Over the last couple of months, I’ve been digging through each MLB team’s farm system to provide the top dynasty fantasy baseball prospects that should be on your radar. Today, we’ll break down the top-25 Tampa Bay Rays prospects.
Even before Wander Franco burst onto the scene, this Rays system was widely regarded as one of the best in baseball. Everyone in their player development and scouting departments needs to give themselves a big old pat on the back. This system is absolutely loaded, and frankly, has been for quite some time. Over the last several years, Tampa has pumped out a ton of homegrown talent, most notably, the 2018 AL Cy Young, Blake Snell. He’s just one of many to make an impact lately and there’s plenty more on the way. Well, the top dog on this list is still a couple years away, but he’s certainly going to be worth the wait.
Overall System Grade: A
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Durham – International League
Double-A: Montgomery – Southern League
Single-A (Advanced): Charlotte – Florida State League
Single-A (Full): Bowling Green – Midwest League
Short-season Single-A: Hudson Valley – New York-Penn League
Rookie: Princeton – Appalachian League, one team in the Gulf Coast League, two teams in the Dominican Summer League.
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Podcast on the Fantrax Podcast Network with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney.
New Top-25 Tampa Bay Rays Prospects
1. Wander Franco, SS, Bats: S, DOB: 3/1/01, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (RK): .351/.418/.587/1.005, 10 2B, 7 3B, 11 HR, 4 SB, 9.9 BB%, 7.0 K%, 242 AB
It’s not very often that you’ll see a 17-year-old in the top spot of one of my top-25 rankings. But Wander Franco is no ordinary 17-year-old and no ordinary prospect. Tampa Bay wasted no time during the 2017 J2 period, securing the uber-talented Franco for $3.825 million and assigned him to the Appalachian League to start his professional career in 2018. Total domination ensued and here we are with Franco in the top spot here and a top-10 overall prospect for dynasty leagues.
Full Wander Franco highlights from Instructs Day 1.
We saw one of the quickest bats on the planet. Check out the end of the video. the double plus bat speed on 2 foul balls. Cant even see the bat it's so fast.
— Prospects Live (@ProspectsLive) September 19, 2018
As a switch-hitter, Franco has displayed a great feel for hitting from both sides of the plate with exceptional barrel control and plus-plus contact skills. Everything about his swing is both explosive and fluid. That’s a hard combination to have consistently in your swing. Franco’s bat speed is truly elite and the swing path is direct through the zone. He uses a moderate leg kick to time pitches and explodes through the zone with strong hip rotation and lightning-quick wrists. There’s some natural loft to his swing as well which is good to see for a teenager than already exhibits plus raw power with plenty of room to add strength to his frame.
If you want to find an aspect of his game that isn’t jaw-dropping, he’s not the fastest guy in the world. However, he’s quick enough to project double-digit speed and has shown above-average range at shortstop with a strong throwing arm. We’re looking at a bonafide stud shortstop prospect and likely a future superstar shortstop. I hate to throw around such lofty terms for a 17-year-old, but with Franco, it’s warranted.
2. Jesus Sanchez, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 10/7/97, ETA 2020/2021
2018 Stats (A+/AA): .282/.324/.433/.757, 32 2B, 11 HR, 7 SB, 5.3 BB%, 18.9 K%, 457 AB
Back in the 2014 J2 class, Sanchez wasn’t really considered to be one of the top free agents available and signed for only $400K. If he continues to develop and reaches his ceiling or anything close to it, that $400K will be a steal. While he’s a solid defender in the outfield, the offensive side of things is where Sanchez really has a chance to shine.
Like with Franco above, Sanchez possesses explosive bat speed from the left side of the plate. His pre-pitch setup is quiet and balanced, followed by a moderate rear-leg load and hand coil. Sanchez will use a quick leg kick to time pitches and get his swing in motion and the swing itself is direct through the zone with some natural loft. That loft, along with his plus raw power, gives him a shot at 30-plus homers down the road while hitting for a strong batting average as well.
One area that I’d love to see him improve is his aggressiveness at the plate. Sanchez doesn’t strike out a ton, but doesn’t work the count too often and often swings early in the count. It hasn’t hindered his batting average at all due to his solid contact skills, but being more patient and waiting for a pitch to drive could certainly help unlock that raw power of his.
