By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
MLB Pipeline changed its 2017 prospect watch lists with the midseason update earlier this week.
With the realignment of the Tampa Bay Rays’ top-30 prospects, five current members of the Charlotte Stone Crabs are now on the list.
The top-rated Stone Crabs player is recently-promoted No. 12 Lucius Fox. The 20-year-old shortstop is considered one of the better athletes in the Rays’ organization, who also possesses “plus-plus speed” and the tools to “become a leadoff hitter and prolific basestealer” in the major leagues.
“Fox’s range, quick hands and arm fit easily at shortstop,” MLB Pipeline writes. “Some scouts don’t love his middle-infield actions and think he’ll fit better in center field, though the Rays, much like the Giants, believe he can stay at short, lauding his ability to learn quickly.”
Cracking the top-30 for the first time is No. 19 Brandon Lowe, whose sensational season has made him a bonafide prospect. The left-handed-hitting second baseman has the kind of pop which is projected to turn him into a power-hitting big leaguer.
Also making his debut on the list is No. 17 Brock Burke. The 20-year-old left-handed pitcher has earned attention with his ability to throw strikes.
His 6-foot-4 frame goes along with his 94 MPH fastball and strong secondary pitches in his slider and changeup.
“The stuff is plenty good, however, and club officials believe his stuff will continue to trend in the right direction, with some pegging him as a future No. 4 starter,” MLB Pipeline said.
Ryan Boldt moves up five spots to No. 25 in the midseason update.
Fielding and running are Boldt’s highest rated tools to go along with a strong bat, as well.
His ability to play all three outfield positions could help him see time as a fourth or fifth outfielder in the beginning of his MLB career.
Rounding out the top-30 for Stone Crabs is third baseman Kevin Padlo. Dropping from No. 19 to No. 29 in the update, an injury-ridden first half has stopped his progression this season.
But of all the Stone Crabs, Padlo is the only one who projects to make it to the Majors in 2018, rather than 2019.
Other players of note is No. 16 Genesis Cabrera, who began the season with Charlotte. Brent Honeywell jumped Willy Adames as the Rays’ No. 1 prospect. Also, newly-drafted Brendan McKay makes his debut on the list at No. 3, while Jose De Leon drops to No. 6.