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It was an afterthought in the blockbuster trade, at least by Tigers fans.

But shortstop prospect Willy Adames was a big part of the package Detroit sent to Tampa Bay to land David Price in July, and Baseball America has confirmed as much.

Just a few months into his Rays tenure, Adames, 19, already has been ranked the No. 1 prospect in their system, according to the magazine.

That’s a big honor, considering how highly regarded the Rays minor-league system is in baseball circles.

Adames, of the Dominican Republic, was signed by the Tigers a few years back as an international free agent, and opened a lot of eyes at Single-A West Michigan this past season. Playing against older competition, he more than held his own, batting .269 with six homers and 50 RBIs, to go with an on-base percentage of .346.

In limited time with the Rays’ Single-A affiliate, at Bowling Green, he posted a .278/.377/.433 slash line.

There’s a reason no fewer than six major-league teams were heavily scouting Adames leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

Adames climbed the ranks quickly, considering he wasn’t even ranked by Baseball America in the Tigers’ top 10 prospects last December. He wound up going to the Rays in a three team-deal that also netted the Mariners center field Austin Jackson from the Tigers.

Baseball America is in the process of unveiling each team’s top 10 prospects. The Tigers’ top 10 will be announced Wednesday.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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