clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2024 DRaysBay Community Prospect List: Vote for No. 6

Last year’s No. 1 falls to No. 5 after an underwhelming MLB debut.

Wild Card Series - Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Two Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Previous Winner

Curtis Mead, 3B
AAA | .294/.385/.515 (.900 OPS, 123 wRC+) 278 PA, 9 HR, 4 SB
MLB | .253/.326/.349 (.675 OPS, 95 wRC+) 92 PA, 1 HR, 0 SB

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.

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

Who emerges next in the Rays prospect voting will be interesting for this next round. Is there consensus for a top-6, or will there be diversity in the vote? Because I’m expecting a lot of action, and we didn’t add any players last week, we are picking up four more candidates for the next round, all of which are already on the 40-man roster: Basabe, Curet, DeLuca, and Shenton.

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

Osleivis Basabe, SS
AAA | .296/.351/.426 (.777 OPS, 95 wRC+) 426 PA, 4 HR, 16 SB
MLB | .218/.277/.310 (.587 OPS, 67 wRC+) 94 PA, 1 HR, 0 SB

La Pantera Negra emerged as the answer at short stop after the loss of Taylor Walls to injury and Wander Franco to administrative leave last season. His promotion got the Rays over the line and into the playoffs but was probably sooner than warranted. He’s reliable at a difficult position and should hit for average if given a lengthier opportunity, but may not project as a regular. That might be for the best, as Basabe’s profile may be better utilized in a utility role at given the Rays depth in the infield, but he has the upside of a starter at short. With the recently acquired José Caballero on the roster, he’ll likely be heading back to Triple-A to start the season.

Yoniel Curet, RHP
A | 2.46 ERA, 80.1 IP (20 G, 17 GS) 34.4 K%, 16.7 BB%
A+ | 4.56 ERA, 23.2 IP (6 G, 5 GS) 30.3 K%, 17.4 BB%

Added to the 40-man roster this off-season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, the 2019 international signee Curet (pronounced coo-rhett, with a rolled-R) is a hard throwing righty with enough stuff to give a front of the rotation projection. His fastball already hits 98 and has added carry as Curet has added weight, and his hard slider is considered major league. He’ll need a third pitch that’s not a varied fastball grip, and a bit more control to meet expectations, but he’s objectively the best arm in the system with rookie eligibility. (video)

Jonny DeLuca, OF
AA | .279/.380/.590 (.970 OPS, 150 wRC+) 142 PA, 10 HR, 9 SB
AAA | .306/.397/.548 (.945 OPS, 125 wRC+) 184 PA, 7 HR, 3 SB
MLB | .262/.311/.429 (.740 OPS, 102 wRC+) 45 PA, 2 HR, 1 SB

Acquired from the Dodgers as the heir apparent to Manuel Margot’s roster spot, the athletic outfielder had a somewhat unexpected and rapid ascent over the past two years through the Dodgers system after signing as a $300k 25th rounder in 2019. He has an all-out swing that will remind attentive Rays fans of Jordan Luplow, but with an advantageous penchant to pull the ball with regularity. Also, don’t let the count of SB’s fool you, he has top of the charts speed. Expect to see DeLuca on the Opening Day roster.

Dominic Keegan, C
A | .315/.402/.475 (.877 OPS, 146 wRC+) 241 PA, 5 HR, 2 SB
A+ | .254/.367/.457 (.824 OPS, 126 wRC+) 207 PA, 8 HR, 0 SB
AFL | .315/.403/.475 (1.031 OPS) 65 PA, 3 HR, 0 SB

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.

Austin Shenton, 1B
AA | .307/.415/.567 (.982 OPS, 157 wRC+) 306 PA, 15 HR, 0 SB
AAA | .301/.432/.603 (1.035 OPS, 158 wRC+) 271 PA, 14 HR, 0 SB

Acquired for Diego Castillo mid-2021 amidst a breakout 144 wRC+ performance in Double-A, Shenton’s bat when missing in action after his arrival to the Rays system for the rest of that season and for all of 2022 due to a hip injury that limited him to 52 games, but it came back with a vengeance in 2023. He has the look of a major league regular in a DH role if the hit tool proves true. Added to the 40-man roster this offseason, expect to see the the Rays test his left handed power stroke at the major league level in 2024.

Santiago Suarez, RHP
RK-A | 1.52 ERA, 59.1 IP (15 G, 8 GS) 22.4 K%, 4.7 BB%

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
RK-A | .242/.361/.517 (.878 OPS, 141 wRC+ A) 108 PA, 5 HR, 11 SB

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
NPB | 2.96 ERA, 170.0 IP (24 GS) 17.8 K%, 5.9 BB%

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.”