Chris Crawford on Other Rays Prospects | The Process Report

Chris Crawford on Other Rays Prospects

Last week, Chris Crawford of MLB Draft Insider and ESPN.com released his list of the top-14 prospects in the Rays system. Crawford, whose draftbook is worth the small fee, was kind enough to join us to discuss some other prospects in the organization.

TPR: Let’s start with some recent first-round picks. How optimistic are you about Richie Shaffer and Josh Sale turning things around?

Crawford: I wouldn’t say I’m terribly optimistic about either player turning things around — especially after seeing Shaffer in the Arizona Fall League in October — but I still give Shaffer more of a chance than Sale, which is disappointing because there’s considerable talent in the latter. Though he’s unlikely to become an everyday regular at either corner position, I could still see Shaffter becoming a backup at both positions who gives a left-handed hitter a day off, with a non-zero chance to be a second-division regular. Sale will have to show considerable improvement in his makeup if he is to ever sniff the big-leagues.

Kevin Kiermaier enjoyed some helium last year, but how wide is the gap between him and Drew Vettleson and Mikie Mahtook?

I think it’s pretty substantial, with positional value being the only thing that brings Mahtook into the discussion with Vettleson; as the latter was someone that many scouts pushes for me to include in my top 14. I’ve been disappointed with Mahtook, as I thought he had a chance to be a fast-track guy with above-average tools across the board and with an extremely high knowledge of how to play the game. As a 24 year old who hasn’t made it past AA, that obviously hasn’t been the case. Vettleson probably is a fourth outfielder — which is slightly concerning because I don’t think he has the skills to play center — but he’s above-average in right-field with average offensive ability.

Same thing, but with Tyler Goeddel, Riley Unroe, and Brandon Martin compared to the ranked infielders.

I have long been a fan of Goedell, and though the overall numbers haven’t been terribly impressive I still think he’s the best prospect of that group by a considerable margin, even with Unroe having a chance to play in the middle of the infield. There’s some obvious contact issue, but I still think Goeddel has a chance to be above-average offensively as a third baseman who can steal you 15-20 bags as well. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but he’s improved every year and there isn’t much of a rush. I’m lower on Unroe than the industry, and I think even at his peak he’s a second-division second baseman who doesn’t have the arm strength to stay at short. Martin was terrible in 2013, and he’s not good enough defensively to put himself into the discussions of being anything more than a 25th man on a roster at this point.

With Jesse Hahn elsewhere, are Jeff Ames and Grayson Garvin the best collegiate starters drafted by the Rays in recent years? 

I would say that belongs to Ryne Stanek, and again, by a considerable margin. Both the guys you mentioned received top 20 consideration from me, with Ames ranking higher but Garvin being the ‘safer’ option despite the injury. But Stanek has a chance to be a No. 2 starter with high-leverage reliever floor if things don’t develop as planned. All three have a chance to start, but Stanek is clearly the highest-ceiling starting pitching prospect the Rays have taken since David Price.

Between Alex Colome, Enny Romero, and some of the newcomers it seems like Felipe Rivero falls through the cracks. What are your thoughts on him?

I think that’s fair to say, but I’m sure the Rays don’t feel that way. Rivero has improved considerably since Tampa Bay signed him in 2009, as both of his secondary-offerings have flashed above-average at times and  with more life on a 92-94 fastball. The command isn’t where it needs to be yet, but if he keeps improving back-end starter or medium-leverage left-handed reliever are not out of the question.

Do any of the Rays’ homegrown relievers have late-inning potential?

I don’t think they have a chance to be high-leverage guys to me, as I don’t think either one is going to miss enough bats. If I was going to pick one I’d take Kirby Yates because the breaking-ball flashes above-average and with some command of the fastball, but I still think he’s more of a 6th-7th inning guy at this point.

There’s a collection of defensively limited hitters in the system—Vince Belnome, Alejandro Segovia, Jeff Malm, Patrick Leonard, and Cameron Seitzer—can any of them hit enough to cut it in the majors?

You need to have a plus hit or plus-plus power tool for me to project you to play in the big leagues, and none of those guys you mention above have either of those. Could someone like Seitzer or Malm get a cup of coffee at some point? Sure. But projecting anything more than that is difficult to see, in my opinion.

Jake Odorrizi and Mike Montgomery, or Matt Andriese and Matt Lollis?

I’ll go with Montgomery and Odorrizi, simply because I think you’re getting the best pitcher in the group (Odorizzi) and I give Montgomery a 50-50 chance of still becoming a No. 5/swing-guy, with Lollis being no more than a long reliever to me unless the command improves substantially.

 We’ve heard some names of guys who could blow up in the coming years—Bralin Jackson, Cristian Torbido, German Marquez—give us another potential sleeper in the system.

I’m not sure if he qualifies as a sleeper or not, but I heard nothing but good things about Kean Wong, and the only reason he isn’t a top 20 prospect is because he’s going to have to play second-base and probably won’t be anything but average there. Still, he’s got some pop out of the bat from the left side, and like his brother he has an advanced feel for hitting. He won’t help for several years but he’s a name to keep an eye on and could shoot up the rankings if he hits in A-ball this year



7 Comments

  1. Jason Hanselman wrote:

    “…but Stanek is clearly the highest-ceiling starting pitching prospect the Rays have taken since David Price.”

    Higher than TG?

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