As Scott already mentioned in the first segment of our review, we will be reviewing the DRaysBay Community Top 50 Prospects list. Here is a short review of the prospects ranked #30-16.
30. Granden Goetzman, OF. A second round pick in the 2011 draft, Goetzman drew comparisons to Jason Werth for his athleticism in the outfield and power from the right side of the plate. Though he barely played in 2012 due to injuries, he ranked 30th on the list based on his potential and solid performance in a very small sample size. An aggressive promotion to Bowling Green was disastrous this year as he hit for a putrid .454 OPS in only 21 games. Demoted a level to Hudson Valley, Goetzman still couldn't get his bat going, hitting only .220/.243/.344 for the Renegades. The Rays clearly saw something in extended spring training to bump him to Bowling Green with only 37 pro games under his belt and he still shows his power during batting practice, but Goetzman's track record on the field for his career is both limited and uninspiring.
29. Brandon Martin, SS. A 2011 first round pick, Martin continued to impress observers with his defense at shortstop, earning rave reviews for his range, instincts, and arm. However, his bat failed to improve as he hit .206/.268/.347. He has some power (7 home runs this year and 10 the year prior), but his contact skills are poor. His stock is down, though he has a long leash due to his stellar defensive reputation.
28. Ty Morrison, CF. After a solid 2012 season in which he hit .272/.341/.372 put Morrison back on the radar, he disappeared in 2013, appearing in only 17 games for Montgomery. The cause was Tommy John surgery. He has age and good defense in CF on his side, but this season was a wasted one for his development. Tommy John surgery is far less concerning for a positional player, so he should hopefully recover fully and begin playing sometime early in the 2014 season.
27. Patrick Leonard, 3B. A promising young power bat acquired in the James Shields trade, the Rays hoped he could fill a glaring weakness in the system with his offensive prowess. Instead, Leonard collapsed with Bowling Green. A year after he hit 14 home runs in 62 games and slugged .494, he hit for a dismal .648 OPS. With the possibility, if not probability, that he shifts to first base, there is tremendous pressure on his bat to regain its form.
26. Andrew Toles, CF. Finally, we have a player that raised his stock! A second round pick in the 2012 draft, Toles excited evaluators with his combination of power and speed during his 2012 season with Princeton. Promoted to Bowling Green this past year, Toles dropped some power but hit for a higher average and stole 62 bases. He finished the year with an impressive .326/.359/.466 line, though his K/BB rate could use improvement.
25. Felipe Rivero, LHP. Though he possessed plus stuff (low-90s fastball touching 95 and promising secondary pitches) and performed reasonably well, Rivero never ranked high on prospect lists. This year in Port Charlotte, Rivero still showed enticing stuff, but his performance was less inspiring. He held the opposition to a 3.40 ERA, but his strikeout rate dipped for the second straight year (down to 6.4/9) and his walk rate increased from around two strikeouts per nine innings to nearly four per nine. His stock hasn't fallen greatly, but he failed to make strides this past year.
24. Ryan Brett, 2B. Debate surrounding Brett's potential made for an interesting topic during the creation of the top 50 list. While others viewed him as an everyday player, I contended that his lack of above average tools and unspectacular performance suggested a backup role. A year later, the answer is still very much in the air. After seemingly breaking out for Port Charlotte (.340/.356/.454), Brett hit the all-too-familiar Double-A wall, managing only a .689 OPS at the level in 25 games. Though his overall line was still good (.810 OPS), scouts still question the quality of his tools and his defense is average at best. It will be very interesting to see if Brett can perform in the upper minors next year.
23. Alex Torres, LHP. With all the talk about how few Rays prospects broke out this past year, we often forget that one of the biggest surprises on the Rays roster was a prospect himself. After a disastrous 2012 season clouded Torres' future, a conversion to relief and some new-found command guided him to an excellent season in the Rays bullpen. Without a doubt, Torres was the biggest breakout prospect for the Rays this season.
22. Brandon Guyer, OF. Not many 27 year olds make top prospect lists, but Guyer is in a unique situation. First reaching the upper minors in the middle of the 2009 season, Guyer has failed to lock down a roster spot with the big league club. Part of it has been poor major league performances, part of it has been a lack of an opening, and another part has been untimely injuries. Hopefully the Rays don't forget about Guyer and he won't become the next "one that got away."
21. Oscar Hernandez, C. One could easily look at Oscar Hernandez's .227/.286/.364 slash line and assume that it was a poor year for Hernandez and that his stock is plummeting. But while he did not statistically shine offensively, scouts have raved about his overall package. Behind the plate, Hernandez has emerged as an elite defender. And while his statistics stateside are not eye-popping, scouts believe he can develop into a league average hitter.
20. Jeff Ames, RHP. While Taylor Guerrieri received the most attention in the Bowling Green rotation (before his injury), Jeff Ames put together a solid season. In 114.2 innings, he pitched to a 2.98 ERA with a 2.18 K/BB ratio. Though his peripherals went from excellent to mediocre, he still shows good stuff and should find his way onto the top 30 once again.
19. Parker Markel, RHP. A late round pick with promising stuff, Markel took a major step backward this year, posting a 6.37 ERA in 82.0 innings before being shut down with a shoulder injury. Whether the injury affected him during the entire season is debatable, but it will still go down as a miserable year.
18. Todd Glaesmann, OF. After his "breakout" year in 2012, expectations were high for the athletic outfielder. Unfortunately, Glaesmann failed to come close to replicating his past season, OPS'ing only .667 in 132 games. One has to wonder if 2012 was just a fluky year for him given the rest of his professional track record.
17. Jesse Hahn, RHP. One could look at Hahn's season in two different ways. One on hand, Hahn dominated Advanced Class-A hitters even after skipping Bowling Green, posting a 2.15 ERA with a 3.50 K/BB rate. Yet, those impressive stats were only across 69.0 innings as the Rays limited his innings and he missed a month with an undisclosed arm injury. He has impact stuff, but 2013 only reinforces the idea that he will never have the endurance to survive as a starter.
16. Tim Beckham, SS/2B. Just like Hahn, Beckham's year was either encouraging or disappointing based on the way one views it. A positive observer notes that he improved his hitting to above average in AAA, has made strides defensively, and finally made the major leagues. Yet, a pessimist argues that his hitting is not great, the improvements came in his third season in AAA, his defense still grades out below average (probably 45 on the 20-80 scale, which is playable), and he is now 23 years old. The Beckham debates, as always, promise to be entertaining this offseason.