2008 Top 5 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays

As we lead up to both the start of the 2008 season and our “Diamond Cutter” top 100 prospects list, I will be taking a look at the top five prospects from every single Major League team. Each team will have its top five prospects along with a brief scouting report on each player that I have pulled from my scouting notes. Today we continue with the prospect rich American League East as we check in with the seemingly endless Tampa Bay Rays system. As always, let me know how you feel about the rankings in the comments section below or via email.

1.) Evan Longoria, 3B: Longoria has natural power to all fields due to strong wrists and quick bat. Also has a knack for getting on base so look for a high OBP from him. Very good defensively at third base and while he has the athleticism to play a middle infield spot, look for him to stick at third base for the Rays. Longoria should end up with the Rays coming out of Spring Training in 2008 and truly is a star in the making.

2.) David Price, LHP: David Price is the best pitcher we have seen come out of college in a long time. His fastball runs 90-95 mph and has a tailing motion away from righties. The lanky-lefty also has a high-70’s slurve and a wicked 84-86 mph slider that he throws effectively with two strikes. Needs to get a third plus-pitch such as the change-up he is working on and can have control problems at times. Otherwise he is going to be something special as a pro (entire “Prospect Spotlight” scouting report).

3.) Jacob McGee, LHP: McGee has shown that he is a mature and crafty young left. His pitch selection include a low-90’s plus-fastball with very good movement and an above average changeup and curveball. While he has struggled in the past with control (especially with his secondary pitches) he has learned to harness them and has improved immensely in that area. McGee is just another great Devil Rays’ prospect.

4.) Wade Davis, RHP: Davis rounds out one of the best collection of young arms in any Minor League system. Davis is a hard thrower with a fastball in the upper-90’s and a sharp moving curve. He is currently working on refining at least one more pitch to help in his battles and to make his other two pitches that much more effective. Looks to land as a solid middle of the rotation guy or even as high as a number two starter.

5.) Reid Brignac, SS: Brignac would be a lot higher on this list but his less than impressive defense at a defensive position hurts him. This is in part due to the fact that he is a bit on the large side for a middle infielder. Despite any defensive inadequacies, he has shown he is a very good hitter and has proven to be one of the top offensive shortstops in the Minors.

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7 Responses to 2008 Top 5 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays

  1. Daniel says:

    Just out of curiosity – how would you rank JP Howell if he had pitched 2 innings less and still qualified as a rookie?

  2. Mike says:

    I’d put Longoria at one because he’s still more of a sure thing than Price is. The Rays better hope he isn’t a more hyped version of Dewon Brazelton.

  3. Daniel, as far as Howell goes, I still don’t think I’d have him crack the top 5. I still hold Jeff Niemann ahead of him in the rankings but I think Howell has some potential.

    Mike, I have struggled with the idea of the Price vs. Longoria debate but I just can’t shake how good Price can be. Not to take anything away from Longoria as I feel he will be incredible, but with all the times I’ve watch Price he has always impressed me.

  4. Mike says:

    What do you think of Jeremy Hellickson?

  5. LinceArmStrong says:

    If this team doesnt make the playoffs within the next 3 years, they should just end this franchise!

    Matthew – Any thoughts on grooming Niemann to become their future closer? At 6 ft 10, they can just turn him into a 9th inning bully with that hard fastball. So many good young arms that there is just no room for him imo….

  6. That thought has actually crossed my mind as there just simply isn’t any room for Niemann anymore. Not too long ago he was one of their top pitching prospects and then once Price was drafted he got bumped out of the “club.”

    So with Price, Davis and McGee ready to pound the door down and Kazmir and Garza in the bigs, Niemann is the odd man out.

    The only question remains is if he has the mentality to be a closer or not. The other alternative is if the Rays dangle him as trade bait. That wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

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