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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1) | 2009 (4) | 2008 (1)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] AL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Durham
AA: [74-63] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [55-79] Florida State League – Charlotte
A: [80-60] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss):  [52-24] New York-Penn League — Hudson Valley

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs
Lenny Linsky (RHP); Tim Beckham (2B); Hak-Ju Lee (SS); Richie Shaffer (3B); Kevin Kiermaier (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Matt Moore (RHP); Jake McGee (LHP)

The Run Down
The Rays’ player development systems have always been top-notch, and for the past several years, they’ve maintained one of the better farm systems in the game.  As a matter of timing more than anything else — some bad luck, too (see Beckham) — the system was a little lighter than usual in the high-impact department near the end of last season.  They were growing older, and more expensive at the big league level.  It appeared that they were deviating from Andrew Friedman’s operational model – a patient, bottom-up approach that had discovered and nurtured talent better than just about any other organization — that had made them a year-to-year contender in baseball’s toughest division.  And then the James Shields deal happened and the natural order was restored to the baseball universe.  All of a sudden, Wil Myers became a Ray, and the once-lacking high-impact department was replenished with one of the more high-impacty dudes in the minors.  Beyond Myers, Tampa added MLB-ready pitching depth in Jake Odorizzi.  They also nabbed Mike Montgomery on the cheap — sure, he pitched like a pile of hot garbage in 2012, but one year does not ruin a prospect.  When considering this top ten back in October, I was kinda worried about having to cover a slew high-upside 18-year-olds who hadn’t yet played outside of instructional league.  Thank you, Andrew Friedman, for making this post more interesting.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Wil Myers, OF:
  #3 on my Top 25 Fantasy Prospects for 2013, Myers was the prized piece acquired by the Rays in the James Shields swap.  Tampa is typically sensitive to service time, so it’s possible that we won’t see him reach the bigs ’til June, perhaps later.  But with the 22-year-old bringing 30 HR potential along with solid AVG, it might be tough to keep him down.  Here’s Grey’s Wil Myers fantasyETA:  2013

2.  Chris Archer, RHP:  Archer is my #31 fantasy prospect for 2013.  Elite stuff gives him front-end potential, but he has some command issues to work out before the Rays can justifiably use him in their rotation, which is deep with capable arms.  ETA:  2013

3.  Taylor Guerrieri, RHP:  The 2011 first-rounder made his pro debut at Hudson Valley in 2012, posting a 1.04 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP, and a 45/5 K/BB in 52 IP.  Guerrieri is ready for full-season ball in 2013.  A projectable frame (6-3, 195), and an elite fastball-curveball combo give him an enormous ceiling.  ETA:  2016

4.  Richie Shaffer, 3B:  I wrote a brief report on Shaffer before the draft last June.  The Rays ended up taking him 25th overall, assigning him to short-season ball in the NYPL.  At Hudson Valley, Shaffer hit .308/.406/.487 over 33 games, spending all of his time in the field at third.  Most baseball folks, however, see the 21-year-old profiling better at either 1B or a corner OF.  Shaffer will start 2013 at Low-A, but he’s primed to move quickly if he’s hitting.  ETA:  2014

5.  Jake Odorizzi, RHP:  Odorizzi came in at #36 on my Top 50 Prospects for 2013 post.  He doesn’t bring the upside that Archer does, but he might be a safer immediate option if Tampa has a need in the rotation.  Odorizzi will be 23-years-old come opening day, and has little left to prove in the minors after last year’s production between Double- and Triple-A:  3.03 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 8.4 K/9 in 145 IP.  ETA:  2013

6.  Hak-Ju Lee, SS:  Lee is a defense-first shortstop, but he has enough potential at the plate and on the base paths to garner some fantasy attention.  He’ll never be a heavy hitter, but he can find his way to first, and when he’s there, he’s always a threat to run.  Given regular playing time, he could steal 30-40 bags at the big league level.  But with Yunel Escobar entrenched at short for the time being, expect Lee to spend the year at Triple-A.  ETA:  2014

7.  Blake Snell, LHP:  At 6-4, 180, Snell is long and lean, and offers three potential plus pitches (fastball, change, slider).  That sort of profile has him projecting as a mid-rotation starter, with front-end upside.  The 20-year-old is likely to join the Bowling Green rotation for his first taste of full-season baseball.  ETA:  2016

8.  Mike Montgomery, RHP:  Montgomery arrived in Tampa via KC in the Shields deal, along with Myers and Odorizzi.  Pre-2012, he was regarded as a top-50 overall prospect by just about every publication you could find.  What a difference a year makes.  Montgomery logged a 6.07 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP in 149 IP between Double- and Triple-A in 2012.  An ugly line indeed.  Mechanics have become a huge concern with the 23-year-old.  The combination of lower expectations and a change of scenery could put him back on track, though.  ETA:  2013

9.  Alex Colome, RHP:  A plus-plus fastball and a good curve have the Rays holding out hope for Colome to develop as a starter, but most baseball folks see him ending up in the ‘pen.  Still, a heater in the high 90s, and a good secondary offering to go with it, will have him racking up plenty of strikeouts, regardless of role.  ETA:  2013

10.  Tim Beckham, 2B:  The 2008 #1 overall pick played in only 72 games last year, thanks to a 50-game substance abuse suspension.  Beckham hit .256/.325/.361 in his truncated Triple-A season, and he’s no longer viewed as a high-impact talent.  Still, the 23-year-old is toolsy enough to reach the bigs this year, and possibly offer some fantasy value from 2B.  ETA:  2013

15 Responses

  1. bossmanjunior says:
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    Good write up, Scott. However, waaaaaay too high on Montgomery and Beckham. Most lists have Montgomery around 20-23 and Beckham 15-18. I love the optimism for those two, but right now there are guys with higher floors than Montgomery and higher ceilings than Beckham.

