Tampa Bay Rays - MLB Prospects
Jake Odorizzi - RHP
Odorizzi was acquired from Kansas City as part of the deal that brought Wil Myers to Tampa Bay. After making his MLB debut with the Royals in 2012, Odorizzi appeared in seven games with the Rays in 2013. Entering 2014, he was already in the mix to begin the season with the big club. Now with Jeremy Hellickson sidelined by injury and likely out until May, Odorizzi can and will compete for a starting role this spring. In four starts and three relief appearances in 2013, Odorizzi threw 29.2 IP with a 3.94 ERA. At Triple-A Durham, Odorizzi started 22 games with 124 K, a 3.33 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Provided he impresses this spring, the Rays will break camp relying on him to throw quality innings throughout the season. A strong performance by Odorizzi could force Hellickson, upon his return, to a spot-starter or long-relief role. Odorizzi is rated by Baseball America as the Rays fourth-best player under 25, and the top prospect in Tampa’s system.
Most scouts view him as a middle to back end of the rotation starter. He will have plenty opportunity to impress heading into 2014.
Talent: 6, Opportunity: 10
Hak-Ju Lee - SS
Lee played in just 15 games at any level in 2013. He is expected to make a full recovery after torn ligaments ended his season last April. Though Lee is rated by Baseball America as the second-best prospect in the Rays organization, he is not likely to make much of an impact this season. Lee has good speed and is known as an excellent glove, but has not shown much power. He has the potential to become a steady .300 hitter, but doesn’t project as a masher. In his brief 2013 season, Lee hit .422 in 45 AB with seven RBI and six SB. In 2012 at Double-A Montgomery he swiped 37 bags.
Lee won’t see steady playing time in the majors in 2014. He could get called up as a late-inning defensive replacement, or see some time subbing for a veteran.
Talent: 5, Opportunity: 3
Enny Romero - LHP
Romero will also compete to begin 2014 in the majors, pitching in relief or as a back-end starter. Romero made his MLB debut in 2013, throwing 4.2 IP with four BB and no strikeouts. Romero started 28 games in between the Triple-A Durham and Double-A Montgomery, and finished 2013 11-7 with 110 SO, 2.76 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 140.1 IP.
Though he faced almost exclusively minor leaguers all season, Romero’s 7.05 K/9 hints at his potential to become a solid strikeout pitcher. With the help of the highest-rated slider in the Tampa system, Romero is rated by Baseball America as the fourth finest prospect in the organization. He has a very good chance to see some time out of the bullpen or as a spot starter in 2014.
Talent: 7, Opportunity: 9