This week we keep the train rolling as we finish up the AL East with the top 30 prospects from the Tampa Bay Rays system. The Rays have been known as one of the best analytical teams in MLB. The Rays got to that point by developing their top prospects in the minor leagues to contribute to the big league club. Typically Tampa Bay won’t move off a prospect unless they feel he won’t contribute (Wait to see on Kyle Manzardo). For now, let us dive into the top 30 prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays farm system.
The Top 10
Junior Caminero, 3B/2B MLB
(7 GP, .235/.278/.353, 1 HR, 4 R, 7 RBI)
The uncertainty surrounding Wander Franco has opened up an opportunity for Junior Caminero to stick around earlier than we might have expected. The 19-year-old Caminero had a big season, starting out in High-A Bowling Green before ultimately finishing the season with the Rays. The Majority of Caminero’s games were played in Double-A Montgomery where he slashed .309/.373/.548 with 20 home runs, 62 RBI, and three stolen bases in 81 games played. While in Montgomery Caminero walked 9.1% of the time while only striking out 17.1%. Coming off a season where Caminero hit 31 home runs in the minor leagues the sky seems to be the limit for Caminero entering his age 20 season.
Curtis Mead, 3B/2B MLB
(24 GP, .253/.326/.349, 1 HR, 12 R, 5 RBI )
Utility players are sometimes underrated in dynasty leagues but extremely valuable in winning leagues. Curtis Mead performed well in Triple-A Durham, slashing .287/.377/.502 with nine home runs, 49 RBIs, and four stolen bases in 65 games played. This was enough for the Rays to pull up Mead and he performed well playing at second base, third, and shortstop. In 24 games with the Rays, Mead slashed .253/.326/.349 with one home run, 12 runs scored, and five RBIs. While in the major leagues, Mead had a 7.6% BB% with a 22.8% strikeout rate that was higher than any stop in the minor leagues.
Overall I believe Curtis Mead is going to be a good player who can play all over the diamond for the Rays. In the same breath, this can be very beneficial for dynasty managers looking to ensure up their bench spot with a solid contributor as well.
Carson Williams, SS AA
(115 GP, .258/.356/.497, 23 HR, 81 RBI, 20 SB)
With the news of Wander Franco potentially missing a lot of time (or being done with baseball), the question becomes who will the Rays go with long term? All signs point to Carson Williams who had a solid season playing in three different levels and capping off a long season in the AFL. Across three levels Williams slashed .258/.356/.497 with 23 home runs, 81 RBIs, and swiped 20 bases in 30 attempts. Williams continued to walk at a high clip having an 11.5% walk percentage over 105 games played at High-A Bowling Green.
The Rays sent Carson Williams out to the Arizona Fall League where he slashed .246/.366/.275 with six RBIs, and five stolen bases. I would not look too deeply into the fall league numbers as Williams looked tired in my live looks at him and after a long 115-game season for the 20-year-old, I’m willing to give him a pass. Don’t be surprised if he gets the invite to spring training and competes for the everyday shortstop job.
Xavier Isaac, 1B A+
(102 GP, .285/.395/.521, 19 HR, 72 RBI, 12 SB)
Young power bats are intriguing in dynasty leagues and Xavier Isaac is no exception. In his first full season of professional ball, Isaac ascended two levels to finish the season in High-A Bowling Green. In 102 combined games, the 19-year-old first base prospect slashed .285/.395/.521 with 19 home runs, 72 RBIs, and swiped 12 bases with a 100% success rate. Isaac was consistent with his plate discipline walking 14.45% while only striking out 21.2% of the time.
This is an exciting bat for dynasty purposes and I believe it’s telling that the Rays were okay with moving Kyle Manzardo with Xavier Isaac exceeding expectations so far. It is easy to dream of 30+ home run power from Isaac with a solid average and OBP as well.
Brayden Taylor, 3B A
(25 GP, .242/.361/.517, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 11 SB)
The Rays selected Brayden Taylor 19th overall out of TCU this season in the MLB draft. Brayden Taylor impressed a lot of scouts in his final year with the Hornfrogs slashing .308/.430/.631 with 23 HRs, and 14 stolen bases in 67 games played. Once in the Rays organization, Taylor seemed to struggle a bit with the bat as he slashed just .244/.354/.512 while the strikeout rate jumped to 32.3% in 96 plate appearances.
