Red Sox vs the AL East: farm systems

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Jun 10, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays first round draft pick and first baseman Casey Gillaspie talks with the media before the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. Tampa Bay Rays 

Notable Prospects: Daniel Robertson, Willy Adames, Steven Souza, Casey Gillaspie, Taylor Guerrieri

While I’ve long finished the rankings for the best teams in the AL East this season, I decided to come back for one more segment and profile which teams are best-suited for the future. And while the Rays did finish second on the major league side on the strength of their starting pitching, the outlook for their future isn’t quite so rosy.

The Rays don’t have much prospect depth, nor do they have much in the way of elite talent, though they’ve been making their best effort to acquire some in recent months. Robertson, acquired in the Ben Zobrist trade this offseason, represents the Rays’ top prospect and, after hitting .310/.402/.471 in High-A Stockton, is one of the better shortstop prospects in baseball. And the 19-year old Adames, who came to Tampa Bay by way of the David Price trade, is an intriguing young talent who slashed .271/.353/.429 in his first exposure to full-season baseball last season. Finally, the Rays acquired Souza, who hit a remarkable .350/.432/.590 with 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases in Triple-A last season, in the Wil Myers deal and will likely plug him into right field for the major league squad this year.

Outside of those three, the Rays still have some high-upside talent in former first-round selections in Guerrieri (2011) and Gillaspie (2014), but their draft success hasn’t been impeccable as their first-rounders in 2012 (Richie Shaffer) and 2013 (Nick Ciuffo and Ryne Stanek) have largely disappointed. The Rays may get some major league talent out of this crop, but there’s little in the way of high-impact talent outside of Adames.