Update on Rays’ Top 5 Prospects

20120514-172925.jpgAfter a little over a month of baseball, the MLB—and MiLB season—is now in full swing. Back in February, I did an evaluation on the Rays’ top prospects on The Rays Rant, and I think it’s about time we check-in how they’re progressing thus far. As you can see from the list, Matt Moore is still technically considered a prospect. However, he’s already pitched nearly 50 innings as a Major Leaguer, so I decided not to include him in this article. Here’s the current status of the Rays’ top five minor league prospects:

Hak-Ju Lee

It’s been a slow start to the season for 21-year-old shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, who earned a full-season promotion to Double-A Montgomery after a breakout 2011 season. He’s batting .229/.293/.314 as the Biscuits’ leadoff hitter, with 12 RBI and nine stolen bases (caught three times). He hasn’t gone yard yet, but he does have 10 extra basehits including three triples. Lee is not only struggling with the bat, as he hasn’t been sharp defensively either. He hasn’t been smooth at short so far this season, committing seven errors already (.955 fielding percentage). It’s clear that the talented youngster has not yet adjusted to the Double-A level, and seems to still be in the process of getting used to the speed of the game. Hopefully it’s nothing more than a slow start for Lee, as the Rays could really use a shortstop like him as soon as possible on the roster.

Chris Archer

The Rays’ top right-handed pitching prospect is probably Chris Archer, who continues to provide the Rays with even more pitching depth down at the farm. After a poor April start to the year, it appears as if Archer is now on the right track. Archer currently owns a record of 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA this season with Triple-A Durham, but he’s had a great start to the month of May. In his three starts this month, Archer has gone 2-0 with an ERA of 2.00, going six innings deep in all three outings. He outdueled Yankees’ top prospect Manny Banuelos on Sunday, shining in the Bulls’ matinee matchup with the Yankees (Scranton/WB) throwing nine strikeouts without allowing an earned run. We know he has good swing-and-miss stuff, but the main concern with Archer is his command. The 23-year-old simply walks too many batters; he’s walked 28 already this season (averaging 3.5 base on balls per start). This is something Archer clearly needs to improve on if he hopes earning a promotion to the big leagues at any point this season.

Tim Beckham

After a good 2011 season, the former first-overall draft pick has disappointed the Rays once again in 2012. After just 13 games with Triple-A Durham, where he hit .204/.290/.278 four RBI, the 22-year-old shortstop was issued a 50-game suspension from MiLB for his second violation of the league’s drug policy (marijuana). This could not come at a much worse time for Beckham and the Rays, as 2012 was supposed to be a crucial year in his development as he continues to near is MLB debut. The Rays and their fans hope that Beckham won’t become the next Josh Hamilton.

Mikie Mahtook

Drafted in the first round of last year’s draft, Mahtook has had a solid start in his first year of full-season ball. He’s put up a .278/.340/.317 line with 13 RBI and nine stolen bases with Class A+ Charlotte in the Florida State League. The only thing that hasn’t come around yet this season is the power, as Mahtook remains homer-less with four extra base-hits after the first 34 games (126 at-bats). He definitely has some pop in his bat, and hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the power arrives.

Taylor Guerrieri

Also drafted by the Rays in the first round last summer, Guerrieri gives Tampa’s organization another exciting young arm. The 19-year-old is starting the year in extended spring training, and is yet to throw his first pitch as a professional. He’s expected to soon start the season in the Rookie League, with the Princeton Rays. A complete scouting report on the hard-throwing right-hander can be found here.

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6 comments

  1. AJ

    “The Rays and their fans hope that Beckham won’t become the next Josh Hamilton.”

    Hahahahahaha… yeah, I’m sure they just have their fingers crossed that he’s nothing like Josh. Don’t worry – I’ve seen him hit… he is absolutely nothing like Josh Hamilton in any way, shape or form.

    And come on.. it’s pot. He’s not shooting up in the lockerroom.

    • mlblogsyossif

      Exactly, I can’t stand MiLB stupid rule that punishes players this harshly for something as trivial as weed…it’s unbelievable, especially when you consider that HGH testing was just put into effect this season.

    • Gheorghe

      Jay-You got them all right except the biV ICD is a Medtronic Concerto (just in kineepg with the Medtronic calendar idea…).Oh, and you forgot to mention the three EKG electrodes on her chest film, too… (you know, several other “devices.”) 😉

  2. Pingback: Update on Rays’ Top 5 Prospects « The Rays Rant
  3. Baseball Maven

    If you want to smoke dope, pro sports is a bad career choice (or any career for that matter). If want to advocate legalizing dope in pro sports, well you’re on the losing side of this global debate. So go join NORML, if you can remember how to find it.

    Look, when you agree to accept the contract terms, with the $$$ comes rules. Don’t want to obey the rules, then don’t take the money. Become a pothead and live like dopers do. Persoally, if I was working in a profession I loved (and respected) and being paid like a #1 draft pick, I’d live like a monk. And I believe most others are the same.

    My son played on a travel team for a year with Beckham in HS. In my in my extensive observations Beckham has great natural athletic talent AND totally lacks discipline, teamwork, civil regard and common courtesy.

    He’s stated in interviews how he finds it difficult to see his homeys because they struggle. Well they struggle because of their lack of education, skills, respect for the law — along with memory loss caused by pot. He’s 22 and still more loyal to his loser HS homeys than his profession and the team that’s paying millions. He has a bad case of arrested development that will only be exceeded by his arrest record eventually.

    I predicted in 2007 that Beckham would be busted for drugs before making it to the Big League, be an underachiever, be a poor teammate because of his “Blatitude” (cultivated by Coach Anthony Dye with his constant blame of white players for losses) and selfish play. I also predicted he’d never make it to The Show and lastly, serve time in prison by age 25.

    Only two predictions left to prove I was completely correct.

    • mlblogsyossif

      I’m not at all condoning what Beckham did, in matter of fact I think it was a stupid decision. But the fact that players on the 40-man roster cannot receive this suspension and the fact that HGH testing has just taken effect this year makes this ridiculous.

      Why should minor leaguers be punished more than major leaguers?

      Also, I’m not too thrilled with Beckham’s makeup but I really don’t think it’s fair to write him off so quickly. So far at the professional level, his only off-the-field issues have been doping.

      I believe he will make the majors one day, but he’s going to have to change his overall work ethic if he wants to succeed at all.

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