Tag: Brandon Lowe

2019 Preseason Top 150

Carter Kieboom
Carter Kieboom. Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

Before I even got this posted Alex Reyes exhausted his rookie eligibility (needed a single out to do so and pitched an inning on Friday) so I updated my top 150 before it went live. Reyes was at 22 but is now removed making room for Ryan Weathers, giving the Padres two more than any other team with 12 players making the top 150.  15 players on the list open the season in the big leagues, with 14 of those in the top 80 and the Padres and Mariners both starting with two players in the big leagues.


Player Position Team Rank
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B Toronto Blue Jays 1
Fernando Tatis Jr. SS San Diego Padres 2
Eloy Jimenez OF Chicago White Sox 3
Forrest Whitley RHP Houston Astros 4
Victor Robles OF Washington Nationals 5
Jo Adell OF Los Angeles Angels 6
Royce Lewis SS Minnesota Twins 7
Wander Franco SS Tampa Bay Rays 8
Nick Senzel 2B/3B Cincinnati Reds 9
Jesus Luzardo LHP Oakland Athletics 10
MacKenzie Gore LHP San Diego Padres 11
Bo Bichette SS/2B Toronto Blue Jays 12
Kyle Tucker OF Houston Astros 13
Taylor Trammell OF Cincinnati Reds 14
Keston Hiura 2B Milwaukee Brewers 15
Brendan Rodgers SS/2B Colorado Rockies 16
Sixto Sanchez RHP Miami Marlins 17
Cristian Pache OF Atlanta Braves 18
Carter Kieboom SS Washington Nationals 19
Luis Urias 2B/SS San Diego Padres 20
Casey Mize RHP Detroit Tigers 21
Joey Bart C San Francisco Giants 22
Austin Riley 3B Atlanta Braves 23
Keibert Ruiz C Los Angeles Dodgers 24
Pete Alonso 1B New York Mets 25
Brendan McKay LHP/1B Tampa Bay Rays 26
Michael Kopech RHP Chicago White Sox 27
Hunter Greene RHP Cincinnati Reds 28
Mitch Keller RHP Pittsburgh Pirates 29
Andres Gimenez SS New York Mets 30
Brent Honeywell RHP Tampa Bay Rays 31
Nick Madrigal 2B/SS Chicago White Sox 32
Jonathan India 3B/SS Cincinnati Reds 33
Sean Murphy C Oakland Athletics 34
Alex Verdugo OF Los Angeles Dodgers 35
A.J. Puk LHP Oakland Athletics 36
Matthew Liberatore LHP Tampa Bay Rays 37
Mike Soroka RHP Atlanta Braves 38
Nolan Gorman 3B St. Louis Cardinals 39
Ian Anderson RHP Atlanta Braves 40
Francisco Mejia C/OF San Diego Padres 41
Luis Robert OF Chicago White Sox 42
Dylan Cease RHP Chicago White Sox 43
Chris Paddack RHP San Diego Padres 44
Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B Pittsburgh Pirates 45
Vidal Brujan 2B Tampa Bay Rays 46
Touki Toussaint RHP Atlanta Braves 47
Brusdar Graterol RHP Minnesota Twins 48
Justus Sheffield LHP Seattle Mariners 49
Kyle Wright RHP Atlanta Braves 50
Yordan Alvarez OF Houston Astros 51
Alex Kirilloff OF Minnesota Twins 52
Jesus Sanchez OF Tampa Bay Rays 53
Yusei Kikuchi LHP Seattle Mariners 54
Yusniel Diaz OF Baltimore Orioles 55
Khalil Lee OF Kansas City Royals 56
Jarred Kelenic OF Seattle Mariners 57
Triston McKenzie RHP Cleveland Indians 58
Danny Jansen C Toronto Blue Jays 59
Jazz Chisholm SS Arizona Diamondbacks 60
Adrian Morejon LHP San Diego Padres 61
Griffin Canning RHP Los Angeles Angels 62
Dustin May RHP Los Angeles Dodgers 63
Luis Patino RHP San Diego Padres 64
Alec Bohm 3B Philadelphia Phillies 65
Estevan Florial OF New York Yankees 66
