2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: Tampa Bay Rays

Al Messerschmidt

The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the Tampa Bay Rays.

The prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2014. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore

Chicago
(10/31)

Houston
(11/18)

Atlanta
(12/5)

Chicago
(12/23)

Arizona
(1/9)

Boston

Cleveland
(11/4)

Los Angeles
(11/21)

Miami
(12/9)

Cincinnati
(12/26)

Colorado
(1/13)

New York

Detroit
(11/7)

Oakland
(11/25)

New York
(12/12)

Milwaukee
(12/30)

Los Angeles
(1/16)

Tampa Bay
(10/24)

Kansas City
(11/11)

Seattle
(11/28)

Philadelphia
(12/16)

Pittsburgh
(1/2)

San Diego
(1/20)

Toronto
(10/28)

Minnesota
(11/14)

Texas
(12/2)

Washington
(12/19)

St. Louis
(1/6)

San Francisco
(1/23)

Organizational Overview
By Andrew Ball (@andrew_ball)

Although they ultimately were not able to overcome Boston in the American League Division Series, the 2013 season has to be considered another successful one for the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite a limited payroll, the Rays have built themselves into legitimate contenders year-in and year-out, mainly acquiring and developing young talent better than just about any other organization. Baseball America has ranked their farm system in the top-4 in all of baseball in six of the last seven seasons (ranking 11th prior to 2012), and they have given them the top spot three times.

Naturally, heading into 2014 the farm system is stacked again, right? Actually, that's not the case. Between graduations and a lack of impact potential, I'd say that the system is weaker than it's been anytime in the last decade. Luckily, two of the graduates, Wil Myers and Chris Archer, look like future stars. The centerpiece of last offseason's James Shields mega-deal, Myers will likely be named American League Rookie of the Year after hitting .293/.354/.478 with 13 home runs and 5 steals in 88 games. Most telling about his future is that as a rookie, Myers was hitting cleanup in Tampa Bay's playoff games. Somewhat overshadowed by Myers, Archer had a fine rookie campaign as well. The righty went 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA in 23 starts, utilizing his nasty slider to strikeout nearly 20% of the batters he faced. Thankfully both should continue to play important roles for the Rays because there isn't a whole lot left on the farm. Our top ranked prospect, Taylor Guerrieri, is coming off of Tommy John surgery and has yet to serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for marijuana, and he's still clearly the best prospect in the system. Behind him is Jake Odorizzi, a low ceiling right-handed pitcher, but one of the few players on the list that has a definite big league future. The rest of the top-10 features pitchers that look like future relievers and hitters with questionable hit tools. That's not to say the system lacks intriguing players or that there won't be any quality big leaguers from the group, but this doesn't resemble the Rays' systems we've grown accustomed to.

Surprisingly enough, the biggest cause of the downturn in the farm system has been Tampa's recent struggles in the draft. Some will point out that Tampa has been winning lately so they haven't picked atop the draft where they were able to take the likes of David Price, Evan Longoria, and B.J. Upton, but really their drafting issues started in 2008 when they selected Tim Beckham first overall, passing on Buster Posey and Eric Hosmer among others. In 2009, neither of their first two draft picks, LeVon Washington and Kenny Dikroeger, signed and their top picks from the last three drafts include the likes of Josh Sale, Justin O'Connor, Mikie Mahtook, Jake Hager, Brandon Martin, and Tyler Goeddel, none of which made our top-10. Their past two first rounders, Guerrieri and Riche Shaffer, are two of the best prospects in the system, but even they have seen their prospect status take a hit since entering the system. If Tampa Bay wants to continue winning, they are going to need to do a better job in future drafts.

2013 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time prior to September 1st of this year.

Wil Myers (at bats), Chris Archer (innings pitched), Alex Torres (innings pitched), Josh Lueke (service time)

Major League Opportunities in 2014

By Andrew Ball(@andrew_ball)

Andrew Friedman and the Tampa Bay front office are poised for an active offseason. Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers, and Desmond Jennings will return to give the Rays a strong foundation of position players, and the pitching staff retains emerging aces Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, and Chris Archer, but there is a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the team in the future of former Cy Young award winner David Price.

With the state of the farm system, and the impending free agency of Price not too far off, it makes a ton of sense for the Rays to explore the market for the 27-year-old southpaw. If they are going to move him, it's likely going to take a better package of young prospects than they received for James Shields last year. Jason Hunt actually looked at some possible landing spots for Price earlier this month.

