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I wonder if the Rays are mad at the Yankees for stealing their style? The kings of drafting/signing and stashing are back, with a whole new crop of youngsters, and there’s some underrated names to come. While their top specs may not have the name value the Yankees, or say the Braves have, many of them are destined to make an impact on fantasy in the coming years. One of my favorite shortstop prospects calls the Rays home in Willy Adames, who is at most a year away. As well as one of the more slept on corner infield prospects in Casey Gillaspie, who could have an impact this year. In fact the Rays have a lot of high floor, low ceiling types waiting in the wings in Durham ready to become wavier wire fodder, and hot schmotato’s. Not only do we have some Top 100 types, and some floorboreds, we also have some talented far off youngsters, ’round here we call them Lolita’s, for you to crush on. Without further ado, it’s the Top Tampa Bay Rays Prospects. That’s right, it’s TAMPA! Stevie J.

 

Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.

Willy Adames, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA

One of the more underrated shortstop prospects in the game, Adames finds himself often lost in the shuffle behind bigger names like Crawford, Rosario, and Swanson, but he’s every bit as exciting for fantasy. Blessed with a quick bat, plus raw power, and plate approach, Adames might be the best hitter of the top shortstop prospects of the moment. While his power may manifest itself more in the hard line drive variety, he looks like he could be a perennial 20 homer guy from the shortstop position. He’s shown the ability to make hard contact to all fields, leading Southern League shortstops in homers, and doubles. His plus plate approach is evident in one glance at the statline, as he led the Southern League in walks. Should spend a majority of his season with AAA Durham, learning the ways of the women, and never to make love with his socks on. Oh yeah, and getting ready to take Tampa by storm.

Brent Honeywell, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+

Yes, we all know about the screwball, so let’s just get that out of the way now, but who’s the real Brent Honeywell? How about a high pitchability starter with a five pitch arsenal, all of which he can throw for strikes. He can touch 96-97 with his fastball, and he pairs that with his infamous screwball, a solid change, an average curve, and a developing cutter. His mechanics are smooth and he never struggles to find the zone. He induces a great deal of weak contact, and misses enough bats to be dangerous. He’s still probably a year away from a true impact, but he’ll compete with Blake Snell for the Rays ace distinction soon enough.

Jose de Leon, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

Late round finds have been a calling card of the Dodgers over the last decade, and no one pick may come to signify this more than De Leon. Too bad for Dodgers fans he was sold for Logan Forsythe spots. The funny consequence of this trade is he might be just as far off from the majors with the non-competing Rays, that he was with the always competitive Dodgers. A 24th round pick out of Southern in 2013, De Leon has worked hard to transform his body and arsenal, to the point that he’s arguably one of the most polished pitching prospects in the game. With the shine off Lucas Giolito and Tyler Glasnow, and Alex Reyes sent to Dr. Freeze’s waiting room, he’s easily one of the top 5 right-handed pitching prospects in the minors. His low to mid 90’s fastball generates swings and misses in bunches, having led the minors in K/9 in 2015 with a 12.8 K/9. After overcoming an early season injury, De Leon dominated the hitting friendly PCL to the tune of a 2.61 ERA, .94 WHIP, .194 BAA, and 111 strikeouts to 20 walks in 86.1 innings. Outside his plus fastball his arsenal is comprised of a plus change, and an average low 80’s slider that’s most effective off the plate, and to his glove-side. Doesn’t look like there’s a place in the rotation for him at the present, barring a trade, but should work his way into the preferred five come mid-July. The hope is he’s up earlier, but that’s tough to conclude.

Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.

Casey Gillaspie, 1B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

An on base machine with a power stroke, Gillaspie is a switch hitter with baseball bloodlines. He doesn’t possess the quickest bat, but he makes up for that with excellent pitch recognition skills, and strike zone awareness. He’s rarely struggled at any level, and looks like he’s prepared to make an impact with Tampa at some point this season. He should pair up with Adames long term to form a nice middle of the order partnership for the Rays. Another unheralded dynasty league player you should target.

Jake Bauers, 1B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA

A well rounded player, Bauer makes loads of line drive contact, and plays an excellent first base. Unfortunately he’s boring as hell for fantasy, until he’s shows the ability to clear the fences regularly. He’ll play a little more in deep leagues that use average and on base as categories, but doesn’t have the middle of the order upside I see in Gillaspie.

Chih-Wei Hu, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

Try and read that name and not have it said in your head by Jackie Chan…. I’ll wait, you can not do it. Don’t care if I’m playing into bad Boston stereotypes, and come off as racial insensitive. Another fastball/changeup guy, though unlike Faria he possesses plus velocity on the fastball. Ever the ones to chase the guys throwing the odd secondaries, Hu throws a palmball, and also mixes in a curve, and what I call a cutter, but some all a slider.

