Continuing on with our review of the pre-season DRaysBay community prospect list, I'll handle prospects ranked 26th through 30th. If you missed any previous editions:
Kevin recaps prospects 41-50
Scott recaps prospects 31-40
Kevin recaps prospects 26-30
Scott recaps prospects 21-25
20. Tyler Bortnick, 2B - Even at the time, this ranking seemed like an over-reach. Clearly, it was a performance-based rating: Bortnick was coming off a .306/.428/.432 season with the Charlotte Stone Crabs, which fell into line with his career trends of hitting near .300, drawing walks, and stealing bases. A 16th-round draft pick back in 2009, double-A was going to be an important test, as it's often the level that pitching is advanced enough to less-heralded prospects. That was the case for Bortnick, who hit .253/.352/.385 in 95 games with the Biscuits before being traded to Arizona for Ryan Roberts. There's still some hope that Bortnick's package of defense and basestealing and hitting just enough could make him a back-up infielder, but 2012 seemed to solidify that as his ceiling.
19. Oscar Hernandez, C - The hardest player to rank last off-season, Hernandez had lit up the Venezuelan Summer League to the tune of a .402/.503/.732 slash line. Suffice it to say, stats like those will draw eyeballs to your stateside debut. Playing in his age-18 season for Princeton, Hernandez didn't come close to matching his previous summer, but he showed positive signs. He hit just .231, but only struck out 31 times in 49 games, so pitchers weren't just blowing it past him. His .250 BABIP is probably attributable to some part luck and some part poor contact and another season of data will help to clear things up. He posted a .349 OBP with 23 walks and eight HBPs, a good sign going forward. And he threw out 38% of basestealers behind the dish. Hernandez might not be the Next Huge Thing his 2011 numbers hinted at, but he's still worth watching.
18. Jeff Malm, 1B - One of 2011's breakout prospects, Malm cranked up the power to lead the NY-P league in home runs. He wasn't able to build on that season, though, with his slash line falling back to .263/.356/.438 and leaving him in a weird position as a prospect. He's a first baseman so obviously he's going to need to hit. He showed some signs -- 13 home runs in the Midwest League isn't terrific but it's also nothing to sneeze at -- but his .263 batting average represented a career high. 2012 won't exactly be a make-or-break season, but Malm will be 22 years old and he'll need to show more with the stick to remain a viable first base prospect.
17. Tyler Goeddel, 3B - Goeddel looked like he might be something truly special when he started the season on fire for the Hot Rods. He hit over .300 and slugged three home runs, no easy feat for a teenager in the cold weather of the Midwest League. But he fell to back to Earth, hitting just three more home runs the rest of the season and failing to post a monthly batting average over .250. In the end, his .246/.335/.371 line isn't a bad debut, but there's surely work to be done. He made some small steps in the walk/strikeout department later in the season, which will need to continue (for the year, he walked 38 times and struck out 94). On the plus side, he did swipe 30 bases and was only caught five times. One thing to watch in 2013: Goeddel vs. Richie Shaffer, which one gets the Charlotte 3B assignment?
16. Jake Hager, SS - Another teenager in the MWL, Hager had the opposite season of Goeddel: After hitting .200/.250/.243 in April, Hager turned it on and finished with a .281/.345/.412 line. True to his scouting report, Hager didn't do anything exceptionally well but he did do a little bit of everything: Solid contact skills with 60 strikeouts in 114 games, good power with ten home runs, drew 40 walks, and stole 17 bases. It was an encouraging season, and Hager will be the Stone Crabs shortstop in 2013.