Back in February we put together a meta-analysis, a comprehensive ranking of the Rays top 14 prospects. With most minor league seasons well into the second-half, let’s take a look at how those prospects are performing to date…

  1. David Price – The season has been more growing pains than a march to the AL Rookie of the Year award. After making 8 starts for Durham, the Rays promoted Price to the big leagues on May 25th. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but the norm has been a pitcher that struggles to throw strikes in short stints, which has led to 31 walks in 44 innings and a 4.70 ERA (6.30 tRA). All indications are that the Rays are willing to accept the struggles as Price learns to pitch while in the big leagues.
  2. Tim Beckham – Beckham has spent the entire season in single-A and so far he is holding his own against the older competition. He is hitting .277/.331/.404 with 4 home runs. The red flags are the 32 errors in 82 games, the 7-15 stolen bases and the 77 t0 23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. But there is plenty of time to improve all three of those aspects.
  3. Wade Davis – Davis has been good this season, but he is yet to be great like most expected for a top prospect. In 19 starts, Davis is 8-6 with a 3.33 ERA (3.95 tRA). The worrisome stat is the 94 to 43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. You would like to see that number closer to 3-to-1. There is still a very good chance Davis is called up later this season to fill a role in the bullpen similar to what David Price provided a year ago.
  4. Reid Brignac – Brignac came up in May and played 21 games for the Rays, hitting .271/.295/.390, but started to look more comfortable in the last few games going 8-20 (.400) over his final 6 games. His season in triple-A has been decent with a respectable .809 OPS and .357 wOBA. And you have to like that he is striking out about once every two games considering that number was about once per game last season.
  5. Jeremy Hellickson – Hellboy missed some time with a minor shoulder injury, but that hasn’t slowed his ascent through the minors. In 11 starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA (2.81 tRA) and he continues to pound the strikezone, striking out 62 in 56.2 innings, with only 14 walks.
  6. Desmond Jennings – For the first month of the season, we finally started to see the talent that everybody has been waiting for. He has cooled a bit recently, but his numbers are still great, hitting .328/.411/.511 with 40 extra-base hits and 35-40 in stolen bases. On top of that, the Rays have started giving him more playing time in the corner outfield spots in an effort to open up more options for a move to the big leagues in late ’10 or early ’11.
  7. Nick Barnese – Barnese is making single-A look easy, going 4-3 with a 2.03 ERA in 9 starts. He has 29 Ks and just 12 walks in 44.1 innings.
  8. Matt Moore – Moore is also cruising through the SAL and in a more dominating manor. In 17 starts, he is 6-3 with a 2.87 ERA (3.27 tRA). The most impressive number is 116 strikeouts in just 81.2 innings with 45 walks. He just turned 20, but he should be in Montgomery shortly.
  9. Jake McGee – McGee made his ’09 debut Saturday night for Charlotte, giving up 3 runs in 2.2 innings. The good news is that McGee is still on schedule following Tommy John surgery and should be 100% next Spring.
  10. Jeff Niemann – Niemann wasn’t even guaranteed a spot in the rotation until the Rays traded Jason Hammel prior to the season and now he is one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year. In 16 starts, he leads the Rays with 8 wins and leads the AL with 2 shutouts. You would like to see more strikeouts from the power righty, but one can’t argue with the 3.73 ERA.
  11. John Jaso – He is hitting .243/.342/.354 in 71 triple-A games and continues to show excellent command of the strikezone with 35 strikeouts and 32 walks. That bodes well for his future as a big league hitter. He may never be great, but he should be serviceable and will not be overmatched.
  12. Fernando Perez – Perez broke his wrist in spring training and has yet to make his ’09 debut. He recently participated in a simulated game but no timetable has been put forth for his return.
  13. Mitch Talbot – Talbot is quickly losing ground amongst the Rays starting pitchers. This season, in 10 starts, he is 4-4 with a 4.47 ERA.
  14. Jake Jefferies – The development of a catcher is usually a slow process and one that is very difficult to gauge in the boxscores and statlines. In 80 games, he is hitting .269/.341/.371.


  1. Charles says:

    Where do you think Matt Joyce falls into the spectrum of Rays prospects? He obviously wasn't on this original list, but is he close? Has he moved up or down in stature since arriving?

    • Good question. First of all, Joyce wouldn't be eligible for most of these lists because he would not be considered a rookie at the big league level. He had almost 300 PAs with Detroit last season. But I would probably slot him somewhere in that 4-5-6 group. I might give Brignac a slight edge because he plays a premium position. And I don't think Joyce has fallen at all. I think he still has the same upside. He has performed reasonably well at triple-A and should still be a very good big league outfielder.

  2. Ed says:

    Where is closer Matt Gorgen on this list? In Port Charlotte, 4-0 with an ERA 0.57 with 15 saves in 47.2 IP with 59 K. He got promoted to Montgomery (Double A) and pitched 2.0 IP with no hits and 1 K. He should be on this list. He can be the future closer for the Rays.


Leave a Comment