3. Brett Honeywell, RHP, DOB: 3/31/95, ETA 2019
2018 Stats: Did Not Pitch
The 2018 season contained the Major League debuts for several high-upside arms and Brent Honeywell was supposed to be one of them. Tommy John had other ideas, causing Honeywell to miss the entire season and postpone that debut until sometime in 2019. You can never fully predict how a pitcher will return from major surgery, but with how pitchers have come back and performed recently from Tommy John surgery, it inspires confidence than Honeywell can return to his pre-injury self and remain a dynamic pitching prospect.
#Rays stellar prospect @brent_honeywell’s got that nasty stuff. #FuturesGame pic.twitter.com/l5C82V4KaE
— MLB (@MLB) July 9, 2017
You have to love this arsenal. Honeywell will attack hitters with FIVE different pitches. Not one, not two, not three, five. All five pitchers are average or better with three or four of them being considered plus. He’ll sit routinely in the low-90s with his fastball and can get up into the mid-90s with arm side run. The plethora of offspeed pitches is highlighted by a slider, screwball, and fading changeup, and Honeywell will also mix in a serviceable curveball. Yes, you read that right. Honeywell throws a screwball and it’s a thing of beauty with plenty of depth to it.
Add in a clean delivery without much effort and plus command and you have the ceiling of an ace and the floor of a strong #2/#3 starter. Assuming he returns to form, Honeywell is one to bank on reaching his ceiling.
4. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Bats: S, DOB: 2/9/98, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A/A+): .320/.403/.459/.862, 25 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR, 55 SB. 11.5 BB%, 12.4 K%, 475 AB
A lot of attention was given to Wander Franco with the season he had, and rightfully so. But another middle infielder in this Rays system broke out in a big way, vaulting well within the top-100 prospects overall. As a switch-hitter, Brujan has shown a good feel for hitting from both sides of the plate with solid plate discipline, but is more advanced from the left side, hitting .338 with a .938 OPS and all nine of his homers from that side in 2018.
Brujan uses a closed pre-pitch setup with his hands chest high and weight balanced. Everything from there is quick and fluid, from his read leg load and hand coil, to his stride, hip rotation, and exceptional bat speed. For a little guy, Brujan has sneaky good power with some natural loft to his swing. Don’t be surprised to see him annually in the teens for home runs to go along with a high batting average.
We haven’t even gotten to the most exciting part about Brujan. That, of course, being his blazing speed. Brujan is one of the fastest players in the minors and a legit threat to steal 40-plus bases in any given season. This is a second baseman firmly on the rise and of the top dynasty second basemen to own right now.
5. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Bats: L, DOB: 7/7/95, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): .330/.416/.568/.984, 32 2B, 27 HR, 1 SB, 12.3 BB%, 16.2 K%, 482 AB
We shift from one of the fastest players in the system to one with 30-grade speed at best. But hey, who cares, when you have can hit like Nathaniel Lowe can. He’s such a sophisticated hitter, you need to call him Nathaniel and not Nate. Lowe had a breakout season of his own in 2018, setting career-highs in basically every offensive category you can think of, including almost quadrupling his home run total from seven in 2017 to 27 last season. The plus raw power had always been there and finally showed up consistently in games thanks to Lowe elevating the ball more in 2018.
Nathaniel Lowe is slashing .400/.469/.659 with 5 HR and 10 BB in 85 ABs. Take notice. HR number 5 was crushed to the opposite field. #Raysup pic.twitter.com/1I2nmQb1Uu
— Peace, love, and dirty feet (@mufuhkajones) April 29, 2018
For a big man, Lowe has phenomenal bat control and plate coverage. He’s shown above-average contact skills throughout his minor league career and has limited his strikeouts while consistently recording walk rates north of 10%. Low has seemed to find that nice balance between being patient waiting for a pitch to drive and aggressively attacking mistake pitches from opposing pitchers. Lowe uses his strong athletic frame well in his swing with good lower half incorporation and plus bat speed with a slight uppercut swing path that generates plenty of loft. With his below average speed and range, Lowe is going to be limited to first base or even some DH moving forward, putting considerable pressure on his bat to produce at a high level. And from what I’ve seen, Lowe’s bat is up to the task.
6. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Bats: L, DOB: 12/18/95, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (RK/A/A+): 78.1 IP, 2.41 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 11.8 K/9, .194
2018 Stats (RK/A/A+): .214/.368/.359/.727, 8 2B, 6 HR, 0 SB, 18.2 BB%, 21.5 K%, 192 AB
Ah, Brendan McKay. One of the most intriguing prospects in the minors due to his trying to succeed as a two-way player. Let’s start at the plate. The first thing that stands out with McKay is his patience at the plate. He’s able to work the count and draw plenty of walks, but could stand to be a tad more aggressive at times. During his time at Louisville, McKay hit for both power and average with a clean left-handed stroke that produced plus bat speed and some natural loft. Outside of the patient approach, McKay didn’t show a ton of promise at the plate in 2018, but should be able to hit for a respectable average and moderate pop over a full season. However, it’s his abilities on the mound that has me the most excited about his future potential.
