Rays place three on Top 100 Prospects list
Odorizzi ranked No. 56; Lee, Guerrieri also recognized by MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi, Hak-Ju Lee and Taylor Guerrieri represent the Rays on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list that was announced Thursday night on MLB Network.
The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2014.
Tampa Bay's three representatives on the list give the club 69 "prospect points," a total that comes from each spot being assigned a point value, with No. 1 getting 100, No. 2 getting 99, and so forth. The Astros topped the list with a total of 439 points and the Angels finished last at 30th with no points, with the Rays' 69 points good for No. 26.
Odorizzi was Tampa Bay's highest-ranked prospect at No. 56. The 23-year-old came to the Rays from the Royals, along with outfielder Wil Myers, left-hander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard, in a December 2012 trade for right-handers James Shields and Wade Davis and a player to be named, Elliot Johnson.
Odorizzi split his first year in the organization between Triple-A Durham and the Major Leagues. He had five stints with Tampa Bay, going 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in seven appearances, four of which were starts. Odorizzi posted a 9-6 mark with a 3.33 ERA in 22 starts for the Bulls.
Currently, Odorizzi finds himself in a state of limbo. What happens to him in 2014 could be largely contingent on what happens with David Price. If Price is traded, Odorizzi would be the favorite for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. If Price stays, Odorizzi will be in contention to be in the rotation, but an injury would likely have to occur for him to bust through.
After playing in just 15 games in 2013 before tearing ligaments in his left knee, Lee came in ranked as the No. 84 prospect. Farm director Mitch Lukevics recently said that Lee is recovering well and should be ready for Spring Training.
"Everything's expected for him to start the season, but there's a lot of offseason left," Lukevics said. "We're very encouraged with Hak and have our fingers crossed, because he's a key component for our organization."
The Rays acquired Lee along with right-hander Chris Archer, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielders Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer, from the Cubs for right-hander Matt Garza, left-hander Zach Rosscup and outfielder Fernando Perez on Jan. 8, 2011.
Guerrieri came in as the No. 94-ranked prospect after the right-hander had, to say the least, a difficult season.
Prior to 2013, Guerrieri had been considered the organization's top prospect, earning him the No. 28 overall prospect on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list last season. Then he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in July and missed the remainder of the season.
Capping off his year, Guerrieri received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Guerrieri was Tampa Bay's first-round Draft pick in 2011. He went 1-2 with a 1.04 ERA in a dozen starts in '12 to help Class A Short-Season Hudson Valley win the New York-Penn League championship. Last season, Guerrieri earned Midwest League Pitcher of the Week honors on May 13 and was selected to the 2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field in July, but he did not participate.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.