One constant was Taylor’s high walk rate of 14.6% in Low-A as well as the five home runs and 10 extra-base hits. This will be a prospect I’ll be watching quite a bit in 2024 as I am hoping the strikeout rate will come down with more professional reps and this could be a solid third base power bat long-term for dynasty managers.
Chandler Simpson, SS A+
(115 GP, .294/.373/.345, 88 R, 31 RBI, 94 SB)
One of the fastest players in the minor leagues this season was Chandler Simpson. The former Georgia Tech Yellowjacket swiped 94 bases in 109 attempts with 81 of them coming in Low-A Charleston. Simpson was effective with the bat as well slashing .285/.358/.333 in Low-A Charleston in 91 games played and followed that up by slashing .326/.429/.393 in 24 games played in Bowling Green. Plate discipline for Simpson has been top-notch since he made his debut in 2022 and this season was no exception in Low-A (91 GP) Simpson had a 9.6% walk percentage paired with a stellar 8.8% strikeout rate.
This is a fantastic target in deeper dynasty leagues as Simpson will never really get to power but the stolen base upside is massive with a plus bat that could stick for years to come.
Shane Baz, RHP MLB
(Did Not Pitch In 2023)
The book is still out on Shane Baz who should be returning from Tommy John surgery at some point in 2024 the now 24-year-old right-hander only pitched a combined 40 innings in 2022 before going down with injury. When healthy Baz has electric stuff in his plus fastball, slider and change-up, with his curveball being a work in progress. Baz has SP 2 upside and better if the Rays could use him efficiently which they are known to do. With the injuries and lack of innings pitched this might not be a bad grab if the price is low enough.
Cole Wilcox, RHP AA
(25 GS, 106.2 IP, 99 K, 5.23 ERA, 1.303 WHIP)
The Padres selected Cole Wilcox in the third round of the 2020 MLB draft out of the University of Georgia. The former Bulldog was traded to the Rays shortly after being drafted and dealt with some injuries that kept him limited to just 16 innings pitched in 2022. This past season was Cole Wilcox’s longest yet, the 23-year-old made 25 starts for the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits.
Over 106.2 innings pitched Wilcox struck out 99 batters good for 8.35 K/9, far and away the lowest of his career up to this point with a 3.71 BB/9. The 5.23 ERA left much to be desired from Wilcox and the FIP of 4.92 didnt rest the blame solely on the defense behind him. If Wilcox can get back to the 10+ K/9 he displayed at times between 2021 and 2022 he could be a solid mid-rotation arm for deeper dynasty leagues.
Dominic Keegan, C/1B A+
(106 GP, .287/.386/.467, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 2 SB)
Keegan has been a fun prospect to watch since being drafted out of Vanderbilt in 2022. The advanced bat-to-ball skills have been on full display this season as Keegan ascended from Low-A Charleston up to High-A Bowling Green. Once in High-A, the power started to spike as Keegan hit eight in 48 games played. With a good understanding of the strikezone Keegan managed to have a 13.5% walk percentage paired with a solid 20.3% strikeout rate. The Rays wanted to see more of Keegan after the season came to a close and sent him out to the Arizona Fall League.
While playing with the Peoria Javelinas Keegan slashed .340/.446/.585 with three home runs, and 12 RBIs in 15 games played. This performance earned Keegan a spot on the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star team for the American League. This is a solid target for dynasty managers looking to get a catcher of the future but do not want to pay Adley Rutschman, Ethan Salas, or even Austin Wells prices.
Osleivis Basabe, SS/3B MLB
(94 GP, .296/.351/.426, 4 HR, 58 RBI, 16 SB in AAA)
The 2023 season was good for Osleivis Basabe as he tore up Triple-A Durham and got the call to the major leagues. While with the Durham Bulls Basabe slashed .296/.351/.426 with four home runs, 58 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in 22 attempts in 94 games played. Basabe has been a solid bat at the plate and the 7.3% walk percentage paired with the 15.5% strikeout rate shows an advanced hitting ability.
Once called up to the Rays Basabe struggled with the average as he slashed just .218/.277/.310 in 31 games played. Osleivis Basabe should be a player who can be used all over the infield for the Rays as long as he can hit for average. This is a solid target in deeper dynasty leagues 15 teams and up as he should be used as a solid bench replacement.
Top 30 Tampa Bay Rays Prospect Rankings