The last in our review of last season's DRaysBay Community Prospect List. You can catch up here:
Here we go with the top five:
5. Tim Beckham, SS - Ah yes, Tim Beckham. He came into the season ranked number five on the strength of his performance at the close of 2011. He slugged five home runs in 24 games with the Durham Bulls and continued to show some pop in the Arizona Fall League. Back in Durham for 2012, Beckham disappointed with a .256/.325/.361 season that was interrupted by a 50-game suspension for marijuana use. His isolated power fell from .137 in 2011 to .105 in 2012, which is bad news considering his batting average also fell .015. The glimpses he's shown his career (power in 2011, walks in 2010) haven't been sustained, and a likely move off of shortstop with Hak-Ju Lee on his heels has Beckham's stock tumbling further.
4. Enny Romero, LHP - His 2011 season with Bowling Green -- in which he tallied 140 strikeouts in 114 innings -- flew a little bit under the radar because of a 4.26 ERA and too many walks. He brought his ERA under 4.00 with Charlotte in 2012, but failed to improve his walk rate while his strikeout rate plummeted. After walking 13.5% of hitters in 2011, he issued free passes to 14.1% this past season. Meanwhile his strikeout percentage, 27.8% in Bowling Green, was a hair under 20% with Charlotte. Romero earned a spot on the World Team roster for the Futures Game where he showed off his very live arm, but his overall body of work has his stock down.
3. Alex Torres, LHP - Yikes. Torres managed to be effectively wild in 2010 and 2011, leading the Southern League in both strikeouts and walks in 2010 and then repeating that feat with Durham in 2011. In 2012, however, he succeeded only in being wildly ineffective. In 69 innings with the Bulls, Torres issued 420 63 walks, leading to an ERA over 7.00. His strikeout rate held steady around 25%, but that's largely irrelevant when you're walking a hitter per inning. Torres is, at least, ending the season with a glimmer of hope: In 22.2 innings for Aguilas del Zulia of the Venezuelan Winter League, he's struck out 41 and walked 10 (although he lasted just 1.1 innings in his November 8th star, surrendering seven runs). Stock way down.
2. Hak-Ju Lee, SS - After Lee struggled in his month with the Biscuits in 2011, a good start would have gone a long way toward easing concerns about his bat against advanced pitching. Unfortunately, Lee continued to struggle early on. He managed to put together a nice on-base streak over the summer, but his final line of .261/.336/.360 was a letdown after an .832 OPS in Charlotte one season ago. An oblique injury cut his season short, but he's healthy to play in the Arizona Fall League (though he's hitting for zero power: .257/.345/.284 in 74 ABs). Lee still seems primed to take over the Durham shortstop job from Tim Beckham, but it's yet another stock down.
1. Matt Moore, LHP - No, he wasn't the immediate Cy Young contender that it seemed he might be after he took the AL by storm in 2011. But a 3.81 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning aren't anything to sneeze at. And perhaps most importantly, Moore showed improvement as the season went on: He cut his ERA from 4.42 to 3.01 and improved his K/BB rate from 1.92 to 2.55 from the first to the second half of the season. Moore is the only prospect off this list to graduate, and given his mild success in the majors, I consider his stock unchanged. The future is still extremely bright.