McKay doesn’t blow hitters away with his low-90’s fastball, but displays plus command and can mix his pitches well. In addition to his fastball, McKay will mix in a cutter/slider, plus curveball, and serviceable changeup with some fade to it. All four pitches grade as average to plus and play up due to McKay’s command. Regardless of if he remains a two-way player or not, McKay has a fairly high floor as a #3 starter with the upside of an innings-eating #2 that strikes out more than a batter per inning with a strong walk rate.
7. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, DOB: 11/6/99, ETA 2021/2022
2018 Stats (RK): 32.2 IP, 1.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 3.6 BB/9, 10.2 K/9, .189 AVG
The 2018 FYPD crop was loaded with intriguing arms and Matthew Liberatore is firmly in the discussion for the highest pitcher upside in the class along with the likes of Casey Mize and Cole Winn. Liberatore won’t blow anyone away with high velocity but the approach and pitchability here are off the charts. The arsenal runs four pitches deep, all of which are above-average to plus offerings. Liberatore will routinely sit in the 90-93 mph range with his fastball and has room to add strength to his frame and a few ticks of velocity along with it.
Out of his three secondary pitches, the slider and changeup are the best two of the bunch, both flashing plus at times. On top of the arsenal, Liberatore’s delivery and mechanics are clean and repeatable and he commands all of his pitches fairly well, giving him both a high ceiling and solid floor as well.
8. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, Bats: R, DOB: 11/11/97, ETA 2020/2021
2018 Stats (A): .284/.339/.494/.833, 20 2B, 21 HR, 10 SB, 6.9 BB%, 15.4 K%, 405 AB
After dominating rookie ball for the last two seasons, the then 20-year-old Colombian got the bump to full-season A Ball and continued to impress. With the exception of his speed, all of Hernandez’s tools have the chance to be 55s or 60s by the time he’s done developing. In addition to his strong defense and throwing arm, Hernandez has displayed above-average to plus contact skills and blossoming raw power. He uses a lower hand setup and slightly deeper coil but that hasn’t hindered his bat speed so far and the swing as a whole is clean and direct through the zone. Hernandez has a chance to hit for both power and speed moving forward, which paired with his defensive abilities, makes him one of the best all-around catching prospects in the game.
9. Shane Baz, RHP, DOB: 6/17/99, ETA 2021/2022
2018 Stats (RK): 52.1 IP, 4.47 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 5.0 BB/9, 10.1 K/9, .267 AVG
There are normal players to be named later and then there’s Shane Baz who came to the Rays near the end of the season as the PTBNL in the Chris Archer deal to add to an already impressive haul that Tampa Bay received from Pittsburgh (Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow). Baz, a 2017 first-rounder, had his workload kept in check last season by the Rays and was assigned to the Appalachian Rookie League instead of getting the bump to low-A as anticipated.
When Baz is on, he’ll attack hitters with a dynamic four-pitch arsenal, headlined by a low to mid-90s fastball with life and a devastating slider that he can turn into more of a cutter at times. He’ll also mix in a curveball and changeup that both flash above-average with solid movement. If Baz can keep his command in check, there’s plenty of upside in Baz’s electric right arm with the potential to develop into a high strikeout #2 starter.
10. Brandon Lowe, 2B/OF, Bats: L, DOB: 7/6/94, ETA 2019 (Debuted in 2018)
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): .297/.391/.558/.949, 31 2B, 22 HR, 8 SB, 12.8 BB%, 22.9 K%, 380 AB
2018 Stats (MLB): .233/.324/.450/.774, 6 2B, 6 HR, 2 SB, 10.8 BB%, 25.7 K%, 129 AB
Lowe graduates this list with one more at-bat, but for now, he remains prospect eligible. None of Lowe’s tools will have the wow factor or make you envision a future star, but he continues to get the job done at the plate, hitting close to .300 with 50-plus extra-base hits in each of the last two seasons.
