The Rays placed six prospects among ESPN.com’s top 100 prospects for 2012. Leading the way is Matt Moore, who is third, trailing only Mike Trout of the Angels and Bryce Harper of the Nationals.
Last season, the Rays had eight players on the list. Jeremy Hellickson, Desmond Jennings, and Jake McGee are no longer eligible. Alex Torres and Alex Colome fell off the list. And this year’s list includes three newcomers.
Here is the full list of top Rays prospects with a sample of what was written about each. Their position on the list in 2011 is in parentheses…
3. Matt Moore, LHP (16) — His control took a big step forward this year, and his command of the fastball and changeup is already above average. Moore is only 22 with the frame to get stronger and an easy delivery that should, in theory, keep him on the mound longer. If I had a crystal ball that could promise me Moore would stay healthy for the next decade, he’d be even higher on this list. Instead, he’ll have to settle for third place and predictions of Cy Young contention by his third or fourth year in the majors.
12. Hak-Ju Lee, SS (49) — Lee’s breakout year in 2011 carried him to Double-A at age 20 and established him as one of the best true shortstop prospects in the game. He’s a four-tool player whose only weakness is power, but because he’s a lock to stay at the position, his bat will still make him a potential All-Star.
63. Chris Archer, RHP (40) — Archer’s numbers were less than sterling last year, but the stuff and athleticism are intact and some adjustments he made late in the year give some hope that he’ll return to form in 2012…He still has that No. 2 starter upside, but he’s not out of the prospect danger zone yet and it wouldn’t be inappropriate to project him as a closer.
84. Enny Romero, LHP (UR) — His main issues, of course, are command and control, walking more than a guy every other inning last year and still generally working on the art of pitching. But if you want a low-minors lefty with the potential to go all Matt Moore in 2012, this is him.
87. Mikie Mahtook, CF (UR) — he’s a high-energy player with great makeup who leaves no question that he’ll get the most out of his tools. And since his tools are pretty good, I like his chances to be an above-average everyday player in the big leagues.
88. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP (UR) — Guerrieri also faced major questions about his makeup, more off-field than on, that he’ll have to resolve to reach his full potential as a pitcher. If he does, there’s No. 1 starter ceiling here.