Tampa Bay Rays 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Rays Top 50 design by @designsbypack on Twitter

The Tampa Bay Rays are fresh off a World Series appearance and currently have the best record in the American League. In fact, they have the second best record in all of Major League Baseball, behind only the San Francisco Giants. The Rays have been scorching hot as of late, winning 11 of their last 12 games, as they attempt to distance themselves from the rest of the American League East division on their journey to capturing another playoff berth. The depth of the Rays’ farm system is propelling them to victory.

The advancement of two top pitching and hitting prospects, respectively, has fueled the Rays’ recent surge. At the dish, Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena (both Tier 1 prospects on the Preseason Rays 2021 Top 50 Prospects before graduating this season) are both in the Rookie of the Year conversation. In the second half, Arozarena has posted an impressive 177 wRC+ and .398 OBP. The phenomenal Wander Franco has reached base safely in 29 consecutive games, which is the second longest on-base streak by a player under 21 years of in American League history, trailing only Mickey Mantle and his 36 consecutive on-base streak from 1951-1952. On the mound, budding arms Shane McClanahan and Luis Patiño have been leading the way for the Rays prospects. McClanahan has been incredibly consistent this season (3.37 FIP and 27.7 K%) and has exhibited signs of being a true frontline ace for years to come. Patiño is still settling in as a 21-year-old but has displayed flashes of brilliance that can certainly help the Rays down the stretch.

With these four major graduations coming from the system this season, one would assume that the talent has been depleted a bit. However, that has not proven to be the case. Let’s take a look at the MiLB standings: Down in Charleston, the River Dogs have the best record in all of Minor League Baseball (71-31), and recently clinched a postseason spot in a game they won 22-0 with River Dogs’ pitchers combining to throw a one-hitter. Not bad. “Which MiLB team has the second most wins?”, you may be asking yourself. Well, it’s another Rays affiliate: the Bowling Green Hot Rods (69-33). Pretty, pretty good. The Durham Bulls are not too far behind with the sixth-best record in all of Minor League Baseball, and the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits are seven games over .500. Every level of this organization is performing at an above-average level, experiencing significant success within a deeply talented system.


The Rays continue to thrive as an organization in large part because of their incredible player development program, as well as savvy drafting and scouting. The system has had major additions during the season via trade, such as Austin Shenton, and the 2021 MLB draft, as five of the Top 50 Prospects mentioned in the rankings below were selected by the Rays in this year’s draft. There have also been several standout prospects that have seen their rankings rise considerably over the course of this season, including Taj Bradley, Curtis Mead, and Ian Seymour — who have all jumped at least 15 spots in these updated rankings. Just another testament how successful the Rays continue to be at developing players throughout the talent-laden system.

Without further ado, here are the Rays 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects, collaboratively ranked by Jake Wiener and Bailey Srebnik. After each player’s write-up, (J) represents Jake and (B) was written by Bailey.

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1:
 Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster

*= signifies member of 40-man roster

Tier 1

1. Vidal Bruján*, 2B/OF (January rank #3)
Age: 23
Current Level: AAA
While Bruján had a slow debut in the Majors, he is cruising in Durham with 33 SB, 9 HR, and a .375 OBP. (B)

2. Shane Baz, RHP (January rank #9)
Age: 22
Current Level: AAA
Baz has enjoyed a very impressive year so far, tearing up the two highest levels of the Minors (37.6 K% & 4.3 BB% in 14 starts) while earning a silver medal with Team USA in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. (J)

3. Josh Lowe*, OF (January rank #5)
Age: 23
Current Level: AAA
Lowe has cemented his status as one of the best power-speed prospects in baseball, with 20 HR and 21 SB (128 WRC+) in 90 games with AAA Durham. (J)

Tier 2

4. Greg Jones, SS (January rank #13)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA
Jones got injured in March and was sidelined for about two months with a significant quad injury, but has since lit it up in 56 games with Bowling Green (13 HR, 27 SB, 145 wRC+). (B)

