Today, I'll wrap up the review of our community's top 50 prospect list, finishing with the top 15 players. Two days ago, Michael reviewed numbers 16-30, and last week I reviewed numbers 31-50. The emphasis here is on 2013 performance and some preliminary thoughts on if their stock is up or down. This was harder than recapping my personal list because I can't speak for everyone and why each vote was made, but hopefully we can learn something for next year.
15. Mike Montgomery, LHP- The community chose to give the former top prospect Montgomery a longer leash than the writers, and this decision probably goes to the writers. Coming off a rough year with the Royals organization that saw him get demoted from Triple-A to Double-A, he didn't rebound at all despite staying in Durham all year. His walk rate was still over 10.0%, and his splits weren't even promising for a role out of the bullpen retiring lefties. If he goes back to the Arizona Fall League this month and pitches well, maybe he can be around this spot in the rankings again.
14. Tyler Goeddel, 3B- Goeddel defeated Montgomery in a runoff vote, and the voters made the right choice. That's not to say he set the world on fire this year, because he didn't while repeating the Midwest League. His OPS was actually down five points, but there were small, subtle signs of improvement, including a reduced strikeout rate. He'll still only be 21 when he advances to Charlotte next year, so someone who still believes in his potential could still rank him pretty high.
13. Mikie Mahtook, OF- Mahtook is another player that benefited from his first round pedigree in these rankings, but another mediocre season may have some forgetting that he was a high pick. His OPS was 25 points above the league average, but since he appears to be relegated to a corner outfield spot, he'll need to show more power. His ISO was just .131, and batting .254 with a .302 BABIP isn't too inspiring either. He looks like he's headed for a fourth outfielder ceiling.
12. Drew Vettleson, OF- Choosing between two top picks from the 2010 draft, Vettleson and Sale, was a tough decision for most. The next list should be easier. Vettleson didn't have a great year, but he could still be ranked highly depending on how much the ranker believes the Florida State League suppresses power. His average was just one point lower than 2012 with Bowling Green, and his OBP was down nine points due to a 1.3% decrease in his walk rate. He also struck out less. His ISO dropped 43 points with only four home runs, so if the heavy air is what hurt his power numbers so much, he could be in for an improved 2014.
11. Josh Sale, OF- If I knew how to embed .gifs properly, picture something here, perhaps Mark Cuban reacting to... anything.
10. Jake Hager, SS- The writers and community were in sync with Hager, and I thought he was a no-brainer top 10 prospect in the organization. With solid up the middle defense and a strong second half at the plate, it seemed pretty easy to me. Baseball America ranked him 18th though, actually down six spots from the previous offseason. The industry professionals look good here after his OPS plummeted 134 points in Charlotte this year. Like Goeddel, he still has age on his side as a 21 year old next year, but it would be fair to re-evaluate his spot in the organization now.
9. Enny Romero, LHP- I don't know if anyone seriously predicted that Enny Romero would make a key start for the Rays in late September, but he did after starting the season with Montgomery. He made a small improvement in his walk rate, going from 14.1% in 2012 to 12.3% in 2013 and making an appearance in the Futures Game for the second straight year. Because of his troubles throwing strikes, I understand the risk, but I would have had him one spot higher.
8. Blake Snell, LHP- Because Snell, while not being totally analogous to Romero, has some similar qualities in that they're lefty pitchers with good stuff that really need to find a way to throw more strikes. To be fair to Snell though, his walk rate completely spiked after being okay the first two years of his career, going from 9.0% in 2012 with Princeton to 16.3% with Bowling Green in 2013. Maybe it's just hindsight that I find the two so similar, but I'd prefer the player further along in his development between the two.
7. Alex Colome, RHP- I felt this was the appropriate place to put Colome in the rankings putting together his package of potential and risk, but the determining spot of where he'll be placed next year will be his elbow injury. It was called a strain when he was placed on the DL, but since it limited him to 87 innings this year, it's fair to be concerned about this affecting his future. When he was on the mound with Durham, he was effective though, striking out 23.8% of opponents and walking 9.6%, his lowest rate since 2010.
6. Richie Shaffer, 3B- There probably could've been a case for Shaffer to be ranked higher as a polished first rounder who seemed like a steal at the time, but that case is probably gone now after a disappointing 2013 with Charlotte. He batted just .254 with a poor plate approach and less pop than expected for a corner player. High-A is a level college players in premier conferences should be be able to handle, but instead he's going back to the AFL to try and get back on track for 2014.
5. Jake Odorizzi, RHP- Odorizzi retains prospect eligibility despite making seven appearances for the Rays, including two outstanding games in relief in September. I wouldn't object to having him over Lee though, especially when we haven't seen how he'll react to his season ending knee surgery yet. Odorizzi was already considered to be a lower ceiling, highly polished starter coming into the organization, and he was able to exceed expectations by improving his walk and strikeout rates compared to 2012 with Omaha.
4. Hak-Ju Lee, SS- The community was down a bit on Lee after his disappointing 2012 with Montgomery. He looked like he was on his way to rehabilitating his stock with a great start at Durham this year, but a hard slide into second base from an opponent ended his season very early. Where he's placed in next year's rankings will depend on confidence in his ability to return from that serious injury and a lot of missed at-bats. The lesser depth in the system (as of now) will help him in the organization rankings.
3. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP- When this was voted on, Guerrieri still hadn't pitched in a full-season league, but his upside was too high to ignore for the community. Despite Tommy John surgery that's going to knock him out for all of 2014, he'll still be up here in the rankings for two reasons: he pitched well with the scouting reports to back it up when he was healthy, and the top two guys on the list are no longer eligible.
2. Chris Archer, RHP- Thanks to a strong second half in 2012, voters had much more confidence in Archer than the previous offseason. That got him ranked first in the organization until the rankings had to be readjusted to include Wil Myers. His upside was high, and he was knocking on the door of the majors. This was an easy choice for most.
1. Wil Myers, OF- Myers was a consensus top five prospect in baseball, and since the Rays didn't and still don't have Dylan Bundy, Jurickson Profar or Oscar Taveras, he had to be the top man in the organization. Barring any trades, the number one slot for the Rays is probably going to be much more contested in our upcoming rankings.