Tampa Bay Rays 2015 Top 20 Prospect Rankings

By: JP Schwartz
Twitter: @Jaypers413

Every year around this time I like to rank each team’s top overall prospects. My criteria are based on A: Past Performance and B: Future Potential (50% of each per prospect)

Disclaimer: I am not a professional scout, nor did I attend any minor league games this year. These lists are the product of my own research of online scouting reports and scouting videos, as well as statistics, and are compiled purely for entertainment purposes.

Send your questions or feedback to me on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify for these lists, a prospect must have no more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

1: Willy Adames SS
2: Casey Gillaspie 1B
3: Taylor Guerrieri LHP
4: Hak-Ju Lee SS
5: Justin O’Conner C
6: Mikie Mahtook OF
7: Nate Karns RHP
8: Enny Romero LHP
9: Nick Ciuffo C
10: Adrian Rondon SS
11: Cameron Varga RHP
12: Alex Colome RHP
13: Ryne Stanek RHP
14: Jose Alvarado LHP
15: Brent Honeywell RHP
16: Enderson Franco RHP
17: Kean Wong 2B
18: Blake Snell LHP
19: Ryan Brett 2B
20: Oscar Hernandez C

Tampa Bay Rays 2014 Top 20 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
Twitter: @Jaypers413

Every year around this time I like to rank each team’s top overall prospects. My criteria are based on A: Past Performance and B: Future Potential (50% of each per prospect)

Disclaimer: I am not a professional scout, nor did I attend any minor league games this year. These lists are the product of my own research of online scouting reports and statistics, and are compiled purely for entertainment purposes.

Send your questions or feedback to me on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify for these lists, a prospect must have no more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

1. Taylor Guerrieri LHP


2. Enny Romero LHP


3. Jake Odorizzi RHP


4. Ryne Stanek RHP


5. Nick Ciuffo C


6. Hak Ju Lee SS


7. Andrew Toles OF


8. Jesse Hahn RHP


9. Kevin Kiermaier RHP


10. Alex Colome RHP


11. Jeff Ames RHP


12. C.J. Riefenhauser LHP


13. Jose Mujica RHP


14. Oscar Hernandez C


15. Drew Vettleson OF


16. Blake Snell LHP


17. Riley Unroe SS


18. Dylan Floro RHP


19. Richie Shaffer 3B


20. Cristian Toribio SS

Tampa Bay Rays 2012 Mid-Season Top 5 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
@Jaypers413

As we are now halfway into the season and the signing deadline for 2012 draft picks has passed, here is my revised list of top 5 prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Remember, a prospect must have fewer than 130 ABs or 50 IP in the Major Leagues to qualify.
(Stats through 8/3/2012)

1) Taylor Guerrieri – P
Highest Level: Short-A Hudson Valley Renegades
2012 Stats:
MILB: 0-2, 1.24ERA, 29IP, 2BB, 25K, .192ERA

2) Hak-Ju Lee – SS
Highest Level: AA Montgomery Biscuits
2012 Stats:
MILB: .270, 15(2B), 10(3B), 3HR, 35RBI, 37SB

3) Enny Romero – P
Highest Level: High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs
2012 Stats:
MILB: 4-5, 4.08ERA, 99.1IP, 64BB, 80K, .209BAA

4) Richie Shaffer – 3B
Highest Level: Short-A Hudson Valley Renegades
2012 Stats:
MILB: .294, 1(2B), 2RBI

5) Blake Snell – P
Highest Level: Rookie League Princeton Rays
2012 Stats:
MILB: 4-1, 1.79ERA, 40.1IP, 15BB, 46K, .190BAA

Send your questions or feedback to J.P. on twitter @Jaypers413

Interview With Tampa Bay Rays Pitching Prospect Jesse Hahn

By: Andrew Martin
@HistorianAndrew
BaseballHistorian.Blogspot.com

It’s always a shame to see injuries prevent talented young baseball players from achieving their major league dreams. Fortunately the most determined often find a way to persevere and fight their way through the adversity. The Tampa Bay Rays believe they have such a player in their system in pitcher Jesse Hahn, who is finally embarking on his professional career after a lengthy delay. The right-hander was on top of the world as a high school senior. Pitching for Fitch High School in Groton, Connecticut, he went 5-1 with a state record 0.17 ERA, managing to overshadow high-profile teammate Matt Harvey. While Harvey elected to attend UNC, Hahn committed to Virginia Tech. He struggled during his first two seasons with the Hokies, but rebounded to go 5-2, with a 2.81 ERA as a junior in 2010.

