Rays' trade haul brings in four talented prospects
The Rays acquired the following four players on Sunday night in a deal with the Royals that sent James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named to Kansas City.
Wil Myers, OF: Myers, ranked No. 3 on MLB's Top 100 Prospects list and No. 1 on the Royals' Top 20 at the time of the trade, was arguably the best hitting prospect in the Minor Leagues. He appears ready for his first big league shot. Initially drafted as a catcher, Myers moved to the outfield after one year behind the plate and he should fit the mold of a run-producing right fielder in the very near future. He completely erased a subpar 2011 season, compounded by a knee injury, with a huge 2012 campaign that saw him split time between Double-A and Triple-A and play in his second straight All-Star Futures Game. Between the two levels, Myers finished second in the Minors in home runs, fourth in RBIs and third in slugging. He has outstanding bat speed that will allow him to hit for average and power, and he's an on-base machine, as evidenced by his career .395 OBP.
Jake Odorizzi, RHP: Odorizzi was No. 30 on MLB's Top 100 Prospects list and No. 3 on the Royals' Top 20. This is the second time Odorizzi has been traded; he originally was drafted by the Brewers before being shipped to Kansas City in the Zack Greinke deal. The 2012 Futures Game starter shows four pitches that have the chance to be average or better. He can get his fastball up to 95 mph, sitting in the 92-93 mph range with plenty of sink. His curve can be plus at times, he has an above-average slider and his changeup grades out as average. He tends to be around the plate, though his walk rate did go up a touch in 2012 and he can refine his overall command within the strike zone. Odorizzi did make his big league debut in September 2012 and with a career 3.50 ERA and 9.2 K/9 ratio, he should be ready to step into the Rays rotation from the get-go.
Mike Montgomery, LHP: Montgomery, the Royals' No. 6 prospect, has seen his star fade a bit of late. Once thought to be one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in the game, Montgomery has scuffled more often than not for the past two seasons. Command issues have largely been the culprit as he walked 4.1 per nine in 2011 and 3.8 in 2012, along with allowing 10.8 hits per nine this past season. As much as he's struggled, Montgomery's pure stuff gives the Rays plenty to work with. He still has the potential to have three plus pitches to choose from. He moved backward in 2012, getting demoted from Triple- to Double-A, but if the Rays can help him regain his form, the 23-year-old southpaw still has plenty of time to jump up prospects lists everywhere.
Patrick Leonard, 3B: A product of the Craig Biggio-coached St. Thomas High School program in Texas, Leonard got an above-slot deal to sign instead of heading to the University of Georgia. His pro debut in 2012 -- he signed too late in 2011 to play -- was a solid one, especially in terms of showing glimpses of his power potential. He tied for the Appalachian League lead in home runs while finishing eighth in slugging percentage. While he may never be a high average guy, it does look like he'll make consistent contact to reach that power in the future. Leonard was a shortstop under Biggio in high school, but has moved over to third base and it looks like that might be a good fit for him long-term, profiling as the kind of run-producing corner infielder teams covet.