The Detroit Tigers Have Top Prospects. Now What?
The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays
Prospects (BA/MLB): Evan Longoria (2/2), David Price (10/11), Jake McGee (15/20), Wade Davis (17/12), Reid Brignac (39/32), Desmond Jennings (59/NA), Jeff Niemann (99/NA)
The Tampa Bay Rays were no stranger to strong farm systems, in part because they were also quite familiar with picking high in the draft. The 2007 season was Tampa’s 10th as a franchise, and to that point the team had never won more than 70 games in a season. But the 2008 prospect class was their best yet, and it helped kick off a run of success that extends to this day. The 2008 Rays shocked the world by going 97-65 and making it all the way to the World Series, with prospects Evan Longoria and David Price making big contributions.
The Rays made the playoffs three more times over the next five years, with Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann providing average starting pitching, Jake McGee helping in the bullpen, and Desmond Jennings capably taking over in the outfield when Carl Crawford left. Even Reid Brignac managed to sneak in one solid season in an otherwise disappointing career. But as is almost always the case, this group slowly moved on to other locations. Davis was traded to Kansas City in a huge deal that brought back Jake Odorizzi and Wil Myers, while McGee was moved to Colorado for Corey Dickerson. Brignac left, Niemann and Jennings both saw injuries derail their careers, and the Rays traded David Price to Detroit in 2014, landing their current shortstop Willy Adames. Longoria lasted the longest, sticking in Tampa through the 2017 season. This group didn’t win a World Series, but they won an awful lot of games and gave Rays fans plenty to celebrate.