5. Heriberto Hernandez, OF (January rank #8)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A (IL)
Hernandez displayed impressive power and on-base abilities (.381 OBP with 12 HR) in 73 games with Low-A Charleston before he was placed on the 60-day IL in August. (J)

6. Taj Bradley, RHP (January rank #30)
Age: 20
Current Level: High-A
Bradley is having a terrific breakout season, with a 1.76 ERA (best in all of MiLB among qualified pitchers) in 66.2 IP for Charleston, and has kept up the success in Bowling Green. (B)

7. Cole Wilcox, RHP (January rank #15)
Age: 22
Current Level: Low-A
Wilcox has been downright dominant in his debut this season, posting a .198 BAA and 29.9 K% across the first 10 starts of his professional career. (J)

8. Xavier Edwards, 2B/3B (January rank #10)
Age: 22
Current Level: AA
Edwards’ speed (14 SB) and contact skills (.288 AVG) are great, and if he can add some power to his game (0 HR & .068 ISO), he can make a major impact. (B)

9. Seth Johnson, RHP (January rank #22)
Age: 22
Current Level: Low-A
Johnson is solidifying himself as one of the top arms in the Rays’ system thanks to his success thus far in Charleston: 3.30 ERA and 10.38 K/9. (B)

10. Austin Shenton, 1B/3B (Mariners’ January rank #18)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA
Shenton was acquired during the trade deadline from Seattle and has been a hitting machine this season, raking .295/.398/.549 across 80 total games with both organizations. (J)

11. Carlos Colmenarez, SS (January rank #11)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
Colmenarez, one of the top-rated international free agent signings this season, possesses a sweet lefty swing with significant offensive upside that should provide him a solid foundation to build upon in the Rays organization. (J)

12. Ian Seymour, LHP (January rank #28)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
After missing the beginning of the season with a flexor injury, Seymour burst onto the scene in Charleston, with a 15.03 K/9 and 2.55 ERA in 35.1 IP, and 36 Ks in his previous 19.1 IP. (B)

13. Carson Williams, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current Level: N/A (Drafted 1st round in 2021 MLB Draft)
The high upside prep product obliterated high school pitchers this spring, hitting .495 with 34 steals in 31 games, before being selected with the Rays’ first pick (28th overall) in the 2021 MLB Draft. (J)

14. Curtis Mead, 1B/3B (January rank #33)
Age: 20
Current Level: High-A
Originally from Australia, Mead came over to the Rays from the Phillies in a small trade back in November 2019, and he has been a quiet, steady riser in the system — in part by his 12 HR & 10 SB across two levels. (B)

15. Nick Bitsko, LHP/DH (January rank #12)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Bitsko is currently recovering from labrum surgery, but should hopefully be able to showcase his electric arsenal in the not too distant future, as he’s expected to make his highly anticipated professional debut in 2022. (J)

16. Brendan McKay*, LHP (January rank #6)
Age: 25
Current Level: AA (IL)
After a late start to the 2021 season due to shoulder surgery, and a subsequent shut down this week due to an elbow injury, McKay has had his second lost season in a row, and we wish the talented lefty a full and speedy recovery. (B)

Tier 3

17. Ryan Spikes, 2B (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current Level: N/A (Drafted 3rd round in 2021 MLB Draft)
Spikes is an incredibly well-rounded prep middle infielder that the Rays were fortunate to sign away from a University of Tennessee commitment with the 100th overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft. (J)

18. Alejandro Pie, 3B/SS (January rank #18)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Pie is a physical specimen at shortstop that possesses impressive athleticism and speed for his 6’4 frame, and should continue to improve at the plate as he develops through the organizational ranks. (J)

19. Brent Honeywell Jr.*, RHP (January rank #16)
Age: 26
Current Level: AAA
Honeywell has fared well in AAA Durham this season, with a 3.42 ERA across 55.1 IP, and was even able to make his Major League debut after not pitching in a professional game since 2017. (J)

20. Taylor Walls*, SS (January rank #19)
Age: 25
Current Level: AAA
Walls, the best defender in the Rays’ system, debuted in the Majors this season for a 113 AB stint, and has looked superb offensively in AAA. (B)

