The Tampa Bay Rays have the distinct disadvantage of a smaller market — but it means they are forced to turn out star prospects in droves, and are growing one of the most impressive farm systems in the league.
It’s no secret that, thanks in large part to market disparity, some teams are made to develop their own talent in-system rather than buy already-proven talent off of the free agent market. The Tampa Bay Rays are one such team that has had limited success in attracting free agents, but has made a significant impact in the baseball landscape through prospect development.
Director of Minor League Operations for Tampa Bay, Mitch Lukevics, said recently in an interview that Tampa Bay depends on scouting and player development more than any team in baseball because they don’t have the luxury of buying players to fix errors.
Though a small market is typically considered as a large disadvantage to a winning culture, the Rays have the potential to overturn this stereotype through an impressive farm system that has been in development for years. Planning for the future just might pay off for Kevin Cash’s team.
The Rays are on the come-up in Major League Baseball despite this disadvantage when compared to some of baseball’s bigger teams. Since their most recent playoff appearance back in 2013, they have had an eye for the future, stockpiling draft picks and making a huge impact via international prospect signings.
Now, with one of the very best farm systems in baseball, the Rays are on the hunt for success. With a deep farm system and major league roster, supplemented with elite talents on both sides of the ball, the Rays look like a talented team for years to come.
There are quite a few prospects that could make their way into the big leagues this year to help the Rays on their road to the playoffs. Let’s break down some of the most likely candidates.