Starting spots for Rays' Top 30 Prospects

April 3rd, 2019

With the 2019 Minor League Baseball season getting underway, here's a look at where the Rays Top 30 prospects are starting the year. We also identify the prospect who just missed the Top 30 list, a player who didn't make the big league Opening Day roster but should make an impact this year, a prospect who is ready to break out in 2019 and the team's best defensive prospect.

  1. Wander Franco (MLB No. 13), SS -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
  2. Brent Honeywell (MLB No. 28), RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA) -- IL
  3. Brendan McKay (MLB No. 29), LHP -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
  4. Jesus Sanchez (MLB No. 38), OF -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
  5. Matthew Liberatore (MLB No. 54), LHP -- Extended spring training
  6. Ronaldo Hernandez (MLB No. 82), C -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  7. Vidal Brujan (MLB No. 99), 2B -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  8. Nate Lowe, 1B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
  9. Shane Baz, RHP -- Extended spring training
  10. Lucius Fox, SS -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
  11. Shane McClanahan, LHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
  12. Nick Solak, 2B -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
  13. Moises Gomez, OF -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  14. Joe McCarthy, OF -- Durham Bulls (AAA) -- IL
  15. Joshua Lowe, OF -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
  16. Nick Schnell, OF -- Extended spring training
  17. Colin Poche, LHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA)
  18. Tanner Dodson, RHP -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  19. Taylor Walls, SS -- Extended spring training
  20. Resly Linares, LHP -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  21. Anthony Banda, LHP -- Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) -- IL
  22. Tyler Frank, INF -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  23. Drew Strotman, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A) -- IL
  24. Ian Gibaut, RHP -- Durham Bulls (AAA) -- IL
  25. Austin Franklin, RHP -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A) -- IL
  26. Tobias Myers, RHP -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  27. Garrett Whitley, OF -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
  28. Tristan Gray, INF -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
  29. Alejandro Pie, SS -- Extended spring training
  30. Jelfry Marte, SS -- Extended spring training

Just missed the Top 30: Osmy Gregorio, 3B
Acquired from Seattle in October 2017 to complete a previous trade, Gregorio is yet another promising young Rays prospects with tools and remaining physical projection. The 20-year-old already has a quick right-handed bat and should develop double-digit home run power as he adds strength to his athletic frame. He's also an above-average runner and can play anywhere on the infield, though most scouts expect him to settle in at the hot corner -- where he received the bulk of his reps last season -- or possibly second base long-term.

Impact prospect: Nate Lowe, 1B
One of the top breakout prospects of 2018, Lowe produced a .330/.416/.568 line with an organizational-best 27 home runs as well as 32 doubles while ascending from Class A Advanced Charlotte to Triple-A Durham and appearing in the Futures Game along the way. With power that plays to all parts of the field, he could soon be hitting in the middle of Tampa Bay’s big league lineup either as a first baseman or designated hitter.

Breakout prospect: Shane Baz, RHP
The player to be named from the Pirates in August in the Chris Archer non-waiver Trade Deadline deal, Baz has power stuff that he’s still learning to harness. His fastball, slider and cutter are all plus pitches, and he rounds out his arsenal with a curveball and changeup that could be average or better. With better control and command, the 19-year-old righty could begin to dominate as his stuff suggests he should.

Best defensive prospect: Lucius Fox, SS
While there's no shortage of standout defenders in the highly athletic Rays system, Fox, a top-flight athlete with plus-plus speed, could be the best. He's played shortstop exclusively as a pro and committed 15 errors in 105 games last season while reaching Double-A at age 21. His athleticism makes him an electrifying defender, and he has the requisite physical tools to remain at the position for the long haul.