What I love about Lowe’s approach and swing in the simplicity and balance. Lowe will start with his hands a little lower, but everything is clean and fluid with plenty of bat speed and some natural loft. With his contact skills and raw power, I can see him developing into a .280/20 type with enough speed to add in a handful of stolen bases. After getting the call to Tampa late last summer, Lowe will go into 2019 with a chance to crack the opening day lineup, but a return to Triple-A might be in store due to the depth Tampa has.
11. Shane McClanahan, LHP, DOB: 4/28/97, ETA 2020/2021
2018 Stats (RK): 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K
After the Rays nabbed Liberatore with the 16th pick, they made it back to back southpaws by taking Shane McClanahan with the 31st pick out of the University of South Florida. The throwing arm is where the similarities between the two first-rounders end though. McClanahan has an electric fastball in the mid to upper-90’s and a plus fading changeup but has trouble commanding them consistently. He’ll also mix in a curveball which is well behind the other two. You have to love the fastball/changeup combination, but McClanahan’s ultimate upside hinges on the development of his curveball and overall command of his arsenal. If both of those progress, there’s #2 starter upside here. If not, say hello to the bullpen. Though, he could turn into a damn good late-inning option.
12. Lucius Fox, SS, Bats: S, DOB: 7/2/97, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA): .268/.351/.341/.692, 20 2B, 3 HR, 29 SB, 9.5 BB%, 18.9 K%, 455 AB
A 2015 J2 signing, Fox has a solid core of tools, centered around his solid defense and top-notch speed. That speed and athleticism have led to 44 steals per 600 at-bats so far in his minor league career with a respectable 74.2% success rate. It’s also been apparent in the field where Fox has displayed plus range to go along with a decent throwing arm from shortstop.
How good Fox ultimately becomes is up to the hit tool. The approach is solid, but Fox can get a little long with his swing and get out on his front foot too early, making his swing fairly upper-half oriented. With minimal power, Fox is going to have to hit for average to return high value in dynasty formats. As of now, I’m still indecisive if I believe that can happen. Still, the contact skills are prominent enough to keep his average at least in the .250 range.
13. Moises Gomez, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 8/27/98, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A): .280/.328/.503/.831, 34 2B, 19 HR, 4 SB, 6.6 BB%, 26.6 K%, 471 AB
After two straight lackluster seasons in the GCL and Appy, Gomez made solid strides during his first season in Single-A, finishing with 60 extra-base hits and a .831 OPS in 122 games. There had always been some sneaky good raw power in Gomez’s bat and his approach and swing have consistently yielded flyball rates north of 40%, so it’s nice to see him finally start hitting some balls over the fence. There’s not a ton of speed here so Gomez will have to continue to hit if he wants to continue climbing the ranks. The 2018 season was a good start and showed the upside he possesses. However, the approach is still not the greatest and could use some refinement. He’s going to be one to monitor in 2019.
14. Nick Schnell, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 3/27/00, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): .239/.378/.373/.751, 4 2B, 1 HR, 2 SB, 17.1 BB%, 28.0 K%, 67 AB
Right after Tampa selected McClanahan with the 31st pick, they grabbed toolsy outfielder Nick Schnell out of the Indiana prep ranks. Liberatore, McClanahan, and Schnell as first-round picks in one draft? You have to be happy with that if your a Tampa Bay Rays fan like Fantrax’s own Doug Anderson. When I say toolsy, I mean it. Schnell has a diverse and prominent set of tools that gives him a chance to be an impact player on both sides of the ball.
OF, Nick Schnell (@nick_d_schnell / @RHSRebelBBall ) with an RBI triple in the 1st vs Sandburg (IL) #midwestselect #mlbdraft pic.twitter.com/DPIWNmoYSU
— PBR Indiana (@PBRIndiana) April 14, 2018
As it stands now, Schnell already has four above-average or better tools with the power not far behind. His swing is loose and fluid from the left side with plenty of bat speed and some natural loft. There’s still plenty of power projection left too as he fills out his skinny 6’3 frame. With his swing and raw power, 25-plus homers aren’t out of the question once he adds bulk. If he does, expect him to lose a little speed, but with his athleticism, he should still be an above-average runner and outfield defender. There’s a lot to like here with Schnell, making him a sneaky-good FYPD target in dynasty leagues.
15. Nick Solak, 2B/OF, Bats: R, DOB: 1/11/95, ETA 2019/2020
2018 Stats (AA): .282/.384/.450/.834, 17 2B, 19 HR, 21 SB, 12.0 BB%, 19.8 K%, 478 AB
The skill set might not be loud, but Solak can flat-out hit. Since being drafted in the 2nd round back in 2016, the lowest batting average Solak has had at any level is the .282 mark last season in the Southern League. Solak starts with his hands lower and coils up before his swing. This leads to a mostly linear swing so I wouldn’t project any additional power out of him. But with his bat speed and strength, getting into the teens is very attainable to go along with a solid batting average thanks to above-average contact skills. There’s some modest speed here too, though that’s been more apparent on the bases than in the field where his limited range limits him to second base or an outfield corner.
