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.
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