Jon Duplantier RHP Arizona Diamondbacks 67
DL Hall LHP Baltimore Orioles 68
Nate Pearson RHP Toronto Blue Jays 69
Josh James RHP Houston Astros 70
Drew Waters OF Atlanta Braves 71
Bryse Wilson RHP Atlanta Braves 72
Nolan Jones 3B Cleveland Indians 73
Gavin Lux SS/2B Los Angeles Dodgers 74
Travis Swaggerty OF Pittsburgh Pirates 75
Matt Manning RHP Detroit Tigers 76
Oneil Cruz SS Pittsburgh Pirates 77
Luis Garcia SS/3B Washington Nationals 78
Garrett Hampson 2B/SS Colorado Rockies 79
Adonis Medina RHP Philadelphia Phillies 80
Ryan Mountcastle 3B Baltimore Orioles 81
Kristian Robinson OF Arizona Diamondbacks 82
Brady Singer RHP Kansas City Royals 83
Monte Harrison OF Miami Marlins 84
Logan Allen LHP San Diego Padres 85
Nico Hoerner SS Chicago Cubs 86
Michel Baez RHP San Diego Padres 87
Isaac Paredes SS/2B Detroit Tigers 88
Victor Victor Mesa OF Miami Marlins 89
Trevor Larnach OF Minnesota Twins 90
Brandon Marsh OF Los Angeles Angels 91
Heliot Ramos OF San Francisco Giants 92
Brandon Lowe 2B/OF Tampa Bay Rays 93
Ronny Mauricio SS New York Mets 94
Will Smith C/3B Los Angeles Dodgers 95
MJ Melendez C Kansas City Royals 96
Dane Dunning RHP Chicago White Sox 97
Ronaldo Hernandez C Tampa Bay Rays 98
Hans Crouse RHP Texas Rangers 99
Jonathan Loaisiga RHP New York Yankees 100
Corbin Martin RHP Houston Astros 101
Cole Winn RHP Texas Rangers 102
Luiz Gohara LHP Atlanta Braves 103
Leody Taveras OF Texas Rangers 104
William Contreras C Atlanta Braves 105
Seuly Matias OF Kansas City Royals 106
Lucius Fox SS Tampa Bay Rays 107
Corey Ray OF Milwaukee Brewers 108
Spencer Howard RHP Philadelphia Phillies 109
Jahmai Jones 2B Los Angeles Angels 110
Jordyn Adams OF Los Angeles Angels 111
George Valera OF Cleveland Indians 112
J.B. Bukauskas RHP Houston Astros 113
Justin Dunn RHP Seattle Mariners 114
Michael Chavis 3B Boston Red Sox 115
Mark Vientos 3B New York Mets 116
Daz Cameron OF Detroit Tigers 117
Bubba Thompson OF Texas Rangers
Josh Naylor 1B/OF San Diego Padres 119
Colton Welker 3B Colorado Rockies 120
Daulton Varsho C Arizona Diamondbacks 121
Evan White 1B Seattle Mariners 122
Peter Lambert RHP Colorado Rockies 123
Taylor Widener RHP Arizona Diamondbacks 124
Julio Pablo Martinez OF Texas Rangers 125
Kevin Smith SS/3B Toronto Blue Jays 126
Miguel Amaya C Chicago Cubs 127
Andrew Knizner C St. Louis Cardinals 128
Tyler Nevin 1B Colorado Rockies 129
Hudson Potts 3B/1B San Diego Padres 130
Sandy Alcantara RHP Miami Marlins 131
Shane Baz RHP Tampa Bay Rays 132
Tyler Stephenson C Cincinnati Reds 133
Eric Pardinho RHP Toronto Blue Jays 134
Franklin Perez RHP Detroit Tigers 135
Jordan Groshans 3B/SS Toronto Blue Jays 136
Dakota Hudson RHP St. Louis Cardinals 137
Nate Lowe 1B Tampa Bay Rays 138
Elehuris Montero 3B St. Louis Cardinals 139
Luis Oviedo RHP Cleveland Indians 140
Tony Santillan RHP Cincinnati Reds 141
Triston Casas 1B/3B Boston Red Sox 142
Adbert Alzolay RHP Chicago Cubs 143
Ethan Hankins RHP Cleveland Indians 144
Beau Burrows RHP Detroit Tigers 145
Brice Turang SS Milwaukee Brewers 146
Brent Rooker 1B/OF Minnesota Twins 147
Alex Faedo RHP Detroit Tigers 148
Deivi Garcia RHP New York Yankees 149
Ryan Weathers LHP San Diego Padres 150


