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2024 DRaysBay Community Prospect List: Vote for No. 4

RHP Shane Baz narrowly wins the previous vote.

Milwaukee Brewers v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Previous Winner

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.

2024 DRaysBay Community Prospect List

Rank Player Position Votes Total Percentage Last Season
Rank Player Position Votes Total Percentage Last Season
1 Junior Caminero 3B 27 28 96% 7
2 Carson Williams SS 19 35 54% 5
3 Shane Baz RHP 16 36 44% 2
4 Xavier Isaac 1B 29 37 78% 17
5 Curtis Mead 3B 27 32 84% 1
6 Brayden Taylor 3B 20 31 65% N/A
7 Yoniel Curet RHP 12 35 34% N/R
8 Jonny DeLuca OF 16 35 46% N/A
9 Dom Keegan C 18 34 53% 28
10 Santiago Suarez RHP 12 30 40% 22
11 Colton Ledbetter OF 14 35 40% N/A
12 Austin Shenton 1B 17 37 46% N/R
13 Mason Montgomery LHP 9 32 28% 10
14 Osleivis Basabe SS 10 30 33% 11
15 Chandler Simpson OF 12 29 41% N/R

Shane Baz wins the vote over Xavier Isaac narrowly, by one vote! Your vote matters, folks! But given that he was our No. 2 prospect last year it’s not a surprise to see him edge out the performance of a teenage first baseman (he turned 20 in December). In the next round, it will be interesting to see how last year’s No. 1 — Curtis Mead — does. Round four adds catcher Dominic Keegan.

Rules

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 re-nominate.

Voting will take place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Candidates

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.

Dominic Keegan, C

A four-year first baseman at Vanderbilt, Keegan is relatively new to catching, but he’s proved to be adept at receiving and has a hit tool with a major league projection, making him a rising star in the Rays system. He also knows how to take a walk, and has a chance to continue to add power. The Rays have not moved Keegan aggressively, despite his advanced hitting, sending him to both Low- and High-A in 2023, and rounding out the year with a trip to the Arizona Fall League — where scouts liked his ever improving defense, even though he only threw out 5 of 40 runners attempting a stolen base. At worst he currently projects as a bench backstop, and has a chance to blossom into a primary catcher as his defense and power continue to develop.

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.

Santiago Suarez, RHP

A rare 18-year old with major league projection, Suarez was the key return from the Marlins in the Xavier Edwards trade while he was a 17-year old in the DSL, making his acquisition a big win for Tampa Bay’s scouting department. After finding the complex league a breeze in 2023 (1.13 ERA, 39.2 IP), Suarez was promoted to the Class-A Charleston rotation for their playoff run (2.29 ERA, 5 starts). He has a solid frame, repeatable delivery, a curveball that already projects as major league, and plus control. He has the time to develop the rest of his repertoire, but there is also quite a bit of time before we’ll know if he’s destined for the Rays rotation.

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.

Naoyuki Uwasawa, RHP

Uwasawa, who will turn 30 prior to Spring Training, held a 2.96 ERA last season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, the team with which he’s spent his entire professional career (3.19 ERA, 173 G). He has thrown at least 160 innings in each season dating back to 2018, with the exception of the COVID shortened 2020 (102 IP). Last year only 45 pitchers threw at least 160 innings at the major league level. Uwasawa has six pitches, with his Splitter the above average offering. He began working with Driveline in 2022 to prep for his move stateside, and elected a minor league deal with the Rays over other major league offers due to the team’s “rich history of pitching development.”