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Pitcher Shane Baz leads five Rays among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects

Outfielder Josh Lowe, Durham’s MVP last season, is the next highest-ranked Ray at No. 44.
Right-handed pitcher Shane Baz, at No. 8, was the top-ranked Ray in Baseball America's top 100 prospects for 2022.
Right-handed pitcher Shane Baz, at No. 8, was the top-ranked Ray in Baseball America's top 100 prospects for 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jan. 19|Updated Jan. 19

ST. PETERSBURG — After graduating last year’s unanimous No. 1 Wander Franco and three others to the majors, the Rays have five more prospects among Baseball America’s Top 100 for 2022 that was released Wednesday.

Right-handed pitcher Shane Baz, who finished last season in Tampa Bay’s playoff rotation, is the top-ranked Ray at No. 8. He did not make the Top 100 list entering the 2021 season, during which he went 5-4 with a 2.06 ERA between Double- and Triple-A, and 2-0, 2.03 in three regular-season starts for the Rays.

There is a bit of a dropoff after that, as the next highest-ranked Ray is outfielder Josh Lowe, their Durham MVP, at No. 44.

Lowe is followed by infielder-outfielder Vidal Brujan at No. 56, right-hander Taj Bradley at No. 58 and infielder Curtis Mead at 97. Only Brujan, who had a strong season at Triple-A and struggled during his brief time in the majors, was ranked last season, when he was No. 56.

Bradley, a fifth-round pick in 2018 from Georgia’s Redan High, was the highest riser after a 2021 breakout season when he went 12-3 between Class A Charleston and Bowling Green with a minors-leading 1.83 ERA.

Mead, an Australian acquired in a minor trade with the Phillies in November 2019, also played his way onto the list. He hit .321 with 15 homers, 69 RBIs and a .911 OPS between Class A and Triple-A last season before a strong Arizona Fall League showing.

The Rays were one of eight teams to have five players ranked; the Diamondbacks and Pirates each had six.

The 2021 ranked Rays after Franco were outfielder Randy Arozarena, No. 17; right-hander Luis Patino, No. 23; Brujan; and lefty Shane McClanahan, No. 100.

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