With an arsenal that includes a fastball that reaches the upper 90’s, Hahn was projected to be a possible 1st round pick. Unfortunately, just days before the draft, it was determined he needed Tommy John Surgery. Despite the injury, Tampa Bay loved his potential so much that they took him in the 6th round, determined to help facilitate his rehab. Fast forwarding to 2012, Hahn is finally back on the mound and trying to re-establish himself as a top pitching prospect. Prior to a recent game I was able to catch up with him and find out a little more about his journey through baseball.

Did you have a favorite team or player when you were growing up?
Actually, I grew up a Pirates fan because my dad is from Pittsburgh and my mom is from right outside Pittsburgh in Ohio. So, surprisingly I was a Pirates fan. Roberto Clemente was probably my favorite player growing up.

Why Clemente?
Well, he was my dad’s favorite player and I read a lot about him. He just had a great story behind him.

What was your draft experience like?
For me it was real hectic because I had the torn ligament right before the draft; like a couple of days before the draft. I was expecting to go a lot higher, but it didn’t work out. I ended up getting surgery, so it was a long process. I’m glad to be out of it now.

It must have been really frustrating to have that happen right before the draft?
Yeah, it was. It was actually more frustrating these past two years just watching baseball and not being able to play. It was tough.

What did the Rays tell you after they drafted you?
They told me they were going to take me to get the surgery and wanted to sign me. They were really nice about it. Hypothetically, they told me I could take as much time as I needed because they just wanted me to be healthy and be able to pitch again.

What have the past couple of years been like in trying to get back to the mound?
It’s been rough. I’ve had bumps in the road. I had times where I actually though I had tore it again. I didn’t feel good, but I guess that is all just part of the process. It’s a lot to get over, to mentally prepare to pitch again. I dealt with a foot surgery too, so that just made things even worse. It’s all in the past now and I am prepared.

Be sure to check out Jesse Hahn Baseball Cards

Interview With 2011 Tampa Bay Rays 1st Round Pick Jeff Ames

By: Andrew Martin
@HistorianAndrew
BaseballHistorian.Blogspot.com

Baseball teams love pitchers with big arms. Anyone who can get their fastball into the upper 90’s or above, are going to get noticed. One team that seems to have inordinate success in annually drafting and cultivating hard throwing pitchers is the Tampa Bay Rays, and it looks like they may have done it once again. In the 2011 MLB draft they were able to nab Jeff Ames, who immediately became one of the hardest throwers in their system.

Ames, a lanky right-handed sophomore from Lower Columbia College in Washington, was drafted in the compensatory portion of the first round with the 42nd overall pick (as compensation for the Rays losing Rafael Soriano to the Yankees). He had been drafted twice before, but had declined to sign in order to continue developing his skills. His decision paid off, as last year he went 8-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 88 innings. His ability to consistently throw in the mid to upper 90’s, including hitting as high as 100 mph last year, made his draft stock skyrocket. He is now making his way towards the majors, toiling in the lower levels of the minor leagues for the Rays, and hoping to become the next in a long line of Tampa Bay pitching prospect success stories. He recently took a few moments after a practice to chat with me and discuss his experiences in baseball.

Who were your favorite team and player when you were growing up?
Definitely the Mariners, being that they were in the closest town to me. Probably my favorite player growing up was Ken Griffey, Jr. because he was so good and it was fun watching him play.

Is there a pitcher who you identify with, either growing up or now?
Back then I didn’t really know any difference, but now I would say Nolan Ryan. Me and my dad would spend some time watching him. He really attacked hitters and I try to attack hitters the same way.

What was your draft experience like?:
My draft experience was pretty awesome. I wasn’t really quite sure when I was going to go, but was more expecting to maybe go second round. It was awesome that I got picked up when I did. The Rays were obviously pretty interested in me, so it really worked out.

How much do you think the reports of you hitting 100 MPH help you leading up to the draft?
Yeah, that was towards the beginning of my college season. I definitely got more attention after that happened, but it only happened once and it wasn’t like I was hitting that every time I went out. But that maybe had a little bit to do with it.

Did your brother Steve’s own previous draft experience with the Dodgers help you in any way?
I wouldn’t say it helped me because me signing this past year was my third time getting drafted. I was kind of familiar with it. As far as going through all of this, it was nice having him to call and talk to when I’ve had any questions.

Were their particular reasons why you chose not to sign when you were drafted by Philadelphia and Colorado?
Honestly I wasn’t ready. I just knew that if I was going to do this, I needed to be ready to do this. I didn’t feel like my abilities were quite where they needed to be.