If Price leaves, Odorizzi likely slots right into his rotation spot, and he should have some value in deep mixed and AL-only leagues in 2014. James Loney, Yunel Escobar, and Delmon Young are all eligible for free agency, though Escobar has a $5 million team option that likely will be exercised. There doesn't appear to be an internal option to replace Loney other than Shelley Duncan and Matt Joyce would take over full-time for Young if he leaves, but if Escobar does leave it would open up a spot for Tim Beckham and potentially Hak-Ju Lee later in the season. And truthfully, outside of those players, there isn't much on the farm that is Major League ready regardless.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects

By Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors prior to September 1st.

#1 Taylor Guerrieri (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

6

0

2.01

0.985

51

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

67

0.7

3.09

4.8%

19.5%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015)

A

Despite his recent Tommy John surgery, Taylor Guerrieri comes in as our top prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The next in a long list of homegrown starting pitchers (Price, Moore, Cobb, and Hellickson), Guerrieri projects to be an impact arm capable of leading a big league rotation. His arsenal includes a mid-90's fastball with impeccable command and control, a changeup thrown with excellent feel for a 20 year old, and a solid curveball that still needs a bit of work to become another plus offering.

Guerrieri pitched well in 67 innings of work in 2013, striking out 6.9 and walking only 1.6 batters per 9 innings. The lack of strikeouts will hurt from a fantasy perspective, but Guerrieri induces a ton of ground balls which combined with low walk totals will help sustain a low WHIP. He spent the year as a 20 year old in A-ball and with the recent injury, his ETA is anyone's guess. Reports have Guerrieri back in action around June or July barring no setbacks, where I would expect him to head back to A-ball to get his footing again. The Rays are notorious for taking it slow with their pitchers, and I doubt they rush Guerrieri even if he returns to form right away. If I had to guess, Guerrieri won't sniff AA until 2015 with 2016 being his first shot to crack the Tampa Bay rotation.

Guerrieri is far from a lock to reach his ceiling and there are some red flags worth pointing out. His lack of a true "out" pitch keeps his projection to that of a mid-rotation starter and if the changeup and curveball don't develop into another plus pitch, he may not even see that much success. A high school 1st Round Draft pick of the Rays back in 2011, by the time Guerrieri recovers from injury, developmentally he will be far behind even for the Rays' standards. I have seen reports of Guerrieri's fastball velocity ranging from 91 all the way to 98 mph, and I'm not concerned as I would normally be given the tendency for pitchers coming back from TJS to add a few ticks to their velocity. Given Guerrieri's excellent fastball command, I wouldn't even be that concerned if he sits at the bottom range of 91-93 mph and induces plenty of groundballs for a Tampa team that always places an emphasis on infield defense.

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Photo Credit: US PRESSWIRE

#2 Jake Odorizzi (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

9

0

3.45

1.15

148

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

154

0.9

0.63

7.8%

24.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

23

R/R

On 40-Man Roster (2 Options Remain)

AAA, MLB

Jake Odorizzi will make the largest impact in 2014 fantasy leagues of anyone on this list. That's saying less about Odorizzi and more about the current state of Tampa's organization. Odorizzi has the ceiling of a number 3 starter, but he is a player to keep an eye on. He should crack the Tampa Bay rotation out of spring training next season and I'm willing to bet he sticks all season long. The 24 year old will likely start the year in the big league rotation and the righty has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues after paying his dues while subject to Tampa's excruciatingly slow development program. Odorizzi's slow progression through the minors is more a result of this being his third organization since being taken in the 1st Round of the 2008 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Similar to Guerrieri, Odorizzi does not have elite swing and miss stuff, and I don't think the above-average strikeout rates he posted in the minors will hold up long term in the majors. Odorizzi will give up his fair share of hits, but if he continues to successfully limit the long balls he will be a viable fantasy starter.

Odorizzi features a fastball, changeup, curveball, slider and he throws them all well without any being a standout option. He doesn't have the arsenal to come in and shutdown offenses right away. Odorizzi will need to learn how to pitch effectively by mixing his pitches and setting up hitters. 2014 should be an up and down season for Odorizzi as he learns the ropes, and I expect 2015 to be the year we see Odorizzi entrench himself as a reliable mid-rotation fantasy starter. If David Price is dealt, Odorizzi will likely be a favorite sleeper in fantasy leagues and while I don't necessarily endorse such a sentiment, I think he will be worth some spot starts next season.