Justin Williams, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA/A+

A powerful bat first outfield prospect that puts on shows in batting practice. He parlayed an excellent winter assignment to the Australian Baseball League in 2015, into a very solid season across Hi-A and AA, slashing .295/.318/.447 with 10 homers. He’s still very much a grip it and rip it type at the plate but he’s made improvements as a hitter in games. If he can really unleash his raw power he becomes a far more interesting prospect for dynasty.

Jacob Faria, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

A true floorbored pitching who gets by on deception and working off a good fastball/changeup mix that keeps hitters off balance. He doesn’t have the jaw-dropping velocity on his fastball that we’ve come to expect these days, working mostly in the low 90’s, but he throws it with good down hill plane from his 6’6 frame. Poetic! Where Faria loses me is his breaking stuff, neither his slider or curve are even average pitches, and that might hurt him in the tough AL East should he make some starts with Tampa this year.

Others: Daniel Robertson, Jaime Schultz, Taylor Guerrieri, Ryne Stanek, Hunter Wood

Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs

Josh Lowe, 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk

The Rays 2016 first round pick at 13th overall is a natural lefthanded power hitter with a rocket arm. He showed some unexpected plate approach in rookie ball, but he’s still raw at the plate. Which is to be expected from any 18 year old.

Adrian Rondon, SS | Age: 18 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: A-

A powerful youngster, who’s slowly begun to show returns on big promise. He’s a power/hit tool combo, but a long way off. If you’re league is deep enough for a draft and stash, he’s a prime candidate.

Jesus Sanchez, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: Rk

A toolsy teenager with plus raw power from a compact lefthanded stroke, Sanchez is another off the radar dynasty league asset on the verge of a breakout. He has impressive strike zone awareness for a player his age. Sanchez is a plus runner but a below average base stealer, so I’m unsure if his speed will ever manifest itself in high steal totals.

Lucius Fox, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: A-

A speedy up the middle talent that may move off of short for center one day, but for now he’s a middle infield prospect. One of the top July 2nd signings of the 2015 period, who the Rays shrewdly acquired in the Matt Moore deal. He has loud tools lead by his speed, that could make him a future top of the order dynamo. Using the word Dynamo makes things sound fast, and foreign, of which Lucius is both. Though he’s not really foreign as he pulled an Alex Reyes and moved to the Bahamas to bask in beautiful women, and bonus pool money. He’s still super raw at the plate, but is dynamic when he does get on base. Boom! Didn’t mention Batman once. Doh! I just did.

Garrett Whitley, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2016 Level: A-

Another talented teenager with loud tools, the Rays scooped Whitley in the first round of the 2015 draft at 13th overall. His greatest asset, and the one that gets Prospectors like Halp and myself dreaming is his elite bat speed, that’s been described as plus-plus from scouts. Whitley pairs that with a raw but elite set of tools for fantasy. He’s a plus runner on the bases, stealing 20 bases this summer in short season ball. His plus raw power is evident when watching his cage work, but it’s yet to translate to games. If Whitley can get over his pitch recognition, and contact issues, and puts together the whole package we could be looking at a future fantasy star.

Carlos Vargas, SS | Age: 17 | ETA: 2021 | 2016 Level: DSL

Acquired in the Mallex Smith/Drew Smyly trade, Vargas might be one that Mariners fans come back to if Smyly’s time in Seattle doesn’t work out. At the moment Vargas is a power-hitting middle infielder with elite bat speed, and power to all fields. Needs to work on pitch recognition skills, as he struggles with good off-speed, and breaking balls, not out of the norm for a 17 year old though. Is considered very coachable, and a student of the game. Might move off of short for third base where his arm and offensive profile fit well.

Others: Kevin Gadea, Kevin Padlo, Genesis Cabrera, Austin Franklin, Eleardo Cabrera

 

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  1. Member Berries says:
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    Ralph!
    16 Team Keeper – would you trade away Frazier for some SP depth and Tyler O’Neil?

    came across you on a youtube fantasy baseball – good work. love the hard work, and appreciate the knowledge

    • Member Berries says:
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      @Member Berries:

      Clint Frazier*

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Member Berries: Yes! I’d probably deal Frazier for O’Neill straight up, I love that guy, but I’d make that deal.

  2. Steve Stevenson says:
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    Ooooooh yeah, here’s the good stuff. #Razz30

  3. jon says:
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    Have any pitching prospects that could make an impact at ‘some point’ this season not named Giolito, kopech, Glasnow, Hader or De Leon..

    thanks

    Martes?