Which pitches do you throw and which one are you trying to improve the most?
I throw a fastball, a slider, and a changeup. The fastball and slider are the pitches I am probably most comfortable with. I am really trying to work hard on my changeup so I can throw it in any count in a game to a lefty or a righty.

Be sure to check out Jeff Ames’ Baseball Cards

2012 Tampa Bay Rays Top 15 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
@Jaypers413 on Twitter
JP’s FreedomCardboard Blog

2012 Tampa Bay Rays Top 15 Prospect Rankings

Every year at this time I like to rank each team’s top prospects. My criteria is based upon both past performance and future potential to his parent team. This is my ranking of the 2012 Tampa Bay Rays Top Prospects. If you have any questions about my rankings, feel free to shoot me a message on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify, a prospect must have fewer than 130 at-bats or 50 innings in MLB

#1 Matt Moore LHP
Born: 6/18/1989
Highest Level Reached: MLB Tampa Bay Rays
2011 Combined Stats: MINORS: 12-3, 1.92ERA, 155IP, 46BB, 210K, .184BAA
MAJORS: 1-0, 2.89ERA, 9.1IP, 3BB, 15K, .243BAA

#2 Hak-Ju Lee SS
Born: 11-4-1990
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Montgomery Biscuits
2011 Combined Stats: .292, 17(2B), 15(3B), 5HR, 30RBI, 33SB

#3 Taylor Guerrieri RHP
Born: 12/1/1992
Highest Level Reached: 1st Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft
2011 Combined Stats: Did Not Play In 2011

#4 Enny Romero LHP
Born: 1/24/1991
Highest Level Reached: Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods
2011 Combined Stats: 5-5, 4.26ERA, 114IP, 68BB, 140K, .245BAA

#5 Drew Vettleson OF
Born: 7/19/1991
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League Princeton Rays
2011 Combined Stats: .282, 13(2B), 4(3B), 7HR, 40RBI, 20SB

#6 Chris Archer RHP
Born: 9/26/1988
Highest Level Reached: Triple-A Durham Bulls
2011 Combined Stats: 9-7, 4.09ERA, 147.1IP, 86BB, 130K, .263BAA

#7 Mikie Mahtook OF
Born: 10/30/1989
Highest Level Reached: 1st Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft
2011 Combined Stats: Did Not Play In 2011

#8 Josh Sale OF
Born: 7/5/1991
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League Princeton Rays
2011 Combined Stats: .210, 11(2B), 3(3B), 4HR, 15RBI

#9 Tim Beckham SS
Born: 1/27/1990
Highest Level Reached: Triple-A Durham Bulls
2011 Combined Stats: .271, 28(2B), 4(3B), 12HR, 70RBI, 17SB

#10 Alex Torres LHP
Born: 12/8/1987
Highest Level Reached: MLB Tampa Bay Rays
2011 Combined Stats: MINORS: 9-7, 3.08ERA, 146.1IP, 83BB, 156K, .249BAA
MAJORS: 1-1, 3.38ERA, 8IP, 7BB, 9K, .258BAA

#11 Derek Dietrich SS
Born: 7/18/1989
Highest Level Reached: .277, 34(2B), 4(3B), 22HR, 81RBI
2011 Combined Stats:

#12 Brandon Guyer OF
Born: 1/28/1986
Highest Level Reached: MLB Tampa Bay Rays
2011 Combined Stats: MINORS: .312, 29(2B), 5(3B), 14HR, 61RBI, 16SB
MAJORS: .195 (8 hits in 41 at-bats), 1(2B), 2HR, 3RBI

#13 Felipe Rivero LHP
Born: 7/5/1991
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League Princeton Rays
2011 Combined Stats: 3-3, 4.62ERA, 60.1IP, 13BB, 57K, .264BAA

#14 Kes Carter OF
Born: 3/3/1990
Highest Level Reached: Rookie League GCL Rays
2011 Combined Stats: .231 (3 hits in 13 at-bats), 1RBI (Supplemental 1st Round Pick 2011 MLB Draft)

#15 Alex Colome RHP
Born: 12/31/1988
Highest Level Reached: Double-A Montgomery Biscuits
2011 Combined Stats: 12-9, 3.82ERA, 157.2IP, 72BB, 123K, .216BAA

Disclaimer – I did not attend any minor league games this year, nor do I claim to have any scouting experience. These lists are the product of my own research of statistics and online scouting reports.

