Tampa Rays Top 5 Prospects Post-Trade Deadline

Despite some recent graduations and trades of the Rays’ top prospects, they still have a solid farm system and are one of the best in the league in developing talent. The top prospect in all of baseball, Wander Franco made his debut on June 22 and is currently in the midst of a 26-game on-base streak. Another preseason top-five prospect for the Rays, Luis Patino has also since graduated. The right-hander was the main piece the Rays got in return for Blake Snell from the San Diego Padres on December 27. In 12 appearances – 10 starts – for the Rays this season, Patino has struck out 53 while holding a 4.53 ERA in 51 2/3 innings. 2020 postseason hero Randy Arozarena has also graduated since becoming a main bat in the lineup. He has batted .272/.351/.451 with 16 homers, 55 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 112 games this season.

1. Shane Baz – RHP

Fastball: 70
Curveball: 40
Slider: 60
Changeup: 50
Control: 55
Overall: 60

As if the Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t hate themselves enough for the Chris Archer trade, Baz was the player to be named later in the deal and has since turned into a stud himself. The right-hander was drafted by the Pirates 12th overall in the 2017 draft before he was traded along with Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow to Tampa Bay in August 2018. Baz made seven starts at Double-A Montgomery before getting the call to Triple-A Durham in mid-June. Since being called up to Durham, he has struck out 47 batters in 35 innings while allowing just seven runs on nine walks and 21 hits. He also made an appearance in the All-Star Future’s Game this year and was dominant. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning while striking out Atlanta Braves‘ prospect Michael Harris and Chicago Cubs‘ prospect Brennen Davis.

Baz has only improved since joining the Rays system, with the help of cleaning up his delivery and refining his pitch mix. His four-seamer has been his top pitch, which can reach triple digits, while his slider is a solid second pitch that has a lot of break and bite.

ETA: 2022

2. Vidal Brujan – OF/2B

Brujan was an international amateur signing by the Rays in 2014 for just $15,000. In his first full season in the Rays system, he led the Minors in runs (112) and finished second in stolen bases (55). His top prospect status was solidified when he reached Double-A at age 21 in 2019. That was followed by the Rays adding him to their 40-man roster after the season. He was at the alternate site in 2020 before being added to the taxi squad for the postseason.

Brujan made his major league debut this year when he got called up in early July. But he only got two hits in 26 at-bats over 10 games before being sent back down to Durham. He did steal a base, which he has had 36 of in Triple-A. The Dominican-born switch-hitter has an .836 OPS in Triple-A and will likely get another chance in the show during September when two roster spots open up.

ETA: 2021

3. Xavier Edwards – 2B

The Rays added Edwards in December 2019 in a package deal with Hunter Renfroe from the Padres. The Rays sent Jake Cronenworth and Tommy Pham to San Diego in the deal. Tampa Bay added the infielder to their alternate site group in August, before sending him to Double-A this season. His speed has been showcased in his 14 stolen bases, while he is still waiting for a breakout in power. Edwards has yet to hit a homer this season and has only hit one across 2+ seasons. He also has shown a great eye at the plate with a 12 percent walk rate and .365 on-base percentage. He has the makings of a solid leadoff hitter for the Rays by the end of next season.

ETA: 2022

4. Josh Lowe – OF

The Rays drafted Lowe with the 13th pick in the 2016 draft and signed him for $2.6 million. After just one partial season, he moved from third base to the outfield, where he can fully show off his athleticism. He moved up a level per season between 2017-19 before joining the Rays alternate site last summer. The Rays then added him to the 40-man roster in December and started him at Triple-A Durham this season. The lefty batter has hit .267/.352/.526 with 20 homers, 21 stolen bases, and 68 RBI in 91 games there. The brother of former Rays’ first baseman Nate Lowe – now with the Texas Rangers, could be added to the 28-man roster in September, depending on what route the Rays go with the extra roster spots.

ETA: 2021

5. Cole Wilcox – RHP

Wilcox was drafted by the Padres out of the University of Georgia with the 80th pick last year. They paid him a third round-record $3.3 million signing bonus, before shipping him to the Rays in the Snell trade. The Rays adding him has only elevated his stock, as he already looked to be a potential stud. The right-hander has a plus-plus fastball that sits 92-97 mph and touches triple digits and a darting slider that tunnels with the fastball well. The Rays believe he can succeed pitching east-west with his breaker and then locating his high-velocity fastball up in the zone to get swing-and-misses. Tampa Bay has a great track record of developing pitchers, and Wilcox already has a very high upside. The one question is if he will fit better in the rotation or bullpen, but that doesn’t much matter in today’s game and the Rays’ usage of pitchers.

ETA: 2023

What Does the Future Hold?

The Rays are clearly in win-now mode and have held a chokehold on the AL East ever since passing the Boston Red Sox last month. They continue to show their ability to make winning trades, as they have certainly won the Snell trade. After making the World Series last year and ultimately losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they look to get back there and win their first one. They still have a lot of potential with their prospects outside of the top five. There is still a ton of athleticism in their system as they continue to make moves.

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