    I have an open roster spot and would like a high upside arm.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @jon: Gsellman, Luke Weaver, Sean Newcomb if any of the Braves old heads die, Jeff Hoffman is a Colorado guy so he’s not recommended but he’s got upside.

      • Another Dan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Gsellman having an impact is looking a bit more likely with Wheeler having some arm trouble again.

        Same with Weaver benefitting from Reyes’ TJ surgery.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Another Dan: Agree on both fronts. I think Gsellman is a better pitcher than Wheeler.

          • Another Dan says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz:

            Reports I read had it as a competition for the 5th spot between Wheeler, Gsellamn, Lugo. Does Gsellman win that one?

            Same is St Louis, Looks like Wacha or Weaver. Wacha is favourite according to my reading.

            • JeF WiTh 1 F says:
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              @Another Dan: They’re calling it a competition but to me its Gsellmans job to lose starting the spring. They’d rather ease Wheeler in from the bullpen and have him ready for the inevitable injury to one of the starters down the road.

              • Another Dan says:
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                @JeF WiTh 1 F:

                Thanks JeF. Good to hear, have him stashed in a dynasty. I read that Wheeler was likely on a 100 IP limit, so the bullpen would likely be a way of managing that.

                As a newbie to baseball (there are more and more UK fans I’m finding) doesn’t a reliever warm up more often/longer and then subject their arm to more stress than a SP?

                Best wishes,

                Dan

                • JeF WiTh 1 F says:
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                  @Another Dan: Maybe a true reliever but Wheeler will be handled with kid gloves.

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Another Dan: I think Gsellman wins that one. There’s no way a those guys stay healthy.

                  • Racehorse says:
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                    @Ralph Lifshitz: For 2016 Gsellmen threw 115 innings in the minors and 44.2 innings in the majors. Do you think there’ll be an innings cap on him for 2017?

                    • Ralph Lifshitz

                      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                      @Racehorse: Yeah I’m not sure, he threw 140 the year before, and he’s not frail. Maybe 180? I’m not real worried. In fact I’m less worried about his health than any other Mets arm.

  4. Another Dan says:
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    Just negotiated the following trade in my 12 team dynasty, H2h, 30 MLB, 25 MilB rosters.

    My : David Price / Rhys Hoskins
    His : Yu Darvish / Tom Murphy

    Should I feel guilty?

    Another Dan

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Another Dan: You got Yu and Murphy? I wouldn’t feel guilty at all.

      • Another Dan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Yep, but I’m holding too many catchers (Realmuto, Murphy, Collins, Mejia) now. So I need to do a bit more wheeling and dealing.

        Also helped solve my problem of my plethora of 1B prospects.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Another Dan: You should be able to move one of those catchers easily.

  5. Raoul Duke says:
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    In a keeper league would you trade Betts for Trea Turner? Grey commented that he has some reservation that Betts could go 20/20. Trea is certainly riding a hype train following the start of his MLB career, but he could be a 20/40 guy. Should I stick with the guy that has done it, or take a ride on the projection train?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Raoul Duke: Keep Betts, I like Turner but he ain’t Betts IMO.

  6. JeF WiTh 1 F says:
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    Perfect timing, I just traded for Adames and Honeywell on my Dynasty team…My team is about a year away from being a real contender so Gave up Lackey for both of them….Then i read this post and feel even better about it.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JeF WiTh 1 F: Nice! I like both those guys, Adames is my dude.

  7. Raoul Duke says:
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    Thanks for the work that you and Halp do on the podcasts. Both of the Razzball podcasts are truly entertaining. Great mix of useful content combined with funny banter and pop culture. Kudos to Grey and JB as well if you all are reading. I subscribe to both podcasts on Pocket Casts, so I am able to listen throughout the day. Keep up the great work.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Raoul Duke: Thanks! I really appreciate it!

  8. Mark S says:
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    dynasty league question –
    trade Betances (3 years of control) for
    Gsellman (6 yrs), Tilson (6 yrs), Brad Miller (2 yrs) and Forrest Whitley?
    this is a holds league so Betances is pretty valuable. seems like a decent return to me though?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mark S: Yeah that’s a good return. I’d do it.

  9. FishMan says:
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    Ralph, little help please? 9 team NL only 5×5 23/260 + 12 man reserve squad. I traded $1 Folty for $1 Rodney (for a 5th starter, I’ll take the risk that he is the killer closer of the 1st half instead of the horrendous setup guy of the 2nd half). That leave me with 11 (max) possible keepers. FYI hitting usually tougher to find, pitching usually pretty deep, especially starters.