16. Josh Lowe, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 2/20/98, ETA 2020/2021
2018 Stats (A+): .238/.322/.361/.683, 25 2B, 6 HR, 18 SB, 10.3 BB%, 25.7 K%, 399 AB
Shorty got Lowe, Lowe, Lowe. How many Lowe’s are in this damn system anyway? Jeez. Well, here’s the third and final Lowe in these rankings. Despite a strong set of tools, Lowe has struggled to produce consistently so far in his minor league career outside of the speed department. There he’s combined for 40 steals in 54 attempts over his last 223 games. But outside of that, the batting average has remained low and the strikeout rate high. Still, there’s hope that Lowe figures it out at the plate. A good first step will be shortening his swing that is naturally long due to a deeper hand coil.
17. Colin Poche, LHP, DOB: 1/17/94, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): 66.0 IP, 0.82 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 15.0 K/9, .151 AVG
To be included on this deep and talented list as a reliever, there needs to be a considerable upside and the potential to pitch in the 8th or 9th inning. Check and check. Poche is your typical fastball/breaking ball reliever with a low-90s fastball and plus wipeout slider. He won’t blow people away with the fastball, but his solid command over both pitches make both highly effective and give him considerable strikeout upside. Poche should be up in the Rays bullpen at some point this summer.
18. Taylor Walls, SS, Bats: S, DOB: 7/10/96, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A): .304/.393/.428/.821, 28 2B, 6 HR, 31 SB, 12.2 BB%, 14.8 K%, 467 AB
If you’re not familiar with Taylor Walls, consider this your preview. Walls is a switch-hitting shortstop with a good feel for hitting from both sides, plus speed, and the potential for double-digit power if he adds a little loft to his swing. He’s more than adequate at shortstop and should remain there moving forward, which is always the big question with shortstop prospects. He’s one to keep an eye on as he progresses into the upper minors.
19. Garrett Whitley, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 3/13/97, ETA 2021
2018 Stats: Did Not Play
A torn labrum cost Whitley the entire 2018 season, putting a halt on the progress he had made in 2017. A .249 average might not look like progress, but Whitley finally started driving the ball with regularity in 2017 after displaying very minimal in-game power previously. The raw power has always been there, but Whitley’s pitch selection and contact skills need major refinement if he wants to tap into the power consistently in games.
20. Joe McCarthy, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 2/23/94, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (RK/A+/AAA): .244/.356/.461/.818, 13 2B, 8 HR, 4 SB, 13.4 BB%, 24.1 K%, 180 AB
A big, athletic outfielder, McCarthy’s speed and athleticism have translated well, both on the bases and in the outfield as well. Up until a shortened 180 at-bat 2018 season, McCarthy had three straight seasons of 18 or more steals and had a 600 at-bat pace of 35 steals for his career. With his frame, you might think there’s some plus power to go along with that speed. Wrong. I mean, there’s some power here, but I’d grade his raw power at around a 50 and his lack of loft and lower half incorporation limits his overall power potential.
21. Resly Linares, LHP, DOB: 12/11/97, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A): 84.1 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 10.4 K/9, .222 AVG
Despite his lack of velocity, Linares has posted strong minor league numbers to date including two seasons with a K/9 above 10. He’s found success due to a strong overall arsenal, sound command, and a good approach to attacking hitters. With his slight frame, there’s still some hope he adds strength and velocity over the next couple years, but Linares can still succeed with a fastball hovering around 90mph and a good feel for both his breaking ball and changeup. If he can continue to command his three-pitch mix, there’s mid-rotation upside here.
For #Rays fans, a slo-mo slider from 20-year-old Class A arm Resly Linares (6’2, 170 lbs.)@draysbay @TheAthleticTB pic.twitter.com/C2Tngr0wij
— Emily Waldon (@EmilyCWaldon) September 9, 2018
22. Jelfry Marte, SS, Bats: S, DOB: 3/27/01, ETA, 2024
2018 Stats (RK): .281/.317/.314/.630, 3 2B, 0 HR, 7 SB, 3.6 BB%, 15.8 K%, 153 AB
Most know the Marte signing story by now. Signed for an even $3 million by the Twins who then rescinded the contract after finding a vision issue in his physical allowing Minnesota to sign him for $820K. As of now, Marte is much more advanced defensively and on the base paths, but has shown a good feel for hitting from both sides with solid contact skills and some gap power. The defense is the carrying tool and Marter could blossom into an intriguing shortstop prospect if the hit tool comes along.