Interview With Tampa Bay Rays 2011 2nd Round Pick Hawaii Closer Pick Lenny Linsky

By: Andrew Martin
@RedSoxFanNum1
BaseballHistorian.Blogspot.com

After losing a number of key players to free agency, the Tampa Bay Rays went into the 2011 MLB draft with 12 of the first 90 picks. Already possessing a strong farm system, they continued to stockpile a variety of talent. With the 89th overall pick they chose right-handed reliever Lenny Linsky from the University of Hawaii.

Linsky finished his college career with 27 saves, the second most all-time for the Rainbow Warriors. He was most impressive as a junior in 2011, appearing in 27 games, posting a 1.30 ERA, and setting the school’s single season record with 14 saves, while striking out 34 in 34.2 innings.

Using a three quarters arm slot, Linsky features a low to mid-90’s fastball and a plus slider. He signed early and was able to pitch in a total of 16 minor league games this year between short season Hudson Valley and A-level Bowling Green. He was impressive, going 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29.1 innings.

Linsky projects to be a major part of the Rays’ bullpen in the near future. I was recently able to catch up with and find out a little more about the rising prospect.

How did you become interested in baseball?
For my first birthday my Dad told me I got a baseball glove. I guess that was the start. I was able to throw a baseball before I was even able to walk. I got on my knees and would throw the ball to my Dad.

Who was your favorite team and player growing up?
My Dad is from Boston; from Back Bay, so I grew up a Sox fan. I followed them my whole life. Getting drafted by the Rays was kind of cool, getting drafted by another AL East team. I’ll get to play the Sox hopefully at one point.

How did you first find out that Tampa Bay was interested in you?
Early into my junior season, they had a scout out there in Hawaii. He just scouts Hawaii, so he watched me every time I threw. He would be there, and I would get lots of phone calls. They were actually the most interested team, so I was kind of pulling for them to draft me, and they did.

What was draft day like for you?
I just had all of my friends and family over. We were just hanging out and having a little party, a barbeque, and just watching. I found out early on the second day. I woke up early and I got all excited. They didn’t call me; I was just listening to it on mlb.com. It was just a radio broadcast and the guy just said ‘Linsky.’ I was like, ‘Wait!’ And he said, ‘Lenny. Leonardo Linsky.’ I just jumped up and screamed. The whole family opened up a bottle of champagne and started the party. It’s hard to describe. Even to this day, it hasn’t hit me fully yet because your whole life has just accumulated and gone to that one moment.

After you signed with Tampa Bay, did you do anything to treat yourself or your family?
I bought some Dr. Dre Beats headphones, which I had wanted for a while. I got a pair of new Oakley sun glasses. I also took my family out to dinner. I’ve been trying to put all of the money away.

Do you know if the Rays are going to keep you in the bullpen, or do they have another role in mind for you?
I don’t really know. I’ve been doing a lot of roles. I’ve been in late relief, in long relief, and closed. Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. I was a closer in college.

2011 Tampa Bay Rays Top 15 Prospects Post Season Report Card

With the 2011 minor league season complete we check in on the progress of each of the Tampa Bay Rays preseason Top 15 prospects as ranked by our prospect ranker J.P. Schwartz. The post season grading report was done by the publisher of Top Prospect Alert, not Mr. Schwartz, and reflects only the 2011 season and not future upside or downside of the individual prospect. Our 2012 preseason rankings will be published in the coming months.

#1 Jeremy Hellickson GRADE: A
Hellickson went 13-10 with a 2.95ERA for the Rays. He walked 72 and struck out 117 in 189 innings. Opposing big league hitters hit just .210 off Hellickson on the season.

#2 Desmond Jennings GRADE: A
Jennings batted .259 with 9 Doubles, 4 Triples, 10 Home Runs and 25 RBI’s in 63 games with the Rays. He also stole 20 bases on the season. For the Triple-A Durham Bulls, Jennings hit .275 with 19 Doubles, 3 Triples, 12 Home Runs and 39 RBI’s in 89 games. He also stole 17 bases for the Bulls.

#3 Matt Moore GRADE: A+
Moore went 12-3 with a 1.92ERA between the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and Triple-A Durham. He walked 46 and struck out 210 in 155 innings. Opposing batters hit just .184 against Moore. For the Rays, Moore went 1-0 with a 2.89ERA in 9.1 big league innings. He also stared in the playoffs for Tampa Bay.

#4 Josh Sale GRADE: C-
Sale hit .210 with 11 Doubles, 3 Triples, 4 Home Runs, and 15 RBI’s for the Rookie League Princeton Rays. He walked 23 times and struck out 41 times in 60 games.

