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Legends On Deck

Game of the Week: Five Rays Prospects to Watch

Major League Baseball, as great as it is, would not exist if it weren’t for the hard work and dedication players in the minor leagues put forth every single day.  The dream to one day make it to the show can be years away after a player gets drafted, and for some that dream might never come true, but even with the odds stacked against them they continue to go out there and play the game they love.  I love them for it.

With Legends on Deck Game of the Week just a few more days away, I decided to take a look at five players in the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system that might be worth taking a look at.  My criteria may be different than others but that is what makes this game so great.  There are plenty of players that could have made this list, but the five I chose for one reason or another just stood out a little bit more.

Brent Honeywell RHP, Bowling Green Hot Rods – Honeywell was drafted in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft out of Walters State Community College in Tennessee.  He started his professional career in 2014 as a 19-year old playing for the Princeton Rays of the Appalachian League, appearing in nine games making eight starts.  He posted a 2-1 record with an ERA of 1.07 over 33.2 innings of work.  He was promoted to Bowling Green to start this season and is making the most of it.  In four starts this season he is 2-1 with a minuscule ERA of 0.82 over 22 innings.  He has given up just eight hits, six walks, and has recorded 29 strikeouts.  He is currently listed as the Rays number seven prospect according to MLB.com.  One thing Tampa has always been strong in is their pitching.  They draft and develop pitchers like no other team and by the time they get to the major league level they dominate.  Not too sure what the plan with Honeywell is, but he is young and he is good so keep your eye on him.

Jace Conrad INF, Bowling Green Hot Rods – Conrad was selected in the 14th round of the 2014 draft after playing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  He, like Honeywell, is in his second season as a professional baseball player.  He spent the 2014 season with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York-Penn League.  He had a pretty good season batting .265 with two home runs and 24 RBI in 65 games.  It was a step back from the .364 he hit in his final year in college, but it is to be expected making the jump into the minor leagues.  So far in 2015, Conrad’s line is .333/.365/.500/.865 with two home runs and 10 driven in.  The other thing that he boasts is speed.  He has eight stolen bases in 16 games and has yet to been caught.  He swiped 41 total last season in both college and his time in the NYPL.  He currently isn’t ranked in the Rays top 30, but again is someone to keep your eye on as he progresses.

Blake Snell LHP, Montgomery Biscuits – Snell was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Shorewood High School in the state of Washington.  Snell started the season in Class-A Charlotte, but it appears as he has been promoted to Double-A Montgomery.  One of the things that I always seem to go to when looking at pitchers has to be strikeouts to innings pitched.  I know I am not the only one to look at that, but it is usually the first thing I notice.  In his five seasons so far as a professional, Snell has recorded 331 strikeouts in 309 innings.  In the four games he appeared in so far in 2015 he is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 21 innings of work.  He is listed as the Rays 11th prospect according to MLB.com.

Tyler Goeddel IF/OF, Montgomery Biscuits – Goeddel was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft out of St. Francis High School in California.  He was selected 11 spots in front of Snell.  Goeddel is in his first season in Double-A and is off to a pretty fast start.  In 19 games so far this season, he is batting .362 with two home runs and 11 RBI.  The rest of his line is equally impressive for the 22-year old, .436 OBP, .536 slugging, and has an OPS of .972.  He doesn’t seem to hit many home runs but does appear to do pretty much everything else.  He has played only in the outfield so far this season and has a perfect fielding percentage in 25 chances including an outfield assist.  Goeddel is ranked 22nd in the top 30 but is flying through the Rays system so to me is a player to watch.

Jaime Schultz RHP, Montgomery Biscuits – Drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 draft out of High Point University in North Carolina, Schultz is another pitcher quickly on the move in the Rays system.  So far this season, Schultz is a perfect 2-0 in four starts.  He boasts an ERA of 1.74 and has recorded 33 strikeouts in 20.2 innings of work.  He does have a tendency to walk batters (3.9BB/9) but seems to have the stuff to get himself out of trouble.  He is a touch smaller at 5’10 compared to the norm in the big leagues, but as Jose Altuve proves, height doesn’t matter if you have the ability.  Schultz is ranked 29th on MLB.com’s top 30 Rays prospects and is just another talented pitcher in the Rays organization to keep our eyes on.

As I mentioned previously, there are a ton of players that could have made the list for one reason or another, but based on statistics this season, these are the first five that came to mind in a pool of many.  Next look will be the five Baltimore Orioles to keep watch on.

 

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John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com