21. JJ Goss, RHP (January rank #23)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A (IL)
Goss has not pitched this season due to injury, but demonstrated impressive control of the strike zone in his professional debut, with only 2 walks across 9 games in 2019. (J)

22. Cooper Kinney, 2B (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current Level: N/A (Drafted CB-A in 2021 MLB Draft)
The 34th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, Kinney boasts exciting power from the left side, drawing comps to Mike Moustakas. (B)

23. Blake Hunt, C (January rank #25)
Age: 22
Current Level: AA
Hunt was acquired from the Padres last offseason in the Blake Snell blockbuster deal, and has a good chance of being the Rays backstop of the future with some palpable fantasy upside if he can continue to tap into additional power at the plate. (J)

24. John Doxakis, RHP (January rank #34)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
Doxakis was dominant in Charleston (2.06 FIP & 12.74 K/9 in 29.2 IP), but is still adjusting in Bowling Green. (B)

25. Sandy Gaston, RHP (January rank #43)
Age: 19
Current Level: Low-A
Gaston has massive upside as a potential blooming ace in the Rays organization, posting a 2.70 ERA and 35.3 K% across two levels this season. (J)

26. Tobias Myers, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: AAA
Myers was the return from Baltimore in the Tim Beckham trade back in 2017, and has had a career year in Double-A this year. (B)

27. Osleivis Basabe, 2B/SS (January rank #29)
Age: 20
Current Level: A
Basabe has displayed impressive speed in his first season with the Rays, stealing 15 bags across his first 54 games in Class-A Charleston. (J)

28. Niko Hulsizer, OF (January rank #32)
Age: 24
Current Level: AA
“The Hulksizer” is tied for third in HR in the system (20 HR) and is someone to keep an eye on if he can draw more walks. (B)

Tier 4

29. Jose Pena, OF (January rank #44)
Age: 18
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
Pena signed with the Rays during the 2019 J2 signing period, and although he’s gotten off to a slow start in his brief professional debut this season to date, he possesses loud raw tools to help his development as he matures in the organization. (J)

30. Jacob Lopez, LHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA
Acquired from San Francisco for Joe McCarthy at the 2019 trade deadline, Lopez is having a career year with 14.49 K/9 & 2.30 ERA in 54.2 IP. (B)

31. Jhonny Piron, OF (January rank #20)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
The recent international signee out of the Dominican Republic has impressive bat speed that generates potential plus power to pair with premiere athleticism for his age. (J)

32. Jhon Diaz, OF (January rank #24)
Age: 18
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)
Diaz finally made his pro debut this summer, and while the numbers are not great so far (43 wRC+ in 98 PA), the tools are there for Diaz to succeed. (B)

33. Kyle Manzardo, 1B (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Manzardo absolutely mashed PAC-12 pitchers this season in Washington State, raking .365/.437/.630, on his way to being selected in the 2nd round of this year’s MLB Draft. (J)

34. Jeff Hakanson, RHP (January rank #35)
Age: 23
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
The Tampa Bay native was drafted in the 5th round of the 2020 MLB Draft and possesses elite extension with a deceptive delivery that allowed him to punch out batters at an absurd 47.8 K% rate across three years with the University of Central Florida. (J)

35. Jonathan Aranda, 1B/2B (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA
Aranda is in the middle of his most impressive campaign in the Rays organization, slashing .333/.421/.549 in 87 games across the two highest levels of the minors this season. (J)

36. Abiezel Ramirez, 2B/3B/SS (January rank #47)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A
Ramirez has looked excellent in Charleston (9 HR, 17 SB, & .343 OBP), and will be a further riser on this list if he can cut down his 38.7 K%. (B)

37. Alexander Ovalles, 1B/OF (January rank #42)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A
One of the prospects acquired from the Rangers in the Nate Lowe deal this offseason, Ovalles has notably fared well as a lefty bat against same-handed pitching this year, hitting .295/.411/.443 against left-handed pitchers. (J)