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Photo Credit: Bruce Thorson - US PRESSWIRE

#3 Ryne Stanek (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

0

0

0

0

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

0

0

0

0.0%

0.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2016)

DNP

With the 1st round pick the Rays received from Atlanta as compensation for B.J. Upton, they selected Ryne Stanek, a 22 year old from the University of Arkansas that has yet to throw a professional pitch. Stanek has legit swing and miss stuff, and he is a stark contrast to the two pitchers above him on this list. The reason he comes in at third behind Guerrieri and Odorizzi is because his future role as a starter is very much in the air. Stanek has a plus, arguably plus-plus fastball, and a changeup that he uses to finish off hitters on a consistent basis. Both pitches severely lack control and command, and a lot of work needs to be done for Stanek to shed the "future reliever" tag.

In his final year at Arkansas, Stanek threw 97.1 innings, striking out 79 and walking an unacceptable 41 batters. A sub 2.0 K/BB walk ratio is a recipe for a future fantasy WHIP balloon, but I'm confident that the Rays can help Stanek make the proper adjustments to get that walk rate down. They do have a track record of settling down wild pitchers and helping them harness their elite stuff, Chris Archer being the most recent success story. The walks will always be a bugaboo, and even if he can't get them down to a reasonable level it is easy to see Stanek's development into a light's out closer. When gambling on prospect pitchers, always go for the one with two easy plus pitches that will play out of the bullpen.

It will be interesting to see which level Stanek begins his professional career. Being a college draftee with elite stuff, he could probably handle Hi-A, but the control problems and the Rays' developmental program complicates the matter. He could go anywhere from Hi-A to being held back in extended spring training for additional work. Regardless, I don't see Stanek skipping many levels on his way to the big leagues, so I wouldn't expect an ETA earlier than 2016.

#4 Nick Ciuffo (C)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.258

11

0

25

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

169

0.296

0.308

5.3%

23.7%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2017)

R

The Rays used their 1st round draft pick this year on Nick Ciuffo, a high school catcher out of Lexington, South Carolina. Ciuffo has been lauded for his leadership skills and with above-average chops behind the plate, all signals point to a career as a signal caller. It is crucial that there is little doubt about his future behind the dish, because his offensive profile would not really play at any other position.

Ciuffo has a promising hit and power tool and while he's far away from realizing their full potential, he has the work ethic that leads me to believe he will max out all of his tools. At 18 years old, he has a solid build (6'1", 205 lb) that should support double-digit power from a demanding defensive position. The power was not evident in his brief 43 game stint in Rookie ball, but I'm not too worried about it because the bat tends to lag behind the other skills of catching prospects as they learn to master their defensive craft first. The one red flag in Ciuffo's 2013 season was the poor plate discipline, whiffing 40 times while only walking 9. I'm comfortable chalking this up to a transition to professional ball and a relatively small sample size, but it's something to keep an eye on going forward.

I would expect Ciuffo to stay in extended spring training to start the 2014 campaign with a move to short-season Class A once the season kicks off in June. The Rays aren't exactly loaded at the catcher position in both the minor leagues and active roster with Jose Molina's contract expiring this season and Jose Lobaton the lone remaining option. This means Ciuffo has a relatively clear path to the majors as long as he develops as expected in the next few years. This guy is certainly capable of becoming a reliable fantasy starter in all formats.

#5 Drew Vettleson (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.274

50

4

62

5

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

516

0.331

0.388

7.8%

15.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

18

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2014)

A+

A 1st round sandwich pick in the 2010 draft, Drew Vettleson is a 5-tool talent. None of the tools are especially loud, but each should play average to above-average during his career. Vettleson is 22 years old and just wrapped up a full season in Hi-A, which means an assignment to AA is all but assured to kick off 2014.

Vettleson has a short, quick swing that should play for a decent average and above average power. I would guess ~.280 with 20 HR during his peak years, with low double digit steals and solid OBP to boot. Playing primarily in right field, Vettleson has the arm to remain there but could see time in CF or LF given Wil Myers' presence. His profile doesn't scream prototypical right fielder, but from a fantasy standpoint I would still expect him to produce above average across the board production from the OF position.

If you're looking at Vettleson's power/speed numbers and their drop off from 2012 to 2013, consider his change in offensive environment along with it. He spent 2012 in the Midwest League which is more or less an offensive neutral environment, and he spent 2013 in the Florida State League, which is known as the most offensive suppressing environments in the minor leagues. Consider his 2012 league-adjusted wRC+ of 117 and 2013 value of 105 - a decrease, no doubt, but still above average and nothing to move his prospect stock up or down. An encouraging sign from 2013 was his decrease in K% from 20.8% to 15.1%. I like Vettleson and think he will be a useful OF option in most fantasy formats.

