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Baseball America announce Tampa Bay Rays Top 10 Prospects for 2024

3B prospect Junior Caminero’s power gets an 80-grade in the latest report.

Wild Card Series - Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Two
Junior Caminero #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays 
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Baseball America, the industry leader in prospect rankings and coverage, has published their current Top-10 Rays prospects concurrent with the Winter Meetings, which is just in time, considering how much moving and shaking the Rays can do this time of year.

The scouting grades and reports are behind a paywall, but we will share the names of the players and a couple snippets to tease out what Baseball America sees in each player.

1. Junior Caminero, 3B - 70 Grade

BA gave the 20-year old Caminero, who made his major league debut last season, 80-grade power, indicating he’s one of baseball’s best power hitters. Period.

Caminero hits the ball harder than almost anyone in baseball. His bat speed is top-of-the-scale, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton, Franchy Cordero and Jo Adell in average bat speed among big leaguers with 25 or more plate appearances, and he had the best 90th percentile exit velocity of any qualifying minor leaguer in 2023.

2. Carson Williams, SS - 60 Grade

BA praises Williams’s power gains, and project him as the next Rays short stop, pending the outcome of Wander Franco’s legal troubles.

Williams is one of the better defensive shortstops in the minor leagues thanks largely to his plus-plus arm.

3. Curtis Mead, 3B - 50 Grade

BA still considers Mead a third baseman despite a 30-grade arm, which seems generous. Nevertheless, his success at the Major League level in 2023 vaults him higher up the list than some higher ceiling prospects below.

Mead is one the Rays’ best pure hitters. He has the rare combination of above-average plate discipline and exceptional bat-to-ball skills.

4. Shane Baz, RHP - 60 Grade

Baz is listed below Mead due to injury concerns, but notes we should know soon enough as he’s expected to be ready by Spring Training.

Before the injury, Baz had a Gerrit Cole-like high-90s plus-plus fastball that can overwhelm hitters with its combination of exceptional velocity and above-average carry. He complements his heater with a high-80s bullet slider that relies more on velocity than movement to handcuff hitters.

5. Xavier Isaac, 1B - 55 Grade

BA views Isaac’s hit tool as the best in the entire Rays system, and view him as, “absolutely among the best first base prospects in the game,” per JJ Coopers Q&A after the list was published.

Isaac’s massive frame and raw power understandably led to him being pegged as a slugger coming out of high school, but he’s shown himself to be more of a pure hitter than a grip-it-and-rip-it slugger.

6. Brayden Taylor, 3B - 55 Grade

Tampa Bay’s first round pick from the 2023 draft (19th overall) debuts at No. 6 on the list.

Taylor’s eventual defensive home is not fully set. While he played third base exclusively in his pro debut, he has the tools to be a solid second baseman, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him try his hand at shortstop in the minor leagues 2024. Taylor doesn’t have a standout tool aside from his bat, but he does a lot of things well.

7. Osleivis Basabe, SS - 45 Grade

Like Mead, Basabe ranks higher than might be expected presumably due to present major league floor (31 Games in 2023 as the starting short stop).

Ideally, Basabe is a part-time player or utility infielder who can provide reliable defense at three positions.

8. Adrian Santana, SS - 55 Grade

Another high 2023 draft pick (31st overall) makes his Top-10 debut.

Santana is one of the smoother shortstops to come out of high school in the past few years. He’s not yet Carson Williams’ equal defensively, but he has a chance to get there thanks to his exceptional twitchiness, body control and smooth hands.

9. Dominic Keegan, C - 50 Grade

BA is aggressive in moving Keegan, who got time in the Arizona Fall League this year, into the Rays top-10, projecting a 55 hit tool and an overall major league projection despite limited experience at his position.

He toyed with catching in college but generally found himself playing first base [...] Keegan has worked hard to improve his catching, and it’s paid off.

10. Yoniel Curet, RHP - 55 Grade

Despite some heavy reliever risk, BA is tabbing Curet as the next “best pitching prospect” in the Rays system.

Curet already touched 95 mph when the Rays signed him, but he has now blossomed into the best arm in the system—with the exception of the rehabbing Shane Baz.

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Other notes from the JJ Cooper Rays Prospects Chat:

  • On SS Carlos Colmenarez absence from the list: “needed to go to the New York-Penn League last year, because physically he just wasn’t really ready for Low-A. With no NY-P league to go to, he was pushed to Low-A and he wasn’t really able to handle it. His stock has clearly slipped from where it was when he signed, but he is still young and there’s hope it’s more of a slow development path than anything.”
  • On 3B Junior Caminero’s 80-grade power: “He had the best 90th percentile EV in the minors among everyone with a legit number of plate appearances. He did it while striking out at a very modest rate. [...] true all-field power. Oh and he did all of this while turning 20 halfway through that season. [...]. If he’s not a guy we put 80 power on, then who will we ever put it on? [...] If he’s 70 power he’s one of the top 15 HR hitters in the majors rather than the top 5. That’s very possibly what happens, but it’s not a massive difference. I think he has a chance to win HR titles, which is 80 power.”