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2024 DRaysBay Community Prospect List: The Voting Begins!

Vote for who you think deserves to be No. 1 overall.

MLB: OCT 03 AL Wild Card - Rangers at Rays Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome back to the 14th annual DRaysBay Community Prospect List vote.

Here’s how you vote: There will be a selection of players listed in the article and then below in the comments. To vote, reply to the name you’d like to vote for with a +1 in the comment. Polls will be posted three times a week — with voting expected to occur on Monday. Wednesday, and Friday.

For the best voting experience, I recommend you filter the comment section by Oldest.

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 re-nominate.

Should the Rays make a trade that adds a prospect to the system, there will be a special election to determine where, if anywhere, the new player fits on the list in progress. Should the Rays trade away a player already on the list, we just update the numbers and continue voting.

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. We encourage civil discussion with each vote after the “Discussion” comment. Make your case for your favorite prospects there!

Here are our initial candidates to start the voting:

Shane Baz, RHP

Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospect arguably could be left off prospect lists this offseason, but we prescribe to Baseball America’s eligibility, which differs from whether rookie eligibility has been exceeded. To date, thanks to recovery from Tommy John surgery while on the major league roster, Baz has two years and 14 days of service time, which means he’ll be arbitration eligible in 2025 and a free agent in 2028. The 24-year old may be able to join the major league starters in work outs at the start of Spring Training, but is expected to be on pitch counts and limits that will slot him for the Triple-A rotation to start the year. Prior to his surgery, Baz had an elite fastball, a plus slider, and a decent change up.

Junior Caminero, 3B

A few weeks into 2024, and Caminero might be considered the top prospect in baseball once the Jackson’s graduate (Holliday, O’s; Chourio, Brewers). His cup of coffee in 2023 was a well earned, if not surprising move. He has 80-grade power and exceptional bat speed, and he has surprised some evaluators with his above average hit tool. He has the makings of Tampa Bay’s third baseman of the future.

Xavier Isaac, 1B

The Rays surprised many when they drafted X-man, but now it’s Isaac who is surprising the baseball world. High school first basemen rarely go in the first round like Isaac did in 2022, and even more rarely make the jump into Top 100 lists, but here we are. In his limited experience, Isaac is showing to have a major league projection in hitting and fielding, and has plenty of power developing. MLB Pipeline has Isaac ranked the top first base prospect in baseball.

Curtis Mead, 3B

Mead has nothing left to prove in the minors, even though injuries and a careful approach at the plate have made his major league appearances thus far somewhat muted. The Australian punished pitches in the zone, and has a plus hit tool that should make him a solid major league contributor. Defensively his best home is second base due to some limitations with his arm, but he can fake it on the left side of the infield with the best of ‘em.

Brayden Taylor, 3B

Taylor has the makings of a major league regular at second or third base, with a consistent hit tool to all fields (despite a pull happy swing) that should carry him to the majors with ease. He signed for $3.9 million after being selected in the first round of the 2023 draft, and evaluators are interested to see how much power he will add as a professional, and if he’ll maintain his defensive range as he matures. In the meantime, his plus arm gives him a third base projection.

Carson Williams, SS

The Rays first round draft pick from 2021 can be summed up in six words: Power hitting every day short stop. Williams put up 19 homeruns in Class-A in 2022 and 23 homeruns in High-A in 2023, but that power came at the cost of a 32% strikeout rate in both seasons, which have some evaluators concerned with his hit tool. Then again, it’s a good thing premium short stops don’t necessarily need to hit for average to succeed. Williams should be destined for Double-A this year, where the more challenging breaking balls should let us know how legit the bat will be.