ST. PETERSBURG -- MLBPipeline.com announced its Top 100 Prospects list for the 2017 midseason, and the Rays had seven prospects on the list.In addition, the Rays ranked third in prospect points behind the Braves (527) and White Sox (527) with 296.Rays prospects included on the list were right-hander Brent Honeywell
ST. PETERSBURG -- MLBPipeline.com announced its Top 100 Prospects list for the 2017 midseason, and the Rays had seven prospects on the list.
In addition, the Rays ranked third in prospect points behind the Braves (527) and White Sox (527) with 296.
Rays prospects included on the list were right-hander Brent Honeywell at No. 14, shortstop Willy Adames (18), left-hander/first baseman Brendan McKay (23), outfielder Jesus Sanchez (77), outfielder/first baseman Jake Bauers (85), right-hander Jacob Faria (95) and right-hander Jose De Leon (99).
The ranking of baseball's top prospects is done by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Honeywell and Adames were ranked 31st and 21st on the preseason list, and the pair flip-flopped on the Rays Top 30 Prospects list, with Honeywell moving up to the top spot ahead of Adames, who dropped to No. 2.
"Willy plays every day, Honeywell plays every fifth day," Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "So maybe some people have Willy ahead of Honeywell because of that, but they're both really exciting players."
The Rays selected McKay with the fourth pick of this year's MLB Draft, and they've decided to explore the possibility of him playing every day as well as pitching.
"His potential is enormous," Lukevics said.
Jesus Sanchez, 19, popped onto the list for the first time. The left-handed-hitting native of Higuey, Dominican Republic, has been putting up quality offensive numbers since first playing for the Rays' Dominican Summer League in 2015.
"He can really swing the bat," Lukevics said. "He's a good player on both halves of the inning."
Jake Bauers really opened eyes during Spring Training. He's a disciplined hitter with above-average power. He was ranked 75th on the preseason list.
"Bauers, he can hit," Lukevics said. "And what you love about Bauers is his disposition. How he handles everything for a 21-year-old is startling to me. He has a great eye. Looks over the ball really well. Doesn't chase a lot of pitches out of the zone. Overall, really good hitter. Really mature young man for his age. That's a good combination when you have the maturation with the skill."
Faria, who was not on the preseason list, is already pitching at the Major League level and has been thriving during his rookie season. Meanwhile, more was expected from Jose De Leon, whom the Rays acquired from the Dodgers for John Forsythe. De Leon was ranked 68th on the preseason list, but he has been on the Minor League disabled list with a back problem for a large portion of the season.
De Leon has "been hurt," Lukevics said. "And that's sad. You really can't say much more about it. He's in the rehab program, he will be back unless there's a setback, and we hope not. Certainly there's a lot of upside, but his year, he's been hurt."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.