#24 Luke Raley, OF/1B, Chattanooga Lookouts
Nate’s Rank: 21, Gary’s Rank: 27
Luke Raley came to the Twins from the Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline along with Logan Forsythe and our #37 prospect Devin Smeltzer in return for Brian Dozier. Raley was generally considered the key Dodger in the transaction. The 23-year-old left-handed swinger projects as a corner outfielder with the ability to play at first base.
Raley was taken by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2016 draft. Not being offered a single Division I scholarship, he attended Division II Lake Erie College. Raley’s name was not to be found in Baseball America’s Top 500 prospect rankings, much less MLB.com’s list of Top 200 draft prospects.
Raley earned an all-star berth last season for Class A+ Rancho Cucamonga and saw his numbers rise post-break. The 6′ 3″, 220 pounder finished 2017 with a slash line of .295/.375/.473, with 21 doubles, 11 triples, 14 homes runs, and 62 RBI’s, collecting 124 strikeouts and 43 walks in 478 at-bats.
MLB.com ranked Raley 29th in the Dodgers system coming into the 2018 season and was moved up to 19th in their mid-season assessment. He was slotted in the same 19th spot on the Twins list after the trade. Raley has an overall 45 rating scoring above average 55 in arm and field tools. His 45 hit rating is the only tool on the 20-80 scale that falls below average.
Prospects 1500 had ranked Raley #22 on their top-50 list, citing him as one of the more underrated prospects in the Dodgers farm system.
Last Word on Baseball ranked Raley #27 in their list of 30. They had this to say:
"The big, powerful young hitter is not afraid to use his strength, and as a result, he uses the entire ballpark. At times, those deep fly balls are caught by a speedy centerfielder, and Raley had lots of hard, line-drive outs that don’t show up in the box score."
Fangraphs, on the other hand, is not so impressed giving Raley a 35 rating in their recap of prospects traded at the deadline. He is described simply as a “Stiff, power-hitting first baseman performing at Double-A.”
After being promoted to Class AA Tulsa to start the 2018 season, Raley made it to the Texas League All-Star game. He has put up similar numbers since his arrival in Class AA Chattanooga following the trade. Raley has a combined slash line of .286/.364/.470, with 18 doubles, seven triples, and 19 home runs in 438 at-bats. He continues to strike out at a disturbing rate, 120 times, with only 34 walks. A very good hitter when making contact, Raley needs to develop more plate discipline as he moves up the ladder.