Welcome to the first ballot of the 2023 DRaysBay Community List.
There will be a selection of players listed in the comments. To vote, reply to the player’s name with a +1 in the comment. For the best voting experience, filter the comment section by Oldest.
Please vote using whichever criteria you prefer! If you like stats, use stats. If you like scouting reports, reference those reports. There’s no one right way to do this — that’s what makes this exercise fun.
If you want to vote for a player who is not listed, there will be an “Others” comment. Reply to that comment with the name of your selection. This is incredibly rare because there will eventually be up to 10 players to choose from, but it’s possible a player you feel strongly about slipped through the cracks.
If you want to nominate a player to be included in the next poll, reply to the “Testers” comment with that player’s name. We will often limit the number of players accepted for the next poll to prevent the list from becoming cumbersome. All players in one poll who do not win the vote are automatically included in the next poll — there is no need to renominate.
Full rules and how tie breaks will be determined can be found in this post by Daniel Russell.
Voting will take place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.
RHP Shane Baz (6’2” 190, 24 in 2023)
Unfortunately Shane Baz underwent Tommy John surgery before exhausting rookie eligibility. He didn’t go under the knife until September so any help to the 2023 team is unlikely for those dreaming of a September return like Tyler Glasnow showed us this year. He’s thrown 40.1 MLB innings posting a mediocre 4.02 ERA and 4.30 FIP, but has a very impressive 3.43 xFIP. He’s struck out 28.9% of batters face while limiting his walk rate to 7.2%.
RHP Taj Bradley (6’2” 190, 22 in 2023)
Taj Bradley was the Rays fifth round pick in the 2018 draft. He took off after the cancelled 2020 minor league season. Over 236.2 innings he’s posted a 2.24 ERA/3.62 FIP since the start of the 2021 season. He’s posted a 28.4% strikeout rate and 6.9% walk rate. He split the 2022 season between AA and AAA. After being added to the 40 man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 draft he likely stands as next man up when an inevitable injury occurs in the rotation.
1B Kyle Manzardo (6’1” 205, 23 in 2023)
Kyle Manzardo was the Rays second round selection in the 2021 draft. After a short cameo in the Florida Complex League to end his draft Manzardo exploded on the scene after being assigned to high A to start the season before being promoted to AA for the final month of the season. Manzardo combined to hit .327/.426/.617 and put up a 172 wRC+ over 397 plate appearances. He hit for power (22 homers) while drawing more than his fair share of walks (14.9% BB) and limiting his swing and miss (16.4% K). Manzardo is likely to start the season in AA but could see an early season promotion to AAA.
1B/3B Curtis Mead (6’2” 171, 23 in 2023)
Curtis Mead has done nothing but hit after being acquired in a roster cleaning event that sent Cristopher Sanchez to the Philadelphia Phillies in order to avoid losing him in the Rule 5 draft in November 2019. Mead started the 2022 campaign in AA before being promoted to AAA for the final month. Mead hit .298/.390/.532 and put up a 142 wRC+ in 331 plate appearances. He hit 13 homers and 27 doubles while posting a 10.9% walk rate and 18.7% strikeout rate.
SS Carson Williams (6’2” 180, 20 in 2023)
Carson Williams was the Rays first round pick in the 2021 draft. Williams was aggressively placed in full season ball as a high school draftee. He posted a .252/.347/.471 line and put up a 124 wRC+. He does strikeout (32.1% strikeout rate) but has power (19 homers) and can draw walks (10.9% walk rate). He is expected to be a plus defender at shortstop.