During the past couple of weeks, the community has voted on prospects #10-13. Here is the recap of these prospects.
#10- Jake Hager, SS (39%)
Strengths: Solid defense at shortstop; good contact skills with sound hitting approach; good power for a middle infielder; advanced for his age.
Weaknesses: Not enormous offensive potential; a loss of range would necessitate a move to third base, where his bat does not play well; needs to work on his base stealing (17 out of 28 on SB attempts).
2012 Campaign: In an aggressive assignment, Hager played for Bowling Green as a 19 year old coming out of high school. Despite being one of the youngest players in the league, he more than held his own, posting an above average .757 OPS. After struggling in April (.493 OPS), Hager found his groove, hitting for a .818 OPS the rest of the way.
Going Forward: After his strong season in Bowling Green, Hager will play for what looks to be a loaded Port Charlotte team next year. He needs to continue developing his hitting skills and prove he can hit at higher levels. If he does, his path to the Rays should be clear, given the value of a short stop who can handle a bat. There are some that see quite a bit of offensive potential in Hager's bat (notably prospectprospect.com and mrkupe of bullpenbanter.com), so it will be interesting to he surprises fans with his offense.
#11- Josh Sale, OF (50%)
Strengths: Tremendous raw power; strong pedigree and work ethic; has a good eye and works good at bats.
Weaknesses: Outside of a his hitting tear this year, his statistics have not been strong; his defense will most likely never be better than average and he is not a base stealing threat; a 50 game suspension for a failed drug test takes away valuable developmental time.
2012 Campaign: Josh Sale began the year in extended spring training, but something caused the Rays to quickly promote him to Bowling Green. The decision appeared to be wise, as he began the year on an incredible tear that prompted some fans to call for a promotion. However, Sale fell into a slump and never got back into his groove. His overall statistics are still good (.855 OPS), though the discrepancy between his May (1.250 OPS) and June-September (.727 OPS) numbers is drastic.
Going Forward: Although Sale will have to wait 41 games before he can begin his 2013 season, he still will have plenty of time to prove that his hot May was not just a lucky streak. A promotion to Port Charlotte seems in order, and it will be interesting to see if the large parks in the FSL can contain his power. If Josh can replicate or improve upon his 2012 139 wRC+, it should be a successful season.
#12- Drew Vettleson, OF (43%)
Strengths: Solid or better tools across the board, including an above average to plus hit tool and a plus arm; Impressive strides in his defense make him more than capable in right field