23. Anthony Banda, LHP, DOB: 8/10/93, ETA 2019 (Debuted in 2018)
2018 Stats (AAA): 42.0 IP, 3.64 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, 10.5 K/9, .272 AVG
2018 Stats (MLB): 14.2 IP, 3.68 ERA, 10.2 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 6.1 K/9, .235 AVG
After a rough PCL stint in 2017, Banda came over from Arizona to Tampa Bay and enjoyed a resurgent 2018 campaign in the International League, earning him a call-up to Tampa Bay early in the season. But after just one start and two relief appearances, Banda needed to undergo Tommy John surgery and won’t be back until around the all-star break this season. Banda has two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, but struggles to consistently command them and has yet to establish a serviceable changeup. The likely outcomes are a #3/#4 type starter or a solid middle reliever if the changeup and command don’t develop.
24. Alejandro Pie, SS, Bats: R, DOB: 1/31/02, ETA 2024
2018 Stats: Did Not Play
The Rays signed Pie for $1.385 million out of the Dominican Republic last summer as one of their two big signings from the period. The first thing you see with Pie is that he’s a 6’4 shortstop with a lanky frame and a ton of projection left. In what video I’ve seen of the kid so far, the mechanics are fairly clean and he’s already driving pitches with authority to all field, though, without a ton of loft. It’s easy to see his size and bat speed and envision a shortstop that can hit for both power and average. And while he has the upside to do so, he has a lot of work to do with his approach to tap into that potential Still, Pie is certainly one to monitor as his professional career gets underway.
25. Sandy Gaston, RHP, DOB: 12/16/01, ETA 2024
2018 Stats: Did Not Pitch
Adding Gaston here is 110% about upside and projection. As a 16-year-old when the Rays signed him, Gaston was already sitting in the mid-90’s with life on his heater and stands to add a tick or to in velocity before he’s done developing. None of his secondary offerings stand out, but Gaston has shown a feel for both his slider and changeup. there’s plenty of upside here, but a long way to go before that upside is met.
Others to Monitor
Tyler Frank, 2B – Versitile defender with above-average to plus contact skills but minimal power and speed limits his overall upside.
Ryan Boldt, OF – Limited upside, but could go .260/10/15 over a full season. Fits better as a 4th outfielder.
Osmy Gregorio, 3B – A 2016 signing, Gregorio projects as more of a hit/speed third baseman with limited power potential.
Michael Plassemeyer, LHP – Lacks any plus offerings, but command and pitchibility are strengths giving him a solid floor as a #4 type starter. Came over from Seattle earlier in the winter.
Austin Franklin, RHP – A 2016 3rd rounder, Franklin features three above-average or better pitches but struggles to command them consistently. Improved command could vault him well within the top-25.
Michael Mercado, RHP – A 6’4 right-hander that currently sits in the low-90’s but should add some velocity once he fills out his slight frame. Mid-rotation upside.
Nick Ciuffo, C – Defense first catcher with limited offensive upside, but should have a long career due to his defensive prowess and have some AL-Only upside if he can secure regular playing time.
Ian Gibaut, RHP – Solid three-pitch mix and enough command to get the best out of his arsenal. We should see him in the Rays bullpen at some point this summer.
Tanner Dodson, OF/RHP – Intriguing two-way player with more potential on the mound as a two-pitch bullpen arm. Offensively, he’s quick with some feel for hitting. Could make it work as a two-way player, but at least should be a decent bullpen arm.
Edgardo Rodriguez, C – Showed a solid feel for hitting in the DSL last season, hitting .330 with some pop. A ways away, but one to monitor.
Andrew Velazquez, UTIL – Made his Major League debut in 2018 and does a little of everything on both sides of the ball. His versitility gives him value as a utility infielder.
Up – Wander Franco (SS), Taylor Walls (SS), Nathaniel Lowe (1B), Vidal Brujan (2B).
Down – None
Other Team Prospect Reports
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
Photo/Video Credit: Jory Dyvig (Main Article Image), Emily Waldon, MLB, Jason Woodell, PBR Indiana.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
Fantrax is one of the fastest growing fantasy sites of 2018. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.