The MLB season is just around the corner, and teams are releasing their 60 man rosters. The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the best farm systems in the league and consistently have an influx of young players on the roster. This year is no different.
The Rays have the most players on MLB’s Pipeline Top 100 list, a comprehensive list of baseball’s best prospects, with a total of six. Of those six, four feature in the Rays’ roster. This is part one of a four part series about those players. We’re starting with the lowest ranked and going up from there.
Scouting Grades (20-80)
- Fastball: 70
- Curveball: 45
- Slider: 65
- Changeup: 50
- Control: 45
- Overall: 55
Coming in at number 90 is pitcher Shane Baz. He projects to make the playing roster two years from now, but has made strides in recent seasons. His best pitch is his fastball, as it has been for years.
Drafted in 2017 out of high school by the Pirates, Baz started his career with a nasty, but uncontrolled, two-seam fastball. He was an addition in the Chris Archer trade, and immediately began plying his trade within the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization.
He traded out his two-seamer for a four-seamer that ended up with more control and higher velocity, usually hovering in the mid-90’s. His fastball also hits triple digits on occasion.
He diversified his tool set as well. He now throws a slider in the high 80’s that buckles batters. His curveball leaves a lot to be desired when he throws it, which isn’t often. In the last season, Baz began utilizing a changeup that has potential to become yet another tool.
The most important thing to note is Baz’s improvement. Since joining the Tampa Bay Rays, Baz has improved drastically. Through just one season with the organization, he threw over a walk less per nine innings, and his WHIP dropped by 0.4.
At this point, Baz still has a lot of work to do before joining the big league club. But, he has shown major improvement over a short period of time, making him not just a top Rays’ prospect, but also one of the better MLB prospects.
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