A Graphic Look at the Window to Win: Tampa Bay Rays

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Just in time for prospect season, we take a look at the idea of "windows" and a team's prime time to win. Inspired by what seems to be a once every three years rebuild for the Oakland Athletics, is there going to be a time where all their premier prospects hit and they'll have the best chance to win? Here we present the pleasures of trying to maximize production during one's service time.

Eleventh in the series, we look at the Tampa Bay Rays. Ranked 7th overall by John Sickels, they have 1 A-rated prospects and 12 B-rated prospects. Keith Law sees them much higher in his organizational rankings released last week putting them at #2 overall. Here's what he had to say:

If you favor ceiling over probability, you could make a strong argument for having the Rays ahead of the Padres, based on the fact that this system could quite easily produce six to eight players who end up as grade-60 players or better in the majors. After that first tier, however, there's a lot less probability here than there was a year or two ago, and several executives from other clubs pointed out that the Rays have a gap in their prospect pipeline coming up that will be filled only if some of their 2011 draft picks move faster than anticipated.

Aside from LHP Matt Moore ranked at #3, SS Ha-Ju Lee is #12 in Keith Law's top 25.

This Rays graphic is slightly different than the others since they clearly are within a window to win. The question for them is how long this stays open for them?

Going back to the Sickels rankings, the Rays have both 6 B-rated position and 6-B-rated pitching prospects which should be making their debut by the 2014 season, highlighted by SS Ha-Ju Lee in 2014. Here's what their 2012 lineup looks like:

*New acquisition, Current roster info from MLB Depth Charts

Starting Lineup

1 LF Desmond Jennings

2 CF B.J. Upton

3 3B Evan Longoria

4 1B Carlos Peña*

5 2B Ben Zobrist

6 RF Matt Joyce

7 DH Luke Scott*

8 SS Sean Rodriguez

9 C Jose Molina*

Bench

C Jose Lobaton

SS Reid Brignac

IF Jeff Keppinger*

OF Sam Fuld

Starting Rotation

1 LHP David Price

2 RHP James Shields

3 RHP Jeremy Hellickson

4 LHP Matt Moore

5 RHP Wade Davis

Bullpen

CL RHP Kyle Farnsworth

SU RHP Joel Peralta

SU LHP Jake McGee

MID RHP Jeff Niemann

MID RHP Fernando Rodney*

MID LHP J.P. Howell

LR RHP Burke Badenhop*

As one of the best shortshop prospects, Lee will be coming up as Sean Rodriguez goes into his 2nd arbitration year. Their top pitching prospects behind Moore LHP Alexander Torres, Alex Colome and Chris Archer will be up sometime in the next two years (Torres will be up this season).

With their starting pitching locked up for the next 3 years as well as their position players not named Upton, their lineup looks pretty solid with the majority of their new prospects coming up starting next year. It remains to be seen if Brandon Guyer can slip into a starting OF role next season, but the Rays window looks open for the foreseeable future.

See the previous graphics in this series: Mariners | Athletics | Astros | Cubs | Pirates | Royals | Twins | Indians | Padres | Diamondbacks

Check out FUNGraphs.info or Follow @cobradave

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