Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tampa Bay Rays Top 5 Pitching Prospects

Hey guys, I've decided to break up the top 5 pitchers and top 5 hitters for each team as separate posts. Depending on how things work out, I might post the pitchers one day, and then the hitters the next day or later, and vice versa. If you all would like me to keep them together, just say so, but I think this way I can knock out several teams' pitching prospects at once, and then turn around and do the hitters second. Shifting gears between the two can sometimes slow things down.

Anyways, here are the Tampa Bay Rays top 5 pitching prospects...

Besides the Oakland A’s, the Rays could have the best young arms in the game. They have drafted well and done an excellent job developing their pitching talent, with the only set back being the recent injury of Jacob McGee. Imagine a starting rotation of Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, David Price, Jacob McGee/Wade Davis/Jeremy Helickson all in their prime. Absolutely ridiculous and sickening all at once.

1. David Price, 23 – We all know about Price. We just don’t all agree on how good he actually is.
Projection: Great #2 or 3, possible good #1
Comparable player: Justin Verlander

2. Jeremy Helickson, 21 – Nobody wants to talk about it, but Hellickson’s numbers are actually pretty close to Price’s numbers right now. Obviously, there are some differences between the 2 pitchers, but I’ll be interested to see how they compare in 5 or 6 years when the age difference doesn’t matter anymore.
Projection: #2 or 3 with #1 potential
Comparable player: Erik Bedard

3. Wade Davis – Jacob McGee would have been given the #3 spot, but his recent Tommy John surgery will put him on hold for another 18-24 months. Subsequently, Davis gets the nod for #3. He’s had some ups and downs in AAA, but he’s still a very solid pitcher.
Projection: #2-4
Comparable player: Jeremy Bonderman

4. Nick Barnese, 19 – The kid could be a killer, but it’s a bit too early to say for sure. Has good breaking stuff, a live fastball, and very nice groundball numbers all at the age of 19. Be sure to keep an eye on him in 2009.
Projection: Unsure; possibly #3 or better
Comparable player: Unsure

5. Jeff Niemann, 25 – I think Niemann will drop out of the top 5 by the end of the year. He really doesn’t have much more than decent #3 potential, and he may never have a spot in the Rays rotation the way things are going.
Projection: #3 at best, likely #4 or 5
Comparable player: Ian Snell

Honorable mentions: Jacob McGee

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Anonymous said...

How close are the Giants in the argument for best young arms? We got the likes of Lincecum (could win Cy Young this year if the pen/offense didn't suck), Matt Cain, Johnathan Sanchez, and then coming through the minors with Henry Sosa and the 2 first rounders of Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner? We have 4 of the top 8 ERA leaders in the Cal league, gotta mean something right?

Adam G said...

You know what, you're right. I should have included the Giants in the conversation. I think the A's and Rays might still have them beat in terms of minor league talent, but in terms of overall Under 25 talent, the Giants could easily be the best team in the MLB.

Adam G said...

I just added the Giants to the poll on the sidebar (I reset it to make things fair, so if you already voted for a team, you can vote again in the new poll).

Mike said...

I noticed in your future Ray's rotation that you didn't have James Shields there. At this point I would say he is their best pitcher. So do you think he's already hit his ceiling and the other pitchers will surpass him? Or are you not a believer he'll maintain this success?

Adam G said...

Good observation Mike. I left Shields off for the exact reasons you stated. At 26 years old, Shields is a fantastic pitcher and has a couple of years of great pitching left, but 5 years down the road I don't see him as being one of the top 5 pitchers on the team.

Think of this. In 5 years, Scott Kazmir will be 29, David Price will be 28, Garza 29, McGee 27, Davis 27, and Helickson 26. Each one of those pitchers has a higher ceiling than Shields, so with them in their prime years and Shields on the way out, Shields becomes a back of the rotation pitcher. Of course, on other teams he could be a #3 or 4 starter at that point, just not with the Rays.