Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Few Rays Rumblings

Here are just a couple Rays related pieces I found yesterday.

First, Rob Neyer continues to rank the best position players, under 30, for the next 5 years on his blog. This week he focuses on left fielders. Neyer points out, correctly, that the crop of good, young left fielders is pretty slim. That forces him to include a couple of players who are over 30(Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano). Last year the top rated player based on OPS+ was Matt Holliday, but that doesn't mean he'll be the best in 2012...that would be Carl Crawford according to Mr. Neyer.

He goes on to say this about Crawford:

"You have to like Crawford, but it's worth mentioning that he has not showed a normal growth curve. At 22, he was roughly six wins better than a replacement player ... and was roughly six wins better than a replacement player at 23, 24, and 25. I'm not sure what to make of that, except there's no obvious reason to think he's suddenly going to become a great player (though I do believe he'll have a few great seasons)."

That's a back handed compliment, but I'll take it.

Neyer couldn't compile a top 10 list, so he did a top 7.

1. Crawford
2. Braun
3. Holliday
4. Soriano
5. Bay
6. Kubel
7. ????

He leaves the last spot open for the star prospects who change poistions and end up in left Ryan Braun.

I think it's a pretty big compliment to have Crawford ranked number one over Ryan Braun. Braun is making the switch to left field this season and if he remains there I think he's going to far outshine Crawford in most offensive statistics. Maybe Neyer is waiting to see Braun duplicate his 2007 success before he ranks Braun at the top?

Next, Keith Law lists his top prospects by organization in his blog.

Here are the Rays top 5:

1. Evan Longoria
2. Desmond Jennings
3. Wade Davis
4. David Price
5. Jake McGee

The biggest surprise is Jennings number 2 ranking. He just completed his first season in A ball. I hope Mr. Law is right in his rankings, I'd love to see Jennings manning the outfield with Crawford and Upton, if that's possible.