Continuing on with our review of the pre-season DRaysBay community prospect list, I'll handle prospects ranked 26th through 30th. If you missed it, Scott did numbers 31-40 and I did numbers 41-50 last week.
30. Felipe Rivero, LHP - Coming off a season where he posted excellent rate stats with Princeton -- 57 strikeouts, 13 walks in 60.1 innings -- but also a 4.62 ERA, this past year was a good test for Rivero as he moved to full-season ball. With the Hot Rods, he dropped his ERA by over a run thanks to a reduction in his home run rate while generally maintaining his peripherals. In 113.1 innings, he struck out 98 and walked 29. His control is his best present skill, but his stuff could rank with Enny Romero's if Rivero is better able to apply it. For comparison's sake, Romero struck out 140 but walked 68 in 2011 with the Hot Rods, so clearly Rivero isn't quite the same pitcher. At just 6-0/151 his body still needs to mature, and perhaps with some increased stature he'll be able to make his stuff work better and more consistently. He didn't have the breakout 2012 campaign some expected, but he more than held his own in his first taste of full-season ball as a 20-year-old.
29. C.J. Riefenhauser, LHP - The biggest question surrounding Riefenhauser entering the season was whether or not he'd be able to stick as a starter after a surprising year in 2011, though it came mainly on his dominance of left-handed hitters. The answer became clearer in 2012 as Riefenhauser didn't make enough strides vs. RHBs, resulting in a 4.76 ERA overall with Charlotte before a late-season bump to Montgomery and a trip to Arizona. His rate stats, 118 strikeouts to 40 walks in 114.2 innings are solid, but again they came mainly on the back of his success against lefties, and going forward it looks like his path to the majors will be in relief.
28. Ty Morrison, CF - The Rays were aggressive with Ty Morrison back in 2010 when they sent him to the Midwest League as a teenager, and a 2011 season which was marred by injuries and ineffectiveness didn't abate it much as he was pushed to Montgomery as a 21-year-old. In 609 plate appearances, mostly with the Biscuits, Morrison put together a .272/.341/.372 line, a nice improvement from his .637 OPS a year ago. There are still issues, certainly: you'd like to see him cut down on the strikeouts (117 of them) to put the ball in play more and make use of his speed, but he's showing enough average and on-base skills that you can see a decent future for him, as he's considered a good defensive centerfielder (which will lessen the pressure on the stick). His lack of power (career SLG% of .365) belies the need to improve in other areas at the plate, however.
27. Brandon Martin, SS - While fellow-2011 shortstop draftee Jake Hager was assigned to Bowling Green, Martin stayed back in extended spring training before heading to Princeton. That's no damning indictment -- Martin was young for his class and 2012 was his age-18 season -- but his .209 batting average and .272 OBP were disappointing. The good news is he hit for some power, leading the team with ten 10 home runs, but his 73 strikeouts in 279 PA might indicate that he's selling out for it a bit too much. BaseballAmerica ranked him as the #11 prospect in the Appy League, complimenting his defense and power but noting that he struggled with off-speed pitches at the plate.
26. Johnny Eierman, OF - His assignment to the Gulf Coast League was a bad first sign: he was the only top-10-round 2011 pick sent there aside from rehabbing pitchers. If he had dominated the league, though, that would have just been a blip on the radar. Instead, Eierman hit just .231/.299/.319. He was reputed to have plus power when the Rays drafted him, but he failed to hit a home run in 46 games and obviously didn't do enough with his average and OBP to make up for the lack of power. Eierman's stock is down, perhaps considerably, from a year ago.