A recap of prospects #17-22.
17. Jesse Hahn, RHP (36%)
Strengths: Plus all around stuff, including a 94-99 mph fastball, a heavy two-seamer, a plus curve, a change up that flashes plus, and a slider with potential; excellent performance in 2012, striking out over a batter per inning and walking a little over two per nine with a 2.77 ERA in 52 innings; good pedigree; impressive pitchability, especially for a guy with his raw stuff.
Weaknesses: Tommy John surgery shortly after signing in 2010 cost him the entire 2011 season; he also suffered a broken foot in spring training; lack of experience against advanced competition.
2012 Campaign: Although he was selected by the Rays in the 2010 draft, Hahn never made an appearance in uniform until this year. In his 52 innings he struck out 55 batters, walked 15, and allowed 16 ER. Six of those runs came in a horrible second start; from the third start on, he allowed 10 runs in 47.2 innings with a 53/11 K/BB rate.
Going Forward: With his raw stuff and impressive performance, the only thing holding Hahn back from rating much higher is a lack of innings. The Rays will be faced with an interesting situation going into the season. They could either send Hahn to Bowling Green or jump him to Port Charlotte. Either way, Hahn needs to get some innings under his belt to give followers a better feel for his ability.
18. Todd Glaesmann, OF (28%)
Strengths: Good raw power which led to 20 home runs in 2012; breakout year offensively; defensively, he profiles solidly in center and very well in right field; great athlete.
Weaknesses: Dismal pre-2012 performance; even in his breakout year, his strikeout rate hovered over 20%.
2012 Campaign: Entering the 2012 season, most regarded Glaesmann as a good athlete whose raw tools failed to translate into positive results on the baseball field. Repeating Bowling Green, Glaesmann hit .277/.335/.466 in 89 games. A promotion to Port Charlotte did not slow him down. In 35 games with Port Charlotte, Todd batted .276/.317/.537. His performance earned him the Rays Minor League Hitter of the Year award.
Going Forward: The two main questions for Glaesmann to answer in 2013 are (1) was 2012 a fluke and (2) can he resolve or improve his contact issues? If he can put those questions to rest, he should be in line for a mid-season promotion to Montgomery. Even just reducing the strikeout rate to 18-21% would be an encouraging step forward. If he can do that while maintaining the power, his prospect status should jump.
19. Parker Markel, RHP (36%)
Strengths: Electric stuff, including a mid-90s fastball with lots of life, a slider that flashes plus, and a change up that Baseball America named the best in the system in 2012; solid command thus far, with a 2.9 BB/9 in his career.
Weaknesses: His K rate, while having improved in 2012, is low for a guy with his stuff; there are concerns about how his delivery works as a starter; showed a significant splits in 2012 (.596 OPS versus LHB, .751 OPS versus RHB).
2012 Campaign: Parker Markel had some questions to answer about his future role and ability to miss bats even after his breakout year in 2011. He backed the 2011 campaign with a very solid 2012, in which he pitched 120 innings, had a 3.52 ERA, and improved his peripherals. After starting the year off slowly, he pitched to a 2.15 ERA in the final two months, with a 60/22 K/BB ratio in 71.1 innings.
Going Forward: In order for Markel to ascend prospect lists, he needs to improve the strikeout rate. He should start the year in Port Charlotte's rotation and remain there the whole year. Unlike many of the other pitchers in this range, he does not have a major issue to work on. Instead, he just needs to make steady improvements while gradually advancing through the minor league ranks.
20. Jeff Ames, RHP (42% runoff)
Strengths: Plus fastball in the mid-90's; solid slider; works downhill, using his height effectively; solid command.
Weaknesses: Lack of an effective third pitch, although the change up progressed some during the past season; lack of the third pitch could lead to a transition to the bullpen.
2012 Campaign: After a 2011 season in Princeton which could be best described as having mixed results, Ames pitched with Hudson Valley in 2012. His strikeout rate dipped a little (though his 70 strikeouts in 64.1 innings was still impressive), but his ERA dropped from 7.12 in 2011 to 1.96. He was one of three very talented pitching prospects (along with Hahn and Guerrieri) that helped lead Hudson Valley to a NYPL title.
Going Forward: His future role depends on the development of his off speed offerings. The fastball alone seemingly makes him a reliever if he can't improve on his changeup. The lack of a third pitch, especially a change up, hurt him in 2012 versus left handed hitters. While he limited right handed hitters to a .479 OPS, left handed hitters were far more successful, hitting for a .686 OPS. The fastball and change up work against right handed hitters, but unless he the change up improves, he will be vulnerable against hitters on the left side. It remains to be seen whether Jeff Ames will pitch in Bowling Green or Port Charlotte next year.
21. Oscar Hernandez, C (39% runoff)
Strengths: Held his own despite being young for his league; displayed very good patience at the plate and struck out at a low rate; has some power potential; defensive tools are present; plays catcher.
Weaknesses: Uncertainty due to a lack of reports; distance from the major leagues.
2012 Campaign: After tearing up the VSL (to the tune of a 1.235 OPS with 21 home runs in 69 games), Oscar posted an above average season with Princeton, an aggressive assignment for the young Venezuelan catcher. While he only batted .231, his OBP was .349. Even more impressive was his 31/23 K/BB rate. It was not an eye popping season by any means, but considering his age and position, it can be considered a solid, if not better, year.
Going Forward: It is not often that a prospect with any defensive capability also flashes signs of offensive competence/aptitude. That is the primary reason why Oscar, despite a lack of scouting reports or general information, is rated this high by the community. If he can handle the catcher position, he does not have to be a star with the bat to be a top prospect. He could either be promoted to Hudson Valley or Bowling Green next year. Don't expect Oscar to make a major league impact any time soon and plenty of players with his profile have failed; however, there is significant upside involved with him (as is inherent to any catcher with the potential to hit) and reasons to be cautiously excited.
22. Brandon Guyer, OF (27%)
Strengths: When healthy, he has an impressive all around ability, featuring plus speed, solid power, a strong hit tool, an above average arm, and decent range; he is close to, if not already, ready for the major leagues; though he has hit better against LHP in his minor league career, he has done solidly against right handed pitchers (.860 OPS).
Weaknesses: Had shoulder surgery last year; old for a prospect; needs to work on his patience at the plate, which will lead to more pitches to drive.
2012 Campaign: Heading into the season, most expected Guyer to be the first outfielder called up should the need arise. From that point, he would have the opportunity to establish himself in the major leagues. But from the beginning, the season took a nasty turn for Guyer. In spring training, it was Guyer's car the Bush used to seriously injure a motorcyclist. After a strong start to the year (131 wRC+ in AAA), Guyer received the call to the major leagues. However, he quickly injured his shoulder, and the surgery kept him off the field for the rest of the year. Due to some injuries and Joyce's inability to hit LHP, Guyer would have had a fine chance at establishing himself at the major league level. Instead, Rays fans were treated to the pleasure of watching Rich Thompson, Ben Francisco, and even Hideki Matsui garner playing time in the outfield. Talk about a missed opportunity....
Going Forward: With Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, and Wil Myers appearing to have the outfield locked up over the next several years, the path to a starting job is not clear for Guyer. It is most likely that he finds his way to the majors as a platoon player or because of an injury. From there, his performance should dictate his playing time. He will start the season in Durham, unless the Rays need his right handed bat in the majors to start the year.