Highlighting top Rays prospects for '10
The Rays had another banner year on the farm, even if the major league team suffered a bit of a letdown after their AL pennant year of 2008. Our Eric Mack takes a look at who Fantasy owners should eexpect to see in the near term.
We break down the top five prospects for each organization for 2010, taking into consideration: games, at-bats, innings and major-league service time. We expect these players to have rookie status remaining heading into next year.
According to MLB rules: "A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list)."
Note: Statistics are those at each stop in the minors this season and age represents how old they will be on opening day 2010.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays had another banner year on the farm, even if the major league team suffered a bit of a letdown after their AL pennant year of 2008. The Rays still boast a strong and deep system and will have AL Rookie of the Year candidates for at least the next few years.
1. Wade Davis, SP, 24
Davis proved down the stretch he is ready to be a starting in the major leagues. He might have been the No. 1 reason the Rays were confident enough to deal Scott Kazmir to the Angels. Davis was more steady than spectacular in Triple-A, going 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA, .231 batting-average against, 140 strikeouts and 60 walks in 158 2/3 innings. He then added (2-2)-3.72-.243-36-13 in 36 1/3 major league innings. He is a candidate for AL Rookie of the Year honors and one of the top 100 starting pitchers to target on Draft Day.
2. Jeremy Hellickson, SP, 22
What Davis might lack in wow factor, Hellickson more than compensates for it. The injury-returnee dominated in both his stops in 2009, combining for a (9-2)-2.45-.178-132-29 stat-line in 114 innings (20 starts) between Double- and Triple-A. The Rays need a long-term closer solution, but Hellickson proved so great he has to be left as a starter at this point. Consider him a potential sleeper for a rotation spot out of spring training and perhaps a candidate to sneak up for 10 victories and 150 strikeouts in a young Rays rotation.
3. Desmond Jennings, OF, 23
In any other organization, Jennings might already be in the major leagues and owned in 80 percent of CBSSports.com's Fantasy leagues. With the Rays, he is relegated to the minors. He was hardly challenged, hitting a combined .318 with 11 homers, 62 RBI, 92 runs, 52 steals, a .401 on-base percentage and a .487 slugging percentage in 497 at-bats between Double- and Triple-A. The burner (only caught stealing seven times in his 59 attempts) is a must-have in all Rotisserie leagues if Carl Crawford leaves via free agency and the Rays turn to Jennings at one of their outfield spots.
4. Matt Moore, TB, 20
Moore was one of the most dominant pitchers in the minor leagues last season, going (8-5)-3.15-.195-176-70 in 123 innings in low Class A. Yes, that is 176 strikeouts in 123 innings. Frankly, he didn't belong in such a low level. He will open the 2010 season in high Class A, and if he continues to strike out batters at that rate will rise to being one of the elite pitching prospects in baseball.
5. Tim Beckham, SS, 20
The No. 1 overall pick in 2008 wasn't all that impressive in his first full pro season, but you have to give him another year or two to mature before you start eliminating him as future superstar. He went .275-5-63-58-13 (.328-.389) in low Class A and likely won't get out of Class A ball in 2010 either. Consider him merely a long-term project at this point.
Best of the rest: Jake McGee, SP; Reid Brignac, SS; Mitch Talbot, SP; Matthew Sweeney, 3B; Fernando Perez, OF; Nick Barnese, SP; K.D. Kang, OF; Alex Cobb, SP; Heath Rollins, RP; LeVon Washington, 2B; Aneury Rodriguez, SP; Alexander Colome, SP; Jake Jefferies, DH; Mayobanez Acosta, C; John Jaso, C; Dale Thayer, RP; Kenneth Diekroeger, SS; Ty Morrison, OF; Alex J. Torres, RP; Kyle Lobstein, TB; Marcus Proctor, RP; Mike Sheridan, 1B; Joe Cruz, SP; Reid Fronk, OF; Todd Glaesmann, OF; Jason McEachern, SP; Albert Suarez, SP; Jake Jefferies, C; Ryan Royster, OF; Chris Luck, SP; Eduardo Morlan, RP; and Lucas Bailey, C.
Last year's top five here: Price, Davis, Hellickson, McGee and Niemann.
You can e-mail Emack your Rays prospect questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Prospects in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.
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