38. Brett Wisely, 2B/3B (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
Wisely was the man in Charleston (11 HR, 28 SB, .292 AVG, .357 OBP), and has somehow been even better in his short sample size in Bowling Green (.318 AVG, .484 OBP, 201 wRC+) — keep an eye on him. (B)

39. Tommy Romero, RHP (January rank #55)
Age: 24
Current Level: AAA
Romero has experienced consistent success across four minor league seasons with a 2.71 ERA and is striking out opposing hitters at a career high 31.5 K% this season. (J)

40. Esteban Quiroz, 2B (January rank #62)
Age: 29
Current Level: AAA
Quiroz is older for a prospect (29 and a half to be exact) but has crushed it in Durham (10 HR, .408 OBP, 160 wRC+ in 169 PA). (B)

Tier 5

41. Alika Williams, SS (January rank #36)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
Williams is a glove-first shortstop that has demonstrated the ability to hit for contact and could serve the Rays well as a utility player as he progresses through the organization. (J)

42. Hunter Barnhart, RHP (January rank #40)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (FCL) (IL)
The start of Barnhart’s pro career has been delayed due to injury, but has the tools to rise up the rankings once he takes the mound. (B)

43. Nick Schnell, OF (January rank #31)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A
Schnell has struggled to consistently hit for average in Low-A Charleston but has still managed to display an impressive power-speed combo with 8 homers and 13 stolen bases across 52 games this season. (J)

44. Cal Stevenson, OF (January rank #49)
Age: 24
Current Level: AA
Stevenson is rocking a .344 OBP in Montgomery, with 8 HR & 12 SB as well. (B)

45. Patrick Wicklander, LHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Wicklander dominated SEC hitters this spring and has continued to impress in his brief debut since being selected in the 8th round of this year’s MLB draft, with 5 strikeouts, no runs allowed and a save earned across his first two professional appearances. (J)

46. Tanner Murray, 2B/SS (January rank #51)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A
The start of Murray’s pro career has been fun, as he has a 1.018 OPS & 4 HR in 85 AB across two levels. (B)

47. Ford Proctor, SS/C (January rank #37)
Age: 24
Current Level: AA
After spending his collegiate and professional career as a talented middle infielder with a solid approach at the plate, Proctor converted to catcher this season and increased versatility should provide him an opportunity to stand out in an organization loaded with middle infield talent. (J)

48. Ruben Cardenas, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA
Cardenas is having a breakout year as he leads the system in HR with 22, and seemingly the only thing holding him back is his OBP (.290 in AA.) (B)

49. Daiveyon Whittle, RHP (January rank #50)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A (IL)
Whittle has been recovering from Tommy John Surgery this season, but still represents one of the most talented pitching prospects in the entire system after a very successful 2019 performance (0.95 ERA across 47.1 IP.) (J)

50. Garrett Whitley, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current Level: AAA
Nice to see Whitley healthy as he tore it up in Montgomery with 11 HR, 9 SB and a .370 OBP – and he is now just one step away from the Majors. (B)

The Next 10

51. Dru Baker, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

52. Colby White, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA

53. Jayden Murray, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current Level: AA

54. Logan Driscoll, C (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A

55. Pedro Martinez, 2B/SS (January rank #39)
Age: 20
Current Level: High-A

56. Jordan Qsar, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 25
Current Level: High-A

57. Miles Mastrobuoni, 2B/OF (January – unranked)
Age: 25
Current Level: AAA

58. Gabriel Arias, SS (January rank #52)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)

59. Evan Edwards, 1B (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current Level: High-A

60. Diego Infante, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A




About Jake Wiener 11 Articles
Jake Wiener is a lifelong sports fan who leads Tampa Bay Rays minor league farm system coverage for the Prospects1500 team. Growing up playing baseball, Jake developed a love and genuine excitement for the game that grows stronger every year. Jake, who was born and raised in New York with family in Ohio, is a New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians fan. Jake participates in daily, redraft, dynasty and prospect-only fantasy baseball formats during each season and knows that when it comes to baseball, there truly is no offseason. Stay connected and feel free to reach out on Twitter @GatorSosa

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