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Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

#6 Richie Shaffer (3B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.254

55

11

73

6

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

122

0.308

0.399

6.7%

20.4%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

L/R

Not On 40-Man (Protect After 2015)

R

Another Rays first round pick, this time from the 2012 draft, Richie Shaffer is a third basement drafted out of Clemson University. He just completed his age-22 season in Hi-A in the Florida State League and should be headed for a big test in AA to start the 2014 season. Shaffer is a big guy standing at 6'3" and 218 lbs. and he has the power stroke to go along with it thanks to his incredibly quick bat speed.

Similar to Drew Vettleson, Richie Shaffer saw a drop in his production in 2013 and while some of this could be explained by a full season in the Florida State League, there are a few more red flags in Shaffer's profile that were raised this season. Shaffer shot up prospect lists at the end of 2012 when he slashed .308/.406/.487 in 33 games to start his career in Low-A. He showed power and patience (11.6% walk rate) and appeared destined to move through the system quickly on his way to take the Rays 1B or RF. 2013 may have changed this outlook as flaws in Shaffer's swing have been exposed - his timing is easily thrown off with a long stride, and he tends to start his swing with the upper half of his body.

I don't think the ceiling has changed much on Shaffer: middle of the order presence, 25-30 HRs with solid average and OBP skills. However, I do believe the gap between future and present is large enough to cause some concern and introduce some risk into Shaffer's prospect profile. AA will be a big test for Shaffer as he gets out of the Florida State League and starts facing pitchers who change speeds more effectively and could expose Shaffer's faulty swing mechanics. I still like Shaffer as a long-term option at 1B for the Rays.

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Photo Credit: Elsa - Getty Images

#7 Hak-Ju Lee (SS)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.422

13

1

7

6

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

15

0.536

0.600

19.3%

15.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

L/R

On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)

R

A knee injury caused Lee to miss almost all of his 2013 season, which was shaping up to be a pivotal year in his development as he looked to bounce back from a poor 2012 effort. Lee's prospect status and appearance on multiple Top 100 lists in the past 3 years hinges mostly on his defensive prowess, but his elite speed does offer some intrigue to fantasy owners. Lee has stolen 30+ bases every season between 2010-2012 and has the offensive approach to become an effective leadoff man, which adds some potential fantasy value.

The Rays hold a $5 million team option on Yunel Escobar this off-season and their decision to accept or decline said option will go a long way in stating their intentions for Hak-Ju Lee. If they decline the option, Lee automatically is the frontrunner for the starting gig next spring, but if they accept it, Lee could be out of luck or the knee injury might be further from being healed than we think.

Lee is definitely a prospect who holds more value in real-life as opposed to fantasy leagues due to his defensive capabilities at a premiere position. I wouldn't buy into Lee in shallower leagues as he offers almost no power and there is still some question as to where his batting average will settle, but he's almost a sure bet to become a starting SS, so in deeper leagues where playing time becomes a more critical factor, he could be worth a look.

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Photo Credit: Kim Klement - US Presswire

#8 Enny Romero (LHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

11

0

2.52

1.27

112

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

153

0.5

0.91

12.3%

17.5%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Left)

DNP

Enny Romero is a hard throwing lefty that has struggled with control ever since being signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. He has always been viewed as having the raw, swing and miss stuff but he's never thrown enough strikes to project into a starting role.

Romero throws primarily a fastball, changeup, and curveball, with his mid-90s fastball being the only true plus pitch. A disturbing trend over the past 3 seasons has been Romero's drop in strikeout rate from 11.1 K/9 in 2011 to 7.6 in 2012 down to 6.8 in 2013 pitching across AA and AAA. I think Romero's stuff would play up much better out of the bullpen where his wildness would not harm him as much. Romero did get a spot start this season in Tampa Bay giving up 0 runs and 1 hit in 4.2 innings, but walking 4 batters and striking out none in the process. Given Tampa's plethora of starting options, and Romero's readiness for the big leagues, I think he opens 2014 in the bullpen where hopefully he finds a role to thrive in.

#9 Blake Snell (LHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

4

0

4.27

1.65

106

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

99

0.73

1.89

16.3%

23.7%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

L/L

Not On 40-Man Roster (Protect After 2015)

A

Another of the sandwich picks in the 2011 draft, Blake Snell is a big lefty drafted out of high school in Washington. Snell offers a 4 pitch repertoire featuring a low-90's fastball, plus slider, a developing changeup and curveball. The underdeveloped changeup is not a major issue at the moment since it's a pitch that required feel and experience, but it's a pitch that must develop in order for Snell to become an effective starter.