#5 Jake McGee GRADE: B-
McGee went 5-2 with a 4.50ERA in 37 appearances with the Rays. He walked 12 and struck out 27 in 28 big league innings. Opposing major league hitters batted .270 against him. At Triple-A Durham, McGee went 4-2 with a 2.70ERA in 24 appearances.

#6 Chris Archer GRADE: B-
Archer went a combined 9-7 with a 4.09ERA between Double-A Montgomery and two starts at Triple-A Durham. He walked 86 and struck out 130 in 147.1 innings. Opposing batters hit .263 off Archer on the year.

#7 Alex Colome GRADE: B
Colome went a combined 12-9 with a 3.82ERA between the Low-A Charlotte Stone Crabs and Double-A Montgomery. He walked 72 and struck out 123 in 157.2 innings. Opposing batters hit just .216 against Colome on the season.

#8 Hak-Ju Lee GRADE: B
Lee batted a combined .292 with 17 Doubles, 15 Triples, 5 Home Runs and 30 RBI’s. He also stole 33 bases. Lee walked 53 times and struck out 94 times in 121 games

#9 Joseph Cruz GRADE: D+
Cruz went a combined 6-5 with a 6.27ERA between the Rookie League GCL Rays, High-A Charlotte, and Double-A Montgomery. He walked 28 and struck out 64 in 74.2 innings. Opposing batters hit .312 against Cruz on the season.

#10 Enny Romero GRADE: B
Romero went 5-5 with a 4.26ERA for the Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods. He walked 68 and struck out 140 in 114 innings of work. Opposing batters hit .245 off Romero on the season.

#11 Alex Torres GRADE: B
Torres went 9-7 with a 3.08ERA for Triple-A Durham. He walked 83 and struck out 156 in 146 innings. Opposing batters hit .249 against Torres. In 8 big league innings, Torres went 1-1 with a 3.38ERA over four appearances out of the Rays pen.

#12 Drew Vettleson GRADE: B+
Vettleson hit .282 with 13 Doubles, 4 Triples, 7 Home Runs and 40 RBI’s for Rookie League Princeton. He walked 27 times and struck out 53 times in 61 games.

#13 Brandon Guyer GRADE: A-
Guyer batted .312 with 29 Doubles, 5 Triples, 14 Home Runs and 61 RBI’s for Triple-A Durham. He walked 35 times and struck out 79 times in 107 games. For the Rays, Guyer batted .195 with 1 Double, 2 Home Runs and 3 RBI’s in 41 big league at-bats.

#14 Justin O’Conner GRADE: D+
O’Conner batted .157 with 8 Doubles, 9 Home Runs and 29 RBI’s for Low-A Princeton. He walked 17 times and struck out 78 times in 48 games.

#15 Jake Thompson GRADE: B-
Thompson went 5-7 with a 2.90ERA for High-A Charlotte. He walked 37 and struck out 56 in 114.2 innings. Opposing batters hit .267 against Thompson.

Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher Matt Moore Rookie Cards Going Bonkers

Matt Moore was arguably the best pitcher in minor league baseball this season. Moore went a combined 12-3 with a 1.92ERA and 210 strikeouts in 155 innings between the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and Triple-A Durham Bulls. He stuck out 11 in his first major league start against the New York Yankees. Yesterday he gave up two hits in seven innings against the Texas Rangers picking up the win in Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore’s burst onto the national scene is represented in his baseball cards. Check out the price progression of Moore’s key rookie card, the 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Autograph and it’s closing price.

September 18th – One day after Moore’s 2nd bullpen appearance with the Rays:
2010 DONRUSS ELITE EXTRA MATT MOORE TAMPA BAY RAYS RC AUTOGRAPH SN 819

September 23rd – One day after Moore struck out 11 against the Yankees:
MATT MOORE 2010 Elite Extra AUTOGRAPH RC Tampa Bay Rays /819 Rookie Auto

September 29th – Following his ALDS Game 1 win:
MATT MOORE 2010 Donruss Elite AUTO #310/819 Autograph Tampa Bay Rays RC

And here is a list of the Matt Moore cards that are currently up for bids on Ebay

VIDEO: Fans React With Bedlam To Evan Longoria’s Walk Off From About 10 Rows From Rays Dugout

This is the first fan video to surface from inside Tropicana Field when Evan Longoria hit his Walk Off Home Run against the Yankees that won the Wild Card for the Tampa Bay Rays. It would appear they are about 10 rows from the field behind the Rays dugout. It’s pretty awesome footage. Can’t imagine being there to see that game in person.