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News Every Day |

2024 DRaysBay Community Prospect List: Vote for No. 30

Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day
Kenny Piper | Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

A second catcher enters the Top-30.

Previous Winner

Kenny Piper, C
A+ | .216/.333/.458 (.791, 115 wRC+) 270 PA, 13 HR, 3 SB
AA | .293/.389/.610 (.999 OPS, 160 wRC+) 95 PA, 7 HR, 0 SB

Where most hitters struggle the most when promoted to Double-A, Piper found a power stroke and went on a tear in his age-24 season, belting 7 HR in less than a hundred plate appearances once promoted to Montgomery. Was it simply a hot streak, or a legitimate improvement? We’ll have to find out. As an 18th round draft pick from 2021, Piper will be Rule 5 eligible at the end of this season, so time is of the essence. The draw here is plus power. His long swing is cocked and ready, and has enough speed to belt to all fields.

Entering the final vote for the Top-30, and seven of the remaining ten candidates have received votes in the previous round (eight if you count Ryan Cermack, who got a vote a couple rounds ago). It will be interesting to see who takes the final slot!

Rules

There will be a selection of players listed in the comments. To vote, reply to the player’s name with a +1 in the comment. For the best voting experience, filter the comment section by Oldest.

Please vote using whichever criteria you prefer! If you like stats, use stats. If you like scouting reports, reference those reports. There’s no one right way to do this — that’s what makes this exercise fun.

If you want to vote for a player who is not listed, there will be an “Others” comment. Reply to that comment with the name of your selection. This is incredibly rare because there will eventually be up to 10 players to choose from, but it’s possible a player you feel strongly about slipped through the cracks.

If you want to nominate a player to be included in the next poll, reply to the “Testers” comment with that player’s name. We will often limit the number of players accepted for the next poll to prevent the list from becoming cumbersome. All players in one poll who do not win the vote are automatically included in the next poll — there is no need to re-nominate.

Voting will go live on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.

Candidates

Ryan Cermack, OF
A | .268/.346/.465 (.811 OPS, 129 wRC+) 160 PA, 6 HR, 8 SB

Drafted No. 71 overall in 2022, Ryan Cermack enters his age-23 season with less than 200 plate appearances in the Rays system. He has the profile of a power hitting center fielder, but fell off prospect lists this off-season after missing three months mid-year with a wrist injury, and although he didn’t miss a beat on his return, there appears to be some skepticism that his hit tool will click as he climbs the ladder. Cermack’s draft slot was acquired alongside Isaac Paredes in the Austin Meadows trade.

Carlos Colmenarez, SS
Rk-A | .211/.349/.313 (.661 OPS, 96 wRC+ in A) 370 PA, 6 HR, 10 SB

There was a time Colmenarez was viewed as the heir to Wander Franco’s hype, but that has all but died, and not just because Colmenarez reported stateside 4 inches shorter than expected. Viewed by some as the top prospect in the 2020 international recruiting class, and signed for a $3 million bonus, it’s been a rough showing in his professional career. A broken hamate kept Colmenarez almost completely off the field in 2021, and a tendency to strikeout reared its ugly head in 2022 that carried into 2023 with a a 38.2 K%. Accordingly, it will be interesting to see what level the Rays place him in his age-20 season. The organization has an opening at A+ for shortstop, but will his bat be ready? Whatever the result, athletic shortstops hitting from the left side are to be desired in any system, so there’s still hope he might offer value as he climbs the ladder.

Cooper Kinney, 2B
A | .274/.341/.393 (.734 OPS, 110 wRC+) 505 PA, 10 HR, 3 SB

Kinney was drafted No. 34 overall by the Rays in 2021 out of high school, signing for north of $2 million, but missed the 2022 season after injuring his shoulder in Spring Training. Because the injury required surgery, Kinney’s first full season of baseball didn’t occur until 2023. Entering his age-21 season, there’s little reason to think his hitting ability and power potential that got him drafted so highly has disappeared. His physical development could go either direction from second base, but his reporting to camp in great shape with improving agility was a positive. His arm was sapped in 2023, but that was to be expected after his injury.

Erick Lara, SS
DSL | .305/.416/.445 (.861 OPS, 133 wRC+) 154 PA, 2 HR, 5 SB

The latest teenage trade acquisition for the Rays, Lara is a 17-year old 6’2” shortstop with a loose, left handed swing with feel. With a prospect this far off, it’s an open question as to how his body will fill out, but he’s got a solid approach at the plate and enough bat speed to provide a distant power projection. He’s expected to get the promotion to the complex league for his age-18 season.

