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Tampa Bay Rays: Top 12 Dynasty Prospects

The Tampa Bay Rays will be our next stop on the farm to evaluate the best prospects on each MLB team. Once the 2020 MLB season begins, it may turn out that Minor League systems will be more important than usual. Franchises are losing money during the pandemic layoff, so many teams will be looking for sources of cheap production. It might also take older players longer to rebound from a long layoff meaning we could see more injuries and more roster moves. We will also see expanded rosters, at least in the early going.

One important question to ask is: How will a long layoff affect prospects? One has to assume the more advanced prospects prior to the work stoppage will be at an advantage, while the more “toolsy but raw” type could be hurt with the lack of repetition and in-game action; throwing or hitting in simulated environments just doesn’t match up to the real thing. Many prospects will have to work jobs during the pandemic just to make ends meet, while players who signed for large bonuses will have an advantage. Other prospects that lack strong discipline and commitment to their craft could struggle to stay in shape.

We won’t really know what the layoff impact will have on baseball in general until things start ramping up. But we do know that a strong prospect pool will continue to be an important element for a successful baseball franchise. We're looking at the Top 10 (or more) dynasty prospects in each organization with an eye to discovering which organizations are best positioned to succeed with their player development when games resume. Make sure to check out all of our prospect content, including Top 50 for 2020 and Top 250 for Dynasty Leagues.

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Quick Synopsis

It’s no secret that the Rays have one of the best systems in Major League Baseball and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Wander Franco make an appearance in the Majors in 2020 if the club is in the playoff hunt.

1. Wander Franco, SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 1
2020 Prospect Rank: 41
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2020

Franco has a chance to be better than Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or Fernando Tatis Jr. The young Rays prospect has a great feel for the bat and rarely abandons his game plan. Just 18-years-old last season, he had no issues with either A-ball levels and would have opened 2020 in Double-A at the age of 19. Last season, he posted a BB-K of 56-35 with 18 stolen bases. His raw power hasn’t yet developed into in-game pop but he has the bat speed and skill to eventually top 20 home runs while hitting well above .300 with excellent on-base rates.

2. Brendan McKay, LHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 7
2020 Prospect Rank: 3
MLB ETA: 2020

McKay is still getting better as a pitcher after having a split focus as a two-way player throughout college and into the early stages of his pro career. He may still occasionally pick up the bat but his future if clearly on the mound as a potential No. 2 starter. McKay has four average-or-better offerings and his strong command/control helps them play up. With additional pitching focus and a strong development system aiding him, I expect his secondary stuff to get even better.

3. Vidal Brujan, 2B

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 47
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2020

Brujan made easy work of the lower minors but hit a bit of a wall during the second half of the 2019 season when he was promoted to Double-A. A gifted hitter with the ability to make consistent contact, Brujan also has blazing speed but he needs to get stronger as he zeroes in on the Majors. He’s stolen more than 100 bases over the past two seasons and could be a really valuable fantasy contributor if he reaches his ceiling as a player that can hit .300 and steal 40 bases.

4. Shane McClanahan, LHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 50
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2020

I’ve been a fan of McClanahan since his junior year in college and saw him as a mid-first-round talent. The Rays got him with the 31st pick of the draft and things really started to click for him in 2019 when he played at three levels and topped out in Double-A. The lefty has a blazing fastball and good slider but his lack of consistent control has held him back at times. He walked 31 batters in 53 innings in Low-A ball in 2019 but then found a groove and issued just 14 free passes in the next 67.2 innings. In total, he ended up with a K-BB of 154-45 in 120.2 innings.

5. Shane Baz, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 68
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Like McClanahan above, Baz has an excellent fastball-slider mix but he too can struggle with inconsistent command/control. The right-hander also has yet to prove his durability by passing the 100-inning mark in pro ball. In his third pro season in 2019, he pitched a career-high 81.1 innings. If Baz can iron out a third offering and throw strikes consistently, he has a chance to be a No. 2/3 starter.

6. Xavier Edwards, 2B/SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank:  88
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2021

Edwards is a similar prospect to Vidal Brujan as a speedy player who’s shown the ability to hit for a strong average. Acquired from the Padres during the offseason, he hasn’t been quite the prolific base runner that Brujan has been but Edwards is a little more physically mature. If he keeps developing on this same trajectory, he has a chance to hit .300 with gap pop and 30+ steals.

7. Joshua Lowe, OF

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 90
2020 Prospect Rank: 44
MLB ETA: 2020

I’m a big fan of Lowe, a former first-round pick who’s taken longer than expected to develop. Things started clicking in 2019 and now looks like Kyle Tucker-lite (for a much lower price). Lowe will likely always have swing-and-miss to his game but finally tapped into his raw power and could eventually develop into a 20-20 (HR-SB) player with strong center-field defense. He also walked 59 times in 121 games and could see a value boost in on-base leagues if this trend continues.

8. Joe Ryan, RHP

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 122
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

A 2018 seventh-round draft pick, Ryan burst onto the scene during his first taste of full-season ball in 2019 by pitching at three levels and finishing the year with a combined 1.96 ERA and a K-BB of 183-27 in 123.2 innings. The young hurler has outstanding control and an excellent fastball but he’s mostly a one-pitch pitcher right now that needs to round out his repertoire to truly realize his full potential as a starter.

9. Ronaldo Hernandez, C

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 140
2020 LEVEL: AA
MLB ETA: 2021

Hernandez had a string of three strong offensive seasons — including hitting 21 home runs in 2018 — before hitting a wall in High-A ball in 2019. I think he may have been playing hurt so I have hope that he’ll rebound although his aggressive nature could prevent him from reaching his full potential.

10. Randy Arozarena, OF

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 165
2020 Prospect Rank: 50
MLB ETA: 2020

The jury is out on Arozarena’s ceiling — Is he a really good fourth outfield or an average regular? — but he had an intriguing 2019 season with improved pop while hitting .344. He’s a player that doesn’t have one major standout tool but he does a little bit of everything well.

11. Greg Jones, SS

Dynasty Prospect Rank: 172
2020 LEVEL: A+
MLB ETA: 2022

Jones was selected 22nd overall on the strength of his raw athleticism and game-changing speed. The downside to Jones is that his bat is not as advanced as you’d like to see from a college product. With that said, he did hit .335 in 48 games during his pro debut (albeit with a 22-56 BB-K) so perhaps the Rays' development magic is already working on him.

12. Brent Honeywell Jr., RHP

MLB ETA: 2020

Honeywell just can’t stay healthy and news came down in May that he once again went under the knife, which further clouds his future. After a strong showing at Triple-A in 2017, the right-hander has now had Tommy John surgery, a fractured elbow, and nerve decompression surgery. It's hard to know if he'll ever be able to come back and pitch again.

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