Isaac, Curet, Simpson star on intriguing High-A Rays squad

April 27, 2024

The Tampa Bay Rays never seem to have a shortage of premium prospects, and FSS Plus analyst Joe Doyle is certainly on it in his preseason Top 100 MLB prospects list, with six players from the AL East system making the cut.

Two of those six came to this writer’s neck of the woods this past week when the Bowling Green Hot Rods with appearances by Xavier Isaac (67) and Brayden Taylor (80), but unfortunately Taylor didn’t play in our look thanks to what appears to be nothing more than a day off.

With a relatively dominant pitching performance by the opposing Hudson Valley Renegades, there isn’t too much in the way to share video-wise from this trip, but we do have some Isaac BP below for you, plus a long look at one of the Rays more higher-upside arms, Dominican-born righty Yoniel Curet.

Xavier Isaac, 1B — (No. 4 FSS Plus prospect)

Isaac was the Rays first-rounder back in 2022, and has done little since then to alter his stock as a consensus Top 100 prospect in the game. He’s surprisingly athletic for his 6-foot-4, 240-pound listed size and typically draws solid grades as a defender as well, although he’s obviously limited to first base given his frame. His profile is one that, as you’d expect, is led by the power tool, and there’s even more value there as a lefty bat.

Yoniel Curet, RHP (No. 8)

Curet is on the Rays 40-man roster and has reportedly been up to 98 MPH in the past on the radar gun. On a colder day earlier in the season in New York state, it was more 93-95, but he still showed his plus slider at times that’s helped carry him up the prospect charts ever since signing as an IFA back in 2019.

Chandler Simpson, OF (No. 19)

Simpson is universally considered to have 80-speed. He’s also universally considered to have 20 power. His stat line this season is shocking, with not a single extra-base hit; he’s hitting .383 with five RBI and already has 18 stolen bases. There’s a “just get on base however it looks” approach here for the former Georgia Tech star, as he knows it’s his legs that’ll make the difference.

Cooper Kinney, INF

Kinney is, in some circles a Top 30 Rays prospect, albeit not at FSS Plus. The No. 34 pick back in 2021, the infielder is a more well-rounded player who most considered to be a bat-first profile. Most seem him moving off of the middle of the infield to perhaps a corner outfield spot given a fringy arm and below-average speed, so he’ll need to keep hitting to continue to move up the ladder and force a decision on where he’ll end up in the field.

Mike Ashmore
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