Back when Rocco Baldelli was "just a rookie" and Joe "Freaking" Kennedy was our "ace", our pitching depth in the minors was pretty much "inexistent". 2 Scouting Directors and 3 years later, we've become the reciprocal of what we once were. We've gone from having one good prospect per level to the "almost more pitching than hitting" level that we are now.
-Princeton's got 2 "High Quality" Arms making their professional debuts in Vero Beach's own Alex Cobb and "The Tomball Tornardo" Tyree Hayes(who just turned 18 yesterday). Add into the mix, Chris Andujar(who, in addition to Hayes, has a MLB bloodline) who came out of our International Scouting Department. I've got good money that Hayes, and possibly Cobb, will be making a full-season league debut next year. Hayes has been looked at as a possible right-handed version of Dontrelle Willis at his best. Alex Cobb, who just made his professional debut yesterday, was a K machine in HS and should continue that form in the minors. Ryan Zimmerman is a sleeper, IMO, coming off a season-ending injury which delayed his debut to this year.
-Hudson Valley probably has a 2:1 Pitching Prospect-to-Hitting Prospect ratio. Jeremy Hellickson, Woods Fines and Lewis Rollins look to be our top prospects there. Had Ryan Reid not pitched a full season at James Madison University, I suspect that he'd be in that group as well. Josh Butler probably could be put in the same "tired arm" condition that Reid is in. Hellickson has probably the most upside and "polish" of any Rays low level prospect right now. I believe that he could give Jake McGee and Matt Walker(who I will speak about in a minute) a run for their money, as well. One prospect that I suspect will surge through the Rays organization is Erik Walker, who we just drafted out of college and seems to be our next big "relief prospect" and doesn't seem to be affected from his college workload. If he is , I'd love to see his arm at 100%.
-Southwestern Michigan's only saving grace this year is the immense amount of pitching prospects. Had they not had Jake McGee, Wade Davis and now Matt Walker, this season would've been a total loss. McGee seems to have finally come from beneath Wade Davis' shadow and emerged as a finalist for top pitching prospect of this organization. Davis started the season on fire, but as of late has declined. Many believe that he's working on improving his secondary pitches and that's the reasoning for the immense decline in production. Others just think his arm is starting to tire. Matt Walker has the most potential of the trio, however he's the rawest in ability and that shows at times. Walker could become the ace of this trio within a year, if all goes well.