Snell spent 2013 in A-ball where he continued to rack up strikeouts at a 23.7% clip, but saw an unusual spike in walks, 16.3%! The walk rate is incredibly alarming, but can partly be explained by Snell learning to throw his changeup and his already spotty fastball command. Snell's arm is overpowering and reports on the changeup are that it started to come along by season's end. He could very easily develop 3 plus pitches and become a solid mid-rotation starter for the Rays. His 6'4" frame should be able to handle a full workload of innings and the strikeout potential could be big for fantasy owners. Let's see if his full season assignment in 2014 can yield better command of his pitches, because if it does his prospect stock should start to soar.

#10 Jesse Hahn (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

2

0

2.09

1.12

67

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

69

0.13

2.56

6.3%

23.4%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

24

R/R

Not On 40-Man Roster (Must Protect This Offseason)

Rk, A+

Jesse Hahn is an easy pitcher to overlook when considering his pedigree and age relative to competition. A college arm drafted in the 6th round in 2010, Jesse Hahn would've been a first round pick if it weren't for a poorly timed elbow injury that forced him under the knife for Tommy John. 2011 was spent rehabbing and the Rays, for good reason, kept the training wheels on Hahn in 2012, only allowing him to throw 52 innings. Hahn did not receive a full workload in 2013, but he broke out in full force and finally showed why he had the potential to go first round in 2010. He struck out almost a batter an inning with a 2.3 BB/9 rate.

Hahn has always been much older than his competition so his expectations can be tempered a little, but the stuff is real, as his fastball should sit mid-90s when he's fully recovered from TJS. He also throws an effective curveball, changeup, and slider giving him a full arsenal to work from. Despite his age, I expect the Rays to continue to take it slow with Hahn moving him up a level at a time. 2015 is the first time we might see Hahn in the big leagues with 2016 a more likely scenario for him busting into the starting rotation. I like Hahn's chances as a successful starter and he's a sleeper worth stashing in all formats.

Other Interesting Prospects

By Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

Riley Unroe - Unroe is a name to stash for a year or two down the line. A high school shortstop taken in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft, Unroe has a really good shot to stick at the position and offers an interesting average/speed combo that could play well for fantasy owners. I'll wait until I see more of him, but he seems like a legit top of the order threat in a few years. He was very young for his draft class at 17, so there's plenty of time to wait and see what happens.

Jeff Ames - Ames had one of the most successful season in Tampa's farm system as he went a long way in shedding the "future reliever" tag many prospect writers tagged him for in 2012. Ames spent 2013 in A-ball, giving a near full workload at 114.2 innings. His strikeout rate dropped to 6.5 K/9, but he showed improved fastball command throughout the year. His fastball sits 93-95 and reports are that he added a two-seamer this year helping to induce a lot more groundballs.

2014 will be a big season for Ames as he looks to build on his successful 2013 campaign and establish himself as a future major league starter. The Rays have taken it extremely slow with Ames and he'll be old for his league again next year, something to consider when evaluating his successes. The fastball/slider combo is intriguing, but I'd like to see a jump in strikeouts next year before I seriously consider him as a future fantasy option.

Ryan Brett - Brett was dinged for a 50-game drug suspension that carried into 2013. I'll give him credit though, he's hit well every where he's been and continued that trend post-suspension. He doesn't strike out a ton and he can take a walk, plus he adds sneaky speed with 74 steals in his past 177 games. He's a second baseman long term, so the lack of power isn't terribly concerning, but he's an average/steal combo at best if he can find some room in the Tampa lineup this year or next.

Andrew Toles - A pure speed play, Toles came out of the gates sprinting in 2013. Racking up 62 steals in the Midwest League to go with a .326 AVG. There are some red flags to Toles' numbers that keep him outside of the Top 10: a .402 BABIP means the .300+ AVG isn't likely to be sustainable, and should drop to the .280 range we saw from him in Rookie ball in 2012. The 0.21 BB/K ratio is not what you'd like to see from a base stealer, either. There's a lot of swing and miss with no power in the swing, and his inability to take a walk severely hampers his projection of hitting atop a major league lineup. Definitely an intriguing season from Toles, but I'm selling high if I can, as I don't think he hits enough to let his speed be a worthwhile fantasy asset.

Brandon Martin - Another toolsy SS to stash for future reference, Brandon Martin offers double digit steal and HR potential with a very high likelihood of sticking at the position. He stuggled as a 19 year old in A-ball and will likely repeat the league in 2014, so there's a lot of development time ahead of him, but if the hit tool clicks his value could take off.

For more on the Rays, be sure to check out SBNation's DRays Bay. For more on the minor leagues and prospects in general, check out SBNation's Minor League Ball.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects.
Follow him on Twitter

Andrew Ball is a contributing writer for Beyond the Box Score and Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
Fangraphs
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