Tatem Levins, C
A | .286/.358/.476 (.834 OPS, 124 wRC+) 279 PA, 9 HR, 0 SB

Levins dominated at the plate as a 24-year old in Low-A, but it would have been more worrisome if he hadn’t, even as a catcher, where offense is less of a concern. Indeed, contrary to most players at his position, Levins development needs are with his glove. On offense, he has a compact, contact oriented, pure hitter’s swing from the left side. Add in his solid arm behind the plate, and it’s an interesting profile. Levins was acquired from Seattle in exchange for C Blake Hunt this offeason.

Bob Seymour, 1B
A+ | .310/.391/.556 (.947 OPS, 154 wRC+) 248 PA, 13 HR, 1 SB
AA | .343/.443/.537 (.980 OPS, 165 wRC+) 79 PA, 4 HR, 0 SB

Once the 2019 ACC player of the year, 25-year old Seymour is a 2021 late round senior our of Wake Forest who has performed well at every level, even though he might be considered a late bloomer. His left handed swing has power to all fields, and didn’t take a step back even when making the transition to Double-A. He’s limited to first base defensively, and is considered a below average runner, but you can’t deny he has impressed with his offense, earning Player of the Month honors in June.

Ronny Simón, 2B/SS
AA | .240/.323/.391 (.714 OPS, 91 wRC+) 416 PA, 10 HR, 26 SB
AAA | .282/.380/.427 (.807 OPS, 107 wRC+) 137 PA, 3 HR, 5 SB

Acquired from the Diamondbacks ahead of the 2022 season for Jordon Luplow, Simón gets most of his play at second base, but has potential as a switch-hitting utility player if his defense continues to improve, or could settle in as a solid starter at second base. This off-season, Simón played a starring role for the Dominican’s Toros Del Este, where he led the league in both AVG (.323) and OBP (.432). His best attribute is his speed on the base paths, and entering his age-24 season is starting to develop real in-game power (not for lack of trying, despite a diminutive size). It’s a high-effort, linear swing, but thanks to some added patience it’s starting to come together for a player who’s been Rule 5 eligible two off-seasons running.

Willy Vasquez, 3B
A+ | .233/.310/.393 (.703 OPS, 93 wRC+) 472 PA, 16 HR, 17 SB

In another life, Vasquez is in Caminero’s shoes, but back-to-back seasons hitting under 100 wRC+ have dimmed the bright light of his other tools. Either his long swing needs reinvention, or he needs to prove himself against advanced pitching, as time is running out. Despite some struggles hitting for average at Class- and High-A these last two seasons, a trip to Double-A is next, and an opportunity to prove he’s worth addition to the 40-man roster next year. If he figures it out, the rest of his tools give a major league projection for an infield role.

Colby White, RHP
Rk | 2 ER, 10.1 IP | (11 G) 12 K, 11 BB
A+ | 2 ER, 5.0 IP (5 G) 4 K, 2 BB
AA | 0 ER, 6.2 IP (8 G) 8 K, 4 BB

Relief-only prospect White returned from Tommy John surgery (due to an elbow fracture at the ligament) mid-way through 2023 after missing all of the previous season, and in total threw 22.0 IP with a 1.64 ERA across three levels. His potential as a high-leverage reliever is sky high, so much so that Tampa Bay added him to the 40-man roster last off-season to ensure he was not poached, despite being unable to pitch at the time. His game prior to the surgery was a 70-grade rising fastball and an above average power slider, but Marc Topkin reports he now boasts two breaking balls that Kyle Snyder calls, “better off-speed pitches than he’s ever featured before.”

Logan Workman, RHP
AA | 4.12 ERA, 63.1 IP (15 GS) 25.8 K%, 7.6 BB%
AFL | 11 ER, 17.1 IP (5 G, 4 GS) 21 K, 6 BB

If I asked you which Rays prospect previously pitched for the Savanah Bananas, would you know it was Logan Workman? Not content to sit out his COVID season, Workman pitched for Savanah in 2020, and then was drafted by the Rays as a fourth-year junior in 2021. After he breezed through both Class-A levels in 2022, Workman was limited at Double-A in 2023 due to a strained oblique in his first start in Montgomery. The Rays made up for lost time by sending him to the AFL, a tough environment for pitchers, where he nearly matched hits allowed (23) to his strikeout total. Only nine pitchers had more K’s than Workman in the AFL in 2023. His delivery is notable for a rapid, high leg kick, and he is surprisingly quick to pirouette on the mound, despite a thick body. He’s a fastball, change up guy, but also has a deep and expanding repertoire, showing a knack to develop and learn. The heater can play high in the zone, and touch 96, so there’s enough to dream on here. (video)

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