2020 was a big year for Willy Adames. Has he been able to save his job as the starting Tampa Bay Rays shortstop with a top prospect waiting in the wings?
The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the major pleasant surprises in MLB this year as they now lead the AL East with about two weeks left to play in the regular season. One of their biggest contributors this season has been shortstop Willy Adames who, at just 25-years-old, came into 2020 facing a crossroads.
The Rays are a franchise known mostly for their pitching. And what this team has been able to do on the mound this season despite the multitude of injuries their staff has faced just goes to show you how deep this organization is in its pitching depth.
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But what goes under-the-radar about the Rays is the fact that they have the number one prospect in all of baseball waiting in the wings in shortstop Wander Franco, a switch hitter.
Franco is just 19-years-old at the moment, but he is projected to be brought up some time in 2021, making him an extremely fats riser in the Rays organization. The problem the Rays now face is what to do with Willy Adames, still just 25.
That’s what made 2020 such a big year for Adames because he has the number one prospect in the game lurking behind him, ready to come up next year. But at the same time, Adames has a lot of game left to be played in his young career.
Adames is not making this decision easy on the Rays. It would’ve been one thing had Adames continued along the lines of being a mid .260s hitter. But Adames has actually been one of the major leaders of this Rays ball club in 2020.
For most of 2020, Adames has been hitting in the upper .290s with an OPS in the mid 900s. Not only that, but according to Baseball Savant, Adames is in the 75th percentile in hard-hit percentage and 64th percentile in exit velocity.