Tampa Bay Rays moving up

The Tampa Bay Rays’ Midseason Top 50 prospects will be out later this month, but let’s look first at who’s moving up, down and out of the system following the June draft and July 31 trade deadline.

The best rookie in the Rays system this year has been Jake Faria, the sixth best prospect on our Prospects1500 Tampa Bays Rays Top 50, who has excelled in his major league debut and is a solid member of the rotation. He’s 5-2 with a 2.81 ERA and 1.14 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 67.1 innings. Rays rookie pitchers Austin Pruitt (#24) , Jose Alvarado (#45) and Ryne Stanek (#9) have had mixed results in the big leagues this season, but all three show promise. Pruitt has a 6-3 record with one save, a 5.14 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 49 innings. Early troubles aside, he was called upon to replace Jake Odorizzi in the rotation when he got hurt and has pitched admirably when stacked up against, get this, Dallas Keuchel and Chris Sale in his last two outings. Next up for Pruitt is a matchup with Cory Kluber of the Indians. Alvarado and Stanek have been shuttling between Tampa and AAA Durham with sometimes sparkling relief innings in the big leagues, sometimes not. Alvarado did hurl an immaculate inning (3 strikeouts on 9 pitches) Aug. 4.

On the cusp are Brent Honeywell (#2) and Ryan Yarbrough, who are excelling at Durham, but 40-man roster limits may keep them down on the farm awhile longer. Honeywell, star of the Futures Game at the All-Star break this summer, continues to pitch well; he has 135 strikeouts in 106 innings, an 11-7 record and 3.74 ERA for the Bulls. Yarbrough, acquired from the Mariners in the offseason Drew Smyly trade, has 131 strikeouts in 135 innings, a 12-5 record and 3.27 ERA in Durham this season.

Andrew Kittredge (#48), a reliever acquired from the Seattle Mariners in 2016, made his MLB debut with the Rays, striking out four in four innings before his return to Durham. Rookie infielder Daniel Robertson (#14), who showed well earlier in the season, is off the disabled list and has returned to action.
Among those promoted this season are second baseman Brandon Lowe (soon to be ranked) and catcher Brett Sullivan (#22), both moving from High-A Charlotte to AA Montgomery. Lowe, an all-star in the Florida State League, had nine homers and a .311 batting average when promoted. Sullivan, also an all-star in the FSL, had eight homers, a .301 batting average and stole 14 bases in Charlotte.

Catcher Jonah Heim and shortstop Lucius Fox (#16) were promoted from Low-A Bowling Green to Charlotte. Heim hit nine home runs and drove in 53 RBI for the Renegades. Fox, 20, selected for the Futures Game, stole 27 bases in Bowling Green.

Rays’ top draft pick Brendan McKay, chosen fourth overall, has impressed at the plate and on the mound in a small sample size. The University of Louisville graduate is playing first base, DH and pitcher at short-season Hudson Valley. He’s hit four homers with 13 RBI in 63 at-bats. He struck out seven and allowed no runs and just one hit in five innings on the mound in two starts.

In trade deadline deals, top prospect first basemen Casey Gillaspie (#4) was dealt to the Chicago White Sox for reliever Dan Jennings. The Rays gave up a hard-throwing reliever, Drew Smith, to the Mets for Lucas Duda. The Rays had acquired Smith from the Mariners in April. The Rays picked up 18-year-old right handed pitcher Tobias Myers from the Orioles in exchange for Tim Beckham. Myers, a sixth-round draft pick out of Winter Haven, Fla., High School is, needless to say, a project.

There will be plenty of shuffle on the new Rays Top 50, so check back for that.

Article featured image of Brandon Lowe – courtesy of his Twitter @Sweet_n_Lowe5

Michael Parnell is a retired newspaper editor who covers the Colorado Rockies for Prospects1500. He is a longtime fantasy baseball fan who now focuses on his dynasty teams in Diamond Duos and Dynasty Sports Empire leagues. He recently relocated from Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Albuquerque, N.M. Follow him on Twitter @parnellmichael.

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