    Myers 18, Reyes 7, Story 9, C Hernandez 1, Kemp 23, Peraza 5
    Lackey 13, Taillon 5, Martinez 2 (last year of contract – long term him to 12/17 for 3/4 years? and Rodney 1.

    I can keep 1 (or none) of Drury 5, T Walker 16 (damn that Segura trade!), Belt 20. Thoughts? And many thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @FishMan: I’d keep Belt.

  10. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    agreed they would be crazy (pre-injury) not to start reyes, didn’t mean they wouldn’t have.

    that’s hilarious that “beantown” is to actual boston people as “the lou” is to actual STL people. i had no idea. i’ve never called it beantown either (nor been there).

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: as far as anything the cardinals say i’d trust none of it, they’ve also said in last week (before reyes injury) that wacha would start “if healthy”.

  11. Racehorse says:
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    Ralph –

    16 team dynasty mixer, 24 keepers, 3 round draft = 27 man rosters …

    In your opinion, which of the following minor leaguers [from my minor league roster] would make a fair trade to secure the #1 draft pick in order for me to draft Gsellman? I’d prefer to hold onto my pitching prospects …

    Lewis Brinson
    Raimel Tapia
    Tom Murphy
    Dilson Herrera
    Matt Chapman
    Greg Bird
    Pedro Gonzalez
    Jharel Cotton
    Brock Stewart
    Erick Fedde
    Stephen Gonsalves

    What do you think?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Racehorse: I’d hold on trading Brinson, Tapia, Murphy or Chapman. Maybe Herrera, Bird, or Gonzalez.

  12. Brian says:
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    6×6 dynasty h2h league with 16 teams. use QS instead of W, k/bb and ops as extra cats. finished 1st 2 years ago, 2nd last year. my closers are oh, melancon, and madson (for the moment at least). other MRs i have to use for ratios and possible closers are thornburg, neris, and bedrosian. I’ve found that 3 closers usually gives me a pretty good chance to win the category most weeks.

    been offered wade davis for my 1st round pick (will be 15th out of 16 teams picking in first rd) in our minor league draft. the draft includes players drafted in 2016, plus intl signees (like maitan) and existing unowned minors players (acuna, keller, leody taveras, juan soto, sandy alcantara, Szapucki, kaprielian are some of the notables). Through promotions and trades my minor league roster is pretty weak at the moment. Whoever i draft will end up being my best prospect. Would you deal the 1st to pick up wade davis or is that too much for an incremental upgrade?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Brian: I say hold and make the pick, see if you can get Davis for something else.

  13. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    20 team h2h dynasty with all sorts of added crap, including OPS, defensive stuff (putouts, assists, OF assists, fielding %) BB, for hitters, holds, relief wins and losses, K/9, relief appearances, QS, OBPA. minimum 9 TEX players must be on roster at all times. 5 DL/5 NA
    C sal perez (due to putouts he has extra value since he plays tons)
    1B none (or profar)
    2B forsythe
    SS andrus
    3B beltre
    LF dahl
    CF blackman
    RF stanton
    util odubel
    BN choo/profar/mazara
    NA brinson (i really hated that real life TEX trade, it gave away useful lineup slot to a lucroy i’ll never pay for, and made brinson have way less value to me), gallo (recently depthcharts has him back in minors to start year, which is good for me, as our max BN slots are 4)

    SP (5 min, 6 max and obviously 6 is optimal)
    -darvish/hammel/cobb/archer/urias/wheeler

    RP (7 roster spots for this)
    -kela/giles/jeffress (threw back romo, think i gcan do at least equal to him, baez appears ahead of him)

    so i got room to draft prospects, and need RP and mostly 1B. obviously attempt bellinger (just now in yahoo), have picks at 15th, 22nd, 32nd, 35th.

    1. got a guy who’s interested in sal perez for me getting desmond, but he obviously wants more than sal perez here. if d.norris is best catcher out there is this doable assuming i only have to give one of wheeler/cobb/hammel back in it? wheeler might be a drop anyway, i’m seeing he might have a 100 innings cap, and he’s already sore as well. if i get this done i could target one of z.collins/mejia in draft as stashes. when i say norris is best i mean both playing time and production. playing time is more important when dealing with catchers that low down.

    2. as far as that pick at 15th, my guess is this order works if i don’t get any desmond thing done (he probably wants more than what i listed anyway): bellinger/gurriel/thames/belt/shaw/vogelbach/r-zimm/plouffe and i could stash d.smith.

    3. in general, who’s first drop out of wheeler/cobb/hammel. long term here.

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