHP John Doxakis (6’4 215, 23 in 2022)

2021 statistics with Low-A Charleston and High-A Bowling Green: 102 23 IP, 3.94 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 4.6 BB%, 27.7 K%

Doxakis’ ERA was a bit high after his promotion to High A, but his numbers beneath the surface were good. He held opponents to an on-base percentage under .300, and his OPS against was significantly better than the league average. His fastball and breaking ball are just average pitches, but he has very good control. Only 15 minor leaguers with 100-plus innings had a lower walk rate.

RHP Sandy Gaston (6’3 200, 20 in 2022)

2021 statistics with Florida Coast League Rays and Low-A Charleston: 50 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 16.6 BB%, 33.2 K%

That walk rate is actually a significant improvement over when he last pitched in 2019. Obviously, continued improvement is needed. He has touched triple digits and regularly pitches in the mid 90s. That kind of velocity at his age is extremely rare, but he has to make progress with some secondary pitches too.

C Blake Hunt (R/R, 6’3 215, 23 in 2022)

2021 statistics with High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery: 320 PA, .205/.288/.375, 9 HR, 28 XBH, 10.0 BB%, 32.5 K%

Hunt was perhaps surprisingly not added to the 40-man roster this offseason, making him eligible for the Rule 5 draft, which may happen eventually. He was a part of the Blake Snell trade. His defense is very good — which the Rays value — and he has intangible qualities teams seek in catchers. He has power potential, but he struggled at the plate in 2021.

2B Cooper Kinney (L/R, 6’3 200, 19 in 2022)

2021 statistics with Florida Coast League Rays: 47 PA, .286/.468/.371, 2/2 SB, 21.3 BB%, 19.1 K%

The Rays drafted Kinney No. 34 overall last year for his bat, and he got his career off to a nice start in a limited number of plate appearances. He makes good contact, and he showed a good plate approach. Right now, he doesn’t have a lot of power, but he has a chance to develop average or above-average power. With limited athleticism, his defensive home is a question.

LHP Brendan McKay (6’2 220, 26 in 2022)

2021 statistics with Double-A Montgomery: 7 IP, 12.86 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 11.1 BB%, 22.2 K%

It was another lost season for the No. 4 pick in the 2017 draft. McKay got off to a late start in 2020 due to COVID and then had shoulder surgery. In 2021, he had surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, which is difficult for pitchers to come back from. At his best, he threw a lot of strikes with decent stuff, including an above-average fastball. His cutter, changeup, and breaking ball can all be above average too.

C Rene Pinto (R/R, 5’10 195, 25 in 2022)

2021 statistics with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham: 382 PA, .274/.325/.500, 20 HR, 40 XBH, 5.8 BB%, 29.8 K%

Any team could have had Pinto in minor league free agency after 2020, but he returned to the Rays. After a breakout 2021 season, he was added to the 40-man roster to keep him from hitting free agency again. He was previously a bat-first catcher and suddenly came into more power, nearly doubling his career home run total. He has an aggressive plate approach but made it work. His defense has improved.

IF Ryan Spikes (R/R, 5’9 185, 19 in 2022)

2021 statistics with Florida Coast League Rays: 47 PA, .250/.362/.400, 1 HR, 4 XBH, 4/5 SB, 12.8 BB%, 27.7 K%

The Rays liked Spikes enough to draft him in the third round and gave him almost twice as much as the recommended signing bonus for his No. 100 overall selection. He makes good contact and is a decent athlete. Despite not being very big, he posts good exit velocities and could have decent power. With a good arm, he shows versatility in the infield, splitting time between second and third base in his brief pro experience.