The AFL season came to a close with the Rays-laden Surprise Saguaros falling in the championship game after leading the league with 26 wins in the regular season. Here are the final stats for the Rays prospects that played, along with how my opinion has either changed or been confirmed by the small sample:
SS Tim Beckham: He got the most at-bats of the three position players, hitting .244/.364/.489 in 90 ABs. He drew 15 walks and struck out 25 times, and twelve of his 22 hits went for extra bases (six doubles, two triples, and four home runs). After finishing the season with Durham where he had a sub-.300 OBP, the walks were nice to see, though he'll have to show he can maintain them, something he didn't do from 2010 to 2011.
OF Mikie Mahtook: The first-rounder shook off some early rust to finish with a .338/.410/.544 line in 64 ABs. In his final ten (of 18) games, he hit .421/.488/.789. Mahtook also stole five bases, and was caught once. Tough to draw any conclusions, but you'd rather a guy hit well than not, and Mahtook took care of that. At this point I'd be surprised if he doesn't start 2012 in Charlotte.
2B Tyler Bortnick: He got the fewest ABs, hitting .267/.353/.400 in 45 ABs. After walking more than he struck out at stealing 43 bases vs. 4 times caught, he walked five times and struck out eight and had a 2-2 SB-CS ratio in the AFL. He'll face double-A pitching for the first time in 2012, and the thing to watch will be his walk rate: With below-average power, will he still be able to walk at a 13% clip? Bortnick got some time all around the infield, and I'd expect that to continue as his best shot at the majors is as a utility guy.
RHP Shane Dyer: He made six starts before leaving for an unspecified reason, likely an injury (but not a major one; teams are very cautious with AFL guys and often they're sent home for minor stuff). It was pretty much a continuation of his regular season, as he struck out just ten and walked nine in 24.2 innings. He showed a strong GO/AO, but his 2011 total with Montgomery wasn't good enough to offset such a low strikeout rate. Opinion unchanged.
RHP Marquis Fleming: Fleming struck out 104 and walked 42 in 80.1 innings with Montgomery, but his control escaped him a bit in the desert as he whiffed 13 but walked 11 in 15 innings for the Saguaros. His change-up is really good, but his fastball is below-average. The Rays left him off the 40-man roster, meaning he's eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
RHP Kirby Yates: The good news: Yates struck out 17 in 10.1 innings. The bad news: He walked seven and allowed eight runs on 11 hits. The undrafted free agent's stuff is legit, but he needs to show he can control it. He walked 22 in 33.1 innings for Charlotte, but a healthy year in 2012 will give us a clearer picture.
LHP Adam Liberatore: Probably the least-regarded prospect, Liberatore had a nice fall. He struck out 15 in 15.1 innings, walked four, and posted a 3.33 GO/AO after a 2.67 regular-season mark. Lefties hit .200 against him (super small sample size, of course), but he was bumping 93-94 mph and is worth keeping an eye on, even if his ceiling is as a LOOGY or middle reliever.