Baseball America has revealed the top prospects for the Blue Jays, Orioles and Red Sox thus far. The AL East continues on with the Rays released Monday.
Tampa Bay plans to slash payroll from $72 million to $60 million or lower, and will have to rely on the farm to do that. Fortunately, a rich farm system gives the Rays options, including ace prospect Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellickson (pictured) made his major-league debut in 2010, posting a 3.47 ERA in four starts and six relief appearances at age 23 after dominating Triple-A. His presence will allow Tampa to trade one of its more expensive starters (James Shields?) for a bat, as the offense will have to be remade.
Outfielder Desmond Jennings appears to be the heir to Carl Crawford in left field, although Jennings won't have as much an impact as Hellickson will -- at least not immediately. Jennings, the 2009 top prospect that slipped to third in the rankings this year, didn't impress in a September callup by hitting .190 and the 23-year-old most decidedly did not dominate Triple-A with a line of .278/.362/.393.
Sandwiched between Hellickson and Jennings is lefty Matt Moore, who tore apart high-Class A and is a potential future ace. The 21-year-old should spend all of 2011 at Double-A.
1. Jeremy Hellickson, rhp
2. Matt Moore, lhp
3. Desmond Jennings, of
4. Jake McGee, lhp
5. Josh Sale, of
6. Alex Torres, lhp
7. Alex Colome, rhp
8. Justin O'Conner, c
9. Drew Vettleson, of
10. Jake Thompson, rhp
-- Evan Brunell
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