Tampa Bay Rays 2019 Preseason Top 10

Lucius Fox
Lucius Fox in AFL, Courtesy: Aaron Whelan

The Rays have made successful trades in recent years, dealing their “veteran” pitchers for quality young pieces like Shane Baz in the Chris Archer deal, and Lucius Fox in the Matt Moore deal. They have three players that are true elite talent, and arguably a fourth. If they have too many of one position, it is second base, but they are already trying some of those players at different positions. There is some depth in the system and top tier talent.


Player: Wander Franco
Position(s): SS Opening Day Age: 18 2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Switch Throws: Right Height:  5’10” Weight: 189 lbs.
Quick Report: Few players impressed as much in their pro debut as Wander Franco. He played 61 games at the Rookie level, hitting .351/.418/.587 with 11 home runs. He has bat speed and control that allow him to hit for good average and power despite his smaller frame, and he is an easy shortstop at the current time. There is a chance he grows out of the position to second or third, but he will spend the entire season at just 18 years old and could play himself as up to High A by the end of the season.


Player: Brendan McKay
Position(s): LHP/1B Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: High A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height:  6’2” Weight: 212 lbs.
Quick Report: Still a two-way prospect, McKay struggled some at the plate last season, hitting a combined .214 and just 6 home runs in 192 at-bats. That said, many still feel he has the potential to turn into a .300 hitter with 20-25 home run power. Meanwhile he was quite impressive on the mound, putting up an ERA of 2.41 and nearly 12 K/9 while only walking 1.6 per nine. His fastball gets into the mid-90s and is matched with a plus curve, above average cutter, and solid change. At this pace, McKay needs a good year at the plate to stay a two-way prospect, but he still has all the tools to do so.


Player: Brent Honeywell
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 23 2018 Highest Level: DNP
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height:  6’2” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: Honeywell missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, but he still features one of the most unique pitches in baseball. His screwball is one of legend and may have been the best secondary offering anyone saw in the 2017 Minor League season. He adds to that a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, both a curve and slider, and even has a plus change. As if all that wasn’t enough, he has better command than most pitchers. Had it not been for the injury, it may have been Honeywell tabbed to be the ace of the staff rather than eventual Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.


Player:  Matthew Liberatore
Position(s): LHP Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height:  6’5” Weight: 200 lbs.
Quick Report: Still a sophomore in high school when I first saw him throw in person, it was immediately clear Liberatore had something special. He was as polished a high school pitcher as you are gonna find when he came out of Mountain Ridge HS in Arizona last year, and he could develop four plus pitches. His fastball won’t light up radar guns, but he has good extension and it has good run, allowing it to play up. His change may be his best off-speed pitch even though his curve induces a ton of swing-and-miss. The slider is the newest and rawest of pitches, but it has flashed well, and he can spot all four pitches. Liberatore has the upside of becoming a solid number two starter.


