Jess Hahn - Flickr.com
Breakout prospect candidates this season in the Rays' organization
Breakout prospects are something that Rays fans did not see a lot of in 2012. The only real breakout season in Tampa's minor league system was that of right-hander Taylor Guerrieri, who shined in his pro debut with Class A- Hudson Valley.
Hopefully, 2013 will be a different story down on the farm, and the Rays will have some fresh new faces on their top 10 prospect list coming into the 2014 season.
Without further adieu, here are three prospects who could potentially break out this year.
There's a lot to like about Hager's skills, and at the ripe age of 20, he's definitely a prospect to keep an eye on this season.
The former first-round draft pick hit .295/.373/.443 with seven homers and 46 RBI in the second half of his first full pro season with Class A Bowling Green last year. If he can pick up where he left off with Class A+ Charlotte this season, it could be a big year for Hager.
Defensively, the shortstop has received positive marks overall from scouts. They suggest that his plus glove work and adequate arm should allow him to stay at the position long term.
What I see in Hager is a well-rounded and toolsy prospect who is bound to grab more attention in 2013.
Leonard was an overlooked name in the talented prospect haul brought over to Tampa Bay in the James Shields blockbuster. Set to join the Hot Rods this season, the 20-year-old third baseman is out to prove that he's more than just an extra player tossed into a deal.
He didn't hesitate to tap into his impressive power during his Rookie League pro debut last year, hitting 14 home runs and 46 RBI with an ISO of .243 through 62 games.
Leonard will be playing a full season in 2013, which should be a great opportunity for him show off his big-time power and rise up the organizational ranks.
Selected in the sixth round of the 2010 Draft, Hahn didn't make his minor league debut until last season. The tall right-hander had a strong year with Short-Season Hudson Valley, posting a 2.77 ERA with 9.52 K/9 through 14 starts (52.0 IP).
Hahn got better as the season progressed, and won the New York-Penn State League's Pitcher of the Week honors for back-to-back weeks in August.
2013 will be crucial year for him as he'll start the season in Charlotte's rotation. Hahn now has a full season to show off his electric stuff, which includes a fastball that he can throw around 100 MPH.
I'm predicting Hahn to be the Rays' sleeper prospect of the year, and jump into the organization's top 10 prospect rankings by next winter. Hopefully, we'll see Hahn contributing to Tampa's bullpen by the 2014 season.