ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay continues to enjoy success down on the farm, which is a success that is personified by the organization placing five players on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, closeness to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2013.
Tampa Bay ranked third overall in total number of points with 310, behind Seattle (355) and St. Louis (340). The weighted total was derived from number values assigned to the prospects. For example, the No. 1-rated prospect, shortstop Jurickson Profar earned 100 points for the Rangers. The No. 2-ranked prospect, Baltimore right-hander Dylan Bundy, gave 99 points to the Orioles, etc. The total of those values is reflected in the organization's overall point total.
Wil Myers was the Rays' top-ranked prospect, coming in at No. 4. Nos. 44, 45 and 46 belonged to right-handers Taylor Guerrieri, Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer. Finally, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee earned the No. 56 ranking.
Myers, who came to Tampa Bay in the December trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City, began the 2012 season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and earned a May 16 promotion to Triple-A Omaha. He hit a combined .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBIs.
The 22-year-old North Carolina native has hit .303 with 64 home runs, 259 RBIs, a .395 on-base percentage and a .522 slugging percentage over four Minor League seasons after being selected in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft by Kansas City.
Guerrieri, 19, was the No. 24 overall pick in the 2011 Draft. He started 12 games for Class A Hudson Valley and went 1-2 with a 1.04 ERA. He struck out 45 and walked just five in 52 innings.
Odorizzi, 22, also came to the Rays in the Royals trade. He made his Major League debut in September and went 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts for Kansas City. He spent the majority of the season with Omaha, where he was named the team's Pitcher of the Year, going 11-3 with a 2.93 in 19 games (18 starts). He began the campaign with Northwest Arkansas and was promoted after going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts. His combined 15 victories tied for third most in the Minor Leagues.
Originally selected by the Brewers in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) of the 2008 Draft, Odorizzi was one of several players traded to the Royals in December 2010 for pitcher Zack Greinke.
Archer, 24, posted a 3.66 ERA in 25 starts for Triple-A Durham. He led the International League and all Tampa Bay farmhands with 139 strikeouts.
Acquired as part of the trade that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs, Archer has compiled a 3.89 ERA with 269 strikeouts over two seasons in the Rays' system. He served two stints in the Major Leagues in 2012, going 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA in six games (four starts).
"Chris turned his season around," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "He got an opportunity to go to the big leagues, threw two wonderful games. I think he took those lessons up here down to Triple-A and when he got back, he really finished up strong. They say it's not how you start -- it's how you finish. To see how he was last year in Double-A Montgomery, and then where he is now. He's on the verge of making an impact in the big leagues."
Lee, 22, set team records at Double-A Montgomery by hitting in 21 straight games and reaching base safely in 46 in a row, surpassing the previous mark of 37 set by Evan Longoria in 2007. During the 46-game on-base streak, Lee hit .308 with a .387 on-base percentage. In his second year in the organization, the 21-year-old hit .261 with four home runs and 37 RBIs. He was named the "Best Base Runner" in Tampa Bay's organization.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.