Player: Vidal Brujan
Position(s): 2B Opening Day Age: 20 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Switch Throws: Right Height: 5’9” Weight: 155 lbs.
Quick Report: Second base is a position the Rays are incredibly deep with talent, but Brujan might be the most prototypical thanks to his small size. Due to the depth at the position, he will likely see some time at short and center to see if his elite speed can play at a more premium defensive position. He will never hit for much power, but he can certainly develop into a quality leadoff hitter. His bat is quick to the ball and he does a good job staying on top, giving him the upside of a .300 hitter. Overall, this may be the best $15,000 (his signing bonus in 2014) the Rays ever spent.


Player: Jesus Sanchez 
Position(s): OF Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 210 lbs.
Quick Report: Primarily a left fielder, Sanchez has the natural ability to get the job done in center or right if needed. He is still rather skinny, so he may lose some of the athleticism and become a true left field only guy, but the bat will play anywhere. He has a smooth stroke from the left side that provides natural loft and will hit plenty of line drive home runs and will turn into a doubles machine.


Player: Brandon Lowe
Position(s): 2B/OF Opening Day Age: 24 2018 Highest Level: MLB
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6’ Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: Lowe doesn’t have any true carrying tool, although power is as close to one as he has. The bat can be a bit long, but it has a good plane that allows him to drive the ball to all fields. Despite the length, it does get into the zone quickly, which will allow him to hit for a solid average. The position he plays is a big question, as he is a natural second baseman, but that is a position the Rays are loaded in. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but it may be just enough to play in right, and he has shown well in left, so there is definitely some defensive flexibility that will help his value.


Player: Ronaldo Hernandez
Position(s): C Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: Low A
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’1” Weight: 185 lbs.
Quick Report: A legitimate threat with the bat, it will be the defense that determines the true ceiling of Hernandez. At the plate he has an inconsistent swing, typically dependent on game situation and what he is looking to do at the plate. When the situation calls for it, he keeps the swing quiet and quick to the ball, at other times it gets long in an attempt to produce power. Power he has, likely a 20+ home run future, and a power arm, a true plus tool. His receiving and footwork are works in progress and I doubt he ever becomes an above average defender, but average would be more than enough to make him an impact player.


Player: Lucius Fox
Position(s): SS Opening Day Age: 21 2018 Highest Level: AA
Bats: Switch Throws: Right Height: 6’1” Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: The key prospect in the trade that sent Matt Moore to the Bay, Fox impressed with his incredible athleticism and defensive ability that will surely keep him up the middle. Chances are he sticks at short, but there is still a chance he ends up having to move to center. His bat is going to be the deciding factor on his future impact, which has been unimpressive until this season’s AFL. He really broke out with the bat against pitching that had a good bit more elite arms than recent years. There will never be much power, but if he can make better contact, he could become a quality leadoff man.


Player: Shane Baz
Position(s): RHP Opening Day Age: 19 2018 Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: Right Throws: Right Height: 6’3” Weight: 190 lbs.
Quick Report: Selected 12th overall in 2019 by the Pirates, many were surprised to hear Baz announced as the PTBNL in the Chris Archer trade. He is still incredibly raw and will have to show well this Spring to ensure a full season debut out of camp, but he has all the upside one could want. His fastball bets up into the upper 90s out of the 3/4 cross-body slot. There is some effort to his delivery, but he also creates some deception by varying his leg kick both in the windup and stretch. He has a cutting slider that flirts with the 90 MPH mark, and a curve that has flashed plus. His change is by far his fourth best pitch, but it has shown potential of being at least average. His command is a real concern, and it may limit his ceiling. He has the upside of a number two or three starter, but the fear with the effort and command is he may end up being a bullpen arm, but a late inning bullpen arm.

Others of Note:

Nathaniel Lowe – 1B – 23 – AAA
Moises Gomez – OF – 20 – Low A
Nick Solak – 2B/OF – 23 – AA
Shane McClanahan – LHP – 21 – Rookie