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A Tampa Bay Rays Blog: Ball on a Budget

Updated: 2018-01-21T10:00:02-05:00


MLB Pipeline names Brendan McKay as top 1B prospect in baseball



Brendan McKay is really good at this baseball thing.

He had already been named as the fifth best left hand pitching prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Now McKay has now also been rated as the number one first base prospect in the game.

The number three overall selection in the 2017 draft, McKay is pursuing career paths both on the mound and at first base.

Prior to the draft, several scouts had rated McKay as the top college bat available and MLB Pipeline has his hit tool as the best among the prospect class of first baseman. McKay was also given the best arm as well, which is unsurprising given his ability to throw a ball 90+ mph when need be.

MLB Pipeline stated McKay had the highest ceiling among the crop of first basemen as well.

He’s tied for the highest hit tool AND has a 50 power grade, with a very, very good chance of reaching, if not surpassing, that in terms of production. And if he starts focusing only on hitting eventually? Look out.

During the 2017 season, McKay played in 42 games games for the Hudson Valley Renegades. Six of those games were his days on the mound. In the remaining 36 games he hit .232/.349/.376 with 4 HR. He had a 14.1 BB% and 22.1 K% over 149 plate appearances.

Evan Longoria debuted his Giants jersey and we have feelings


New team, new number. This moment has been inevitable since the day the Rays made the bombshell announcement they would be trading Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants. At the time of the trade, Longoria was in offseason mode, heading to Europe for a vacation with his wife, so fans got to delay the agony of seeing him in a new jersey for a few more weeks. On Friday, the official reveal was finally made, as Longoria participated in his first public press conference with the Giants, debuting his brand new jersey. Since the number 3 jersey has been retired for Hall of Famer Bill Terry, Longo will be sporting the number 10 with San Francisco. This is... so wrong. Evan Longoria will wear number 10 for #SFGiants— John Dickinson (@JDJohnDickinson) January 19, 2018 Stats Stats Notes: Rutherford showed well vs both LHP .293/.348/.451 and RHP .250/.321/.441. Interesting Comparison: Didi Gregorius It was a challenge to find the right fit in this comparison, to be honest, but Gregorius seems to have a lot of the same outcomes at the level and matches Rutherford in size, even if Gregorius has added more weight as he’s matured. Just as with Rutherford, Gregorius doesn’t have plus speed on the bases and lacks above-average power to this point, but projects to have more as he gains strength. Both had wRC+ just over 100 at the rk level (101 for Gregorius and 107 for Rutherford) with similar wOBA (.346 for Gregorius and .349 for Rutherford). Rutherford, just as with Gregorius, is likely to get a look at some point at either or both 2B and 3B, and seemingly has the skills to handle either. Of course, Gregorius played the level at 19 yrs old while Rutherford played it at 21 yrs old, but that also helps account for Rutherford’s better ISO (.179 to .074). Rutherford would have to surprise many to reach Gregorius’ levels going forward, but it’s still an interesting comparison. Notes for 2018 and beyond There’s a lot to like about Zach Rutherford, and it all begins with one thing you notice when researching him and watch him play: he doesn’t have a major weakness and does everything well. Now, to some that will seem very boring and leave you wanting for more, but for most it’s a reassuring aspect of his profile that provides for a high floor in terms of outcomes. In truth, most likely Rutherford was still available for the Rays in the sixth round because of what some scouts deemed his “unorthodox” throwing motion and swing at the plate. He’s proved them wrong thus far, even showing more power early on than anticipated, and in doing so has put himself on some radars as one to watch in 2018. And as a long-time Vladimir Guerrero fan, I can tell you that sometimes unorthodox is a very good thing. The Rays have so many infield options in the lower part of the minors that it’s hard to tell exactly where Rutherford will begin the season. As a solid college selection, however, you can expect him to challenge for a role on the Bowling Green team where he may get exposed to various positions in an effort to increase his versatility. Being able to man several positions within the infield would help increase his chances of making it onto an MLB roster. That’s not to say that Rutherford doesn’t have the skills to be a full-time player, as he’s talented enough to do so. Rutherford will be aiming to take his game up a notch this season. The opportunity to play a full professional season will allow him to convince us that the 2017 power numbers were not just an unsustainable flash in the pan but a new tool in his arsenal. Zach Rutherford: Spotlight Videos src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Recap and links of previously listed DRB T[...]