Ranking the Tampa Bay Rays’ Top 10 Prospects Heading into 2014

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Ranking the Tampa Bay Rays' Top 10 Prospects Heading into 2014

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Trade rumors and whispers of transactions always surround Major League Baseball teams during this time of the offseason. The Tampa Bay Rays are certainly no exception to this rule. Some wonder who they will bring in to be their closer while others wonder when and if David Price will be traded and to whom? For the Rays that stuff matters a little less because of their amazingly strong farm system and top minor league prospects.

What will follow is the ranking of the current top 10 prospects for the Rays. Some of them have already spent a week or two in the bigs thanks to September call-ups while others are right on the edge of getting their chance. One thing remains constant in this minor league system above all else: If a prospect is ranked high in the Rays system, it can almost be guaranteed that the prospect will be a good one.

Some of these players are the reason Rays fans don’t have to stress over Price trade rumors. Some of them are the reason that they don’t need to worry who will play first base in a year or two or what their options will be in the outfield if so and so gets hurt. All in all they are ten of the most talented prospects in the game and are guaranteed to not be prospects for long. Without further delay, here are the Rays top 10 prospects.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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10 – Drew Vettleson

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Vettleson was once a switch-pitcher if you can believe that but currently is a promising outfielder for the Rays. With a little work left on his hitting approach he is eyeing somewhere around 2015 for an MLB debut.

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9 – Richie Shaffer

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Shaffer has the unfortunate fate of being a third baseman in the Rays system. With Longoria hanging around quite nicely at the big league level, it’s a good thing that Shaffer also can play first base. With somewhat limited range it might actually suit him better to eventually sit in at first.

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8 – Mike Montgomery

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Montgomery is just coming off of a very nice Fall League performance that might put the solid pitcher in position to get a spring training look for a starting spot sometime during 2014. More than likely it would not be right out of camp though.

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7 – Nick Ciuffo

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 21st overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Ciuffo has an extremely good chance to emerge as one of the top catchers in baseball within the next five years. He has the tools offensively that just need to mature and he has the added distinction of throwing right handed and batting from the left side of the plate like Brian McCann. It will be a few years but there is every reason to believe that he will be bursting onto the scene with purpose when he does get that chance.

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6 – Blake Snell

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With a plus fastball and what could very well be a plus slider as well, Snell has all the tools to be a superstar at the big league level. He is still a few years away and has some work to do but he has all of the tools to put together an impressive big league bunch of pitches.

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5 – Enny Ramero

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ramero got a chance to start a game in the bigs in 2013 and went 4.2 one-hit innings and gave up zero earned runs. That proves that his upper-90’s fastball is only a jumping off place. He has the repertoire to be a solid star at baseball’s biggest level.

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4 – Alex Colome

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Colome was given three starts to prove himself at the big league level during the 2013 season and did not disappoint. In those three starts he had a 2.25 ERA and struck out 12 batters in 16 innings pitched. If that doesn’t show that he is ready for a shot at the big-time I don’t know what is.

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3 – Hak-Ju Lee

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hak-Ju Lee, out of South Korea, is one of those players that can have an extremely special career if everything goes well for him. He is very good in the outfield and has a ton of speed and base running ability. The only question is whether he will develop into a good hitter or not. He is a very good talent right now but if he does hit he could be great.

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2 – Jake Odorizzi

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Odorizzi has four solid pitches to bring to the MLB level one day soon. Actually that day came in 2013 when he had four starts with a 3.94 ERA. He has a fastball, curve, slider and changeup and knows how to use them. Look for him to get a close shot in 2014.

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1 – Taylor Guerrieri

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The term plus fastball is thrown all over the place about minor league pitches but Guerrieri earns that label on his big pitch. It not only tops out at a nice rate of speed but it also carries some natural sink to it as well. A curve and changeup have two or three years to develop and when they do this kid could be something extra-special.

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