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @bossmanjunior:

      For arguments sake, I would have gone with two of Romero, Vettleson, Hager or Mahtook.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’m with ya… Vettleson, Hager, Hahn all could’ve & maybe should’ve been listed ahead of Beckham. As always, though, I like to keep things fantasy-specific here at Razzball. Beckham is knocking on the door, and he could offer so-so value from 2B in deep leagues if he finds his way to regular PT in Tampa. I like Monty tho… never got too down on him & I’m pumped about the change of scenery for him…

  2. Chris says:
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    Currently have Lee in a dynasty league with 30 man rosters. Is he worth holding onto at this point? Offensively his upside seems to be a .270/330/350 type guy. Just seems like a SAGNOF at short and most likely much more valuable in real life baseball

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Bingo. Total SAGNOF… I’d cut him loose if there are better options out there.

  3. vinnie says:
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    Totally irrelevant from this topic but who would you rather draft; Morrow or Medlen? I’m so mixed between – to me the deciding factor goes to the NL pitcher.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      All questions welcome… I like Medlen over Morrow.

  4. TheNewGuy says:
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    Oh boy Mike Montgomery. Took him with a high pick in the first year of my keeper prospect draft, not good.

    Lets hope Stephenson doesnt work out that way!

    Myers and Oscar T are the two guys im most looking forward too seeing this year in terms of hitting, cant wait to see them in the bigs. Looking forward to seeing whether Cole can become the bucks true ace, and my boy Bauer too in terms of my fantasy team (Rosenthal too).

    Lots of exciting names due to surface this year. 2013 should be even more prospect call-up crazy than usual!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      You see Shelby Miller sidelined with shoulder tightness? Cards are downplaying it, claiming it’s nothing serious. Rosenthal is starting their first ST exhibition & he might have an early edge on Shelby for the #5 spot, in light of this news.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Like the sound of that! From a purely selfish fantasy point of view that is (sorry Shelby).

        Think both will be up by the ASB anyway mind. I cant see Garcia or Westbrook lasting long this year with these young studs waiting in the wings.

  5. James says:
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    I like teh list, but i am the type that loves old school pedigree and will follow guys like beckham well past the point when i know i should. Montgomery and Beckham are in the same boat as young guys that had a few bad years, so people are forgetting the former elite upside

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Thanks, James. The age curve is the big kicker for me here — both guys are 23 y.o. & in AAA. Too early to quit on ‘em… tools haven’t disappeared, no reason to write them off or bury them on lists behind instructional league talent just yet.

  6. bossmanjunior says:
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    As much as I love David Price, I’ve already made peace with the reality of him being traded, likely next offseason. Its fun to think about what kind of return the Rays could get. Personally, I think it will come down to the Cardinals and Rangers. I think the Mariners will go hard after Stanton.

    After the Chris Carpenter news and the volatility of Garcia, Lynn, and the remaining young arms, I could see the Cardinals as the most logical destination for Price. Wainwright will likely sign an extension and Westbrook has an expensive mutual option in 2014. Like the Rangers, they could really use another front of the rotation starter.

    After the Rays were able to obtain Myers in the Shields deal, I don’t see how they settle for anything less than Tavarez in a Price trade. Maybe something along the lines of OF Taveras, SP Martinez, 1B Adams and OF Garcia. Maybe Rays could include one of Escobar, Beckham or Lee to give the Cardinals depth at shortstop.

    What thinks you, Scott?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I think the Cards would be a good fit, and they certainly have the young talent to get the deal done, but package of Taveras, Martinez, Adams & Garcia is expecting far too much. I think you can cut Taveras out of that pkg & it becomes more reasonable — something like Miller/Martinez + Rosenthal + Adams would get it done.

      Hard to draw a parallel w/ the KC deal because while Taveras & Myers are similar in status, the secondary talent is nowhere close. Rosenthal/Miller/Martinez are valued way, way, way higher than Odorizzi/Montgomery.

      Now, I realize Price is much better than Shields, but I still don’t think you can expect a top 3 prospect (Taveras) and a top-25 prospect (Martinez/Miller) in exchange for him. Maybe in a year’s time when perceived values have changed a bit…

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Yeah maybe. Odorizzi is ranked around 50 on most lists, I believe 45 on ESPN. Maybe just Tavarez, Martinez and a couple C+ prospects. Or maybe a deeper package involving Miller/Martinez, Rosenthal, Adams, plus.

        I would want Profar in a Texas deal, but might run into the same problem. Plus Texas seems incredibly reluctant to trade him. Maybe a Package that starts with Olt and Perez/Buckel.

        Either way, should be fun to follow the Price and Stanton rumors.next offseason.

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