Tampa Bay Rays: Update on Their Top 5 Prospects
Last month, we checked in on their progress in the Rays' system after the first month of the season, and it's about time for the next monthly update.
Here's the current status of the Rays' top five minor league prospects.
After a poor start to the 2012 season, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee seems to be on the right track with a good start to the month of June.
Lee, considered the Rays' top position player prospect at the moment, has put up a .245/.313/.320 line with 16 RBI and stolen bases (caught seven times) for Double-A Montgomery this season. Obviously the offensive numbers don't meet expectations, but he has started to turn up the heat in the past couple of weeks. In the last 10 games, Lee has hit .333 and blasted a pair of home runs (his only homers of the season).
Defensively, it's also been a struggle for Lee this year. He has put up a .948 fielding percentage at short, which would be the worst in his career with the Rays' organization if it doesn't improve.
After a poor start to the season, Archer seemed to heading in the right direction with a much better month of May. He won the International League Pitcher of the Week award in the month's second week, and ended the month 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA. But unfortunately for Archer and the Rays, the young right-hander is faltering again this month as his rather disappointing season continues.
Archer has posted a 3-8 record with an ERA of 5.04 for Triple-A Durham this season, and his command issues are a huge reason why. Although he strikes out plenty of batters, he also walks a bunch, averaging 5.2 walks per nine innings. It's a ratio that's going to need to improve if he wants to earn a big league promotion any time soon.
Beckham has been a disappointment for the Rays ever since he was drafted first overall in the 2008 MLB Draft, and the 2012 season has been no exception. After playing the first 13 games of the season with Triple-A Durham, the 22-year-old shortstop was suspended 50 games for drug use (marijuana).
The suspension seriously hurt his chances of a late-season promotion to the majors, which the Rays were looking forward to before the season started. He began the season hitting just .204/.290/.278 with four RBI and no homers.
Beckham could return to action later this month.
Drafted out of LSU in the first round of last year's Draft, outfielder Mikie Mahtook has had a consistently solid first year in the Rays' system.
He's put up a .275/.327/.365 line and knocked in 25 runs after 59 games with Class A Advanced Charlotte. His power—which was displayed throughout his college career—has yet to blossom at the professional level, as Mahtook has gone yard just twice (14 extra-base hits on the year).
His plus speed, however, has been impressive this season. Mahtook has stolen 13 bases and has been caught just four times.
On the defensive side of things, Mahtook has split time between right field and center field. He has committed three errors and thrown out six runners thus far.
Another young exciting arm in the Rays' organization, 19-year-old right-hander Taylor Guerrieri has yet to throw a pitch at the professional level. Guerreri—who was also drafted by the Rays in the first round last summer—began the season in extended spring training, and will join Rookie League Princeton to big his journey through the minors.
Guerrieri is scheduled to join Princeton as part of their rotation next week, when the Appalachian League's season starts.