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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays

Wait, Tampa Bay had something for this. Archer.

1. Chris Archer, rhp
2. Taylor Guerrieri, rhp
3. Hak-Ju Lee, ss
4. Alex Colome, rhp
5. Richie Shaffer, 3b
6. Enny Romero, lhp
7. Blake Snell, lhp
8. Tim Beckham, ss/2b
9. Derek Dietrich, ss/2b
10. Drew Vettleson, of

After grabbing Price with the No. 1 overall pick and stealing Matt Moore in the eighth round of the 2007 draft, Tampa Bay chose infielder Tim Beckham over Buster Posey with the top overall selection in 2008. Beckham has hit just .264/.330/.379 in five minor league seasons and served a 50-game drug suspension in 2012. The Rays undermined their 2009 draft by failing to sign their top two choices, LeVon Washington and Kenny Diekroeger.

Tampa Bay’s more recent drafts show some promise, especially a 2011 crop that included a record 12 picks in the first two rounds. But with most of their best prospects currently in the lower levels of the minors, the Rays are unlikely to get much help for their big league club in the next couple of seasons.

They hope that their increased emphasis on the international front eventually will pick up some of the slack. Tampa Bay mined Venezuela heavily in 2012, signing lefthander Jose Castillo and righthander Jose Mujica for seven-figure bonuses and adding catcher David Rodriguez.

Repoz Posted: November 07, 2012 at 11:37 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: prospects

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   1. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: November 07, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4296967)

Wow, the Rays player production machine is really sputtering. That's an ugly top 10.
   2. There's a bustle in Misirlou's hedgerow Posted: November 07, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4297009)
Wow, the Rays player production machine is really sputtering. That's an ugly top 10.

When 2 of your top three prospects are ex-Cubs, yes, yes it is.
   3. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: November 07, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4297035)

Good point. That also highlights how bad their drafting has been lately.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 07, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4297221)
Hmmm ... I missed the Beckham drug suspension story.

a 2011 crop that included a record 12 picks in the first two rounds

Obviously you'd rather have a ton of picks than not, but the potential impact of this was kinda overblown at the time. My quick and dirty counting says that, out of those 12 draft slots, there have been

79 players with 2+ WAR or about a 1 in 6 chance (40 drafts * 12 slots)
39 players with 10+ WAR or about a 1 in 12 chance

which works out lovely and we can say that out of those 12 picks, the Rays should expect one 2+ WAR player and one 10+ WAR player.

That would be a good outcome for a single draft but it's not earth-shattering on its face. Among those specific picks you have one super-duper-star in Maddux, a second super-duper-but-unsigned-star in the Unit, Fred Lynn (appears twice, counted twice, only signed once) and Jimmy Key as the big stars. Obviously if Tampa hit that kind of jackpot with any of those picks, they'll be ecstatic. Realistically, they have found something between JJ Hardy and Carl Crawford.

Their drafting prowess seems overhyped to me. They were lucky Longoria fell to them at the #3 pick (Hochevar and Greg Reynolds); Hamilton was obviously a good pick talent-wise; Price #1 overall has worked out; Upton at #2 overall has been fine but not spectacular. That's surely solid, maybe even above-average given where they were picking.

Where they've done quite nicely is in later rounds. Crawford is their top WAR pick to date and he was a 2nd rounder. Hellickson (7 WAR) was in the 4th. Huff, a long time ago, was 5th. Joe Kennedy and Matt Moore in the 8th; Desmond Jennings in the 10th; James Shields in the 16th. That to me suggests good development more than good drafting. Picking well in the top 3 spots is not hard -- it just takes money, a copy of BA and not being the Royals or Pirates GM.

The 2012 Devil Rays had about 41 WAR overall and 24 of them came from drafted players, more than 25% of it from David Price. 24 WAR from drafted players probably leads the league -- certainly easily beats the O's and A's and even the Giants despite Posey and Cain and Angels despite Trout and Weaver. (Note I didn't include amateur FAs)

   5. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: November 07, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4297452)
Wow, the Rays player production machine is really sputtering. That's an ugly top 10.

When 2 of your top three prospects are ex-Cubs, yes, yes it is.

I did not expect Beckham to be in the top ten. He wasn't there two years ago, and hasn't been anything special since then.
   6. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 07, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4297454)
The Rays are the only major league team that hasn't gotten at least one player drafted from 2008 on to the major league team. That might change this year; I'd guess that Beckham will see some major league time at some point in 2013 even though he's not likely to be much more than a utility guy going forward. But they don't have much left from that draft - Kyle Lobstein took a tiny step forward in 2012 but he still can't throw enough strikes, Ty Morrison is a non-power speed guy in the OF who can't make contact or get on base enough, and Shane Dyer is a finesse righty who doesn't get nearly enough swing and miss to be effective. 2009, as noted, was torpedoed by the failure to sign Washington and Diekroger (although neither has shown a whole lot in the pros yet; Washington missed much of 2012 with a hip injury) - although Todd Glaesmann made some progress with the bat this year, hitting 21 HRs between Bowling Green and the FSL.

-- MWE
   7. JJ1986 Posted: November 07, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4297457)
I did not expect Beckham to be in the top ten. He wasn't there two years ago, and hasn't been anything special since then.

It's a weird placement. I'd have Mahtook and Hager, at least, higher than him.
   8. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: November 07, 2012 at 08:51 PM (#4297524)
Is Josh Sale still with the Rays?
   9. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: November 07, 2012 at 09:15 PM (#4297541)
Is Josh Sale still with the Rays?

Yeah, but he was also suspended.
   10. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 07, 2012 at 09:43 PM (#4297556)
Mahtook and Hager are the types of players who typically get downgraded by BA - neither is the type of player who stands out on a scout's radar. Mahtook's already looking like he won't be able to play center field in the majors, and Hager's already looking like he might wind up at 2B.

-- MWE

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