As we get closer to the start of spring training in mid-February, Baseball America has released their list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, and once again the Tampa Bay Rays have come out on top.
The Rays have eight of the top 100 prospects in the Major leagues according to Baseball America led by 19 year old shortstop Wander Franco who is the number one prospect in All of baseball.
Franco said last season that he is going to work as hard as he can possibly work and his goal was to play in Tampa with the Rays sometime in 2020.
“I’m going to work hard,” Franco said. “I’m going to work really hard for next season. My goal is to play in the big leagues next year.”
With Wily Adames as the starting shortstop for the Rays and Brandon Lowe entrenched at second, there is talk that Franco could play at third when he makes his Rays debut.
Adames hit 20 home runs last season and led American League shortstops in runs saved.
At number 14 on the list is left handed pitcher Brendan McKay. Mckay was used in relief and and as a spot starter in 2019 and should secure a spot in the Rays bullpen this season.
McKay was 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games. Mckay had 56 strikeouts with 16 walks in 49 innings pitched.
Mckay also did some pinch hitting and DH duties hitting .200 in
10 at bats with one home run.
This spring McKay should focus on improving his pitching and give up on the idea of being a two way player. His future is as a pitcher only and not as a two way player.
Second basemen Vidal Brujan is number 51 on the list of the top 100 prospects. Brujan hit .277 with four homers and 40 runs batted at AA and AAA.
Brujan will begin the season at AAA, but with Lowe locked in at second, and Adames at short, it may be hard for Brujan to get any playing in Tampa barring an injury.
Right hander Shane Baz is number 71 on the list of baseballs best prospects. Baz acquired from the Pirates in the Chris Archer trade went 3-2 at Class A Bowling Green with 87 strikeouts in 81 innings.
Baz should start the season at AA Montgomery as the 20 year old works his way through the Rays farm system.
A name that Rays fans will be familiar with Brent Honeywell is finally throwing catch agin and should be ready to throw off a mound in late February.
Honeywell last pitched competitively in 2017 going 12-8 with a 3.64 ERA, and striking out an average of 11.3 betters per nine innings.
In the spring of 2018, Honeywell had Tommy John surgery and spent the rest of the year rehabbing. Then in 2019, Honeywell fractured a bone in his elbow causing him to miss the remainder of the season.
Honeywell will probably start the season at AAA to get his arm strength built up, but will definitely be with the Rays at some point during the 2020 season.
The Rays also had left hander Shane McClanahan, second basemen Xavier Edwards (acquired in the Tommy Pham trade), and right hander Joe Ryan make the list of the top 100 prospects.
The Rays have at least three other highly touted prospects that did not crack the top 100 list. Shortstop Lucius Fox, catcher Ronald Hernandez, and outfielder Jesus Sanchez.
The Rays are also high on outfield prospect Randy Arozarena who was acquired in the Matt Liberatore trade with the Cardinals.
Arozareana is expected be a contributor to the Rays in 2020, although he may start the season at AAA.
The Rays appear to be in good shape for the foreseeable future with some great pitching prospects and everyday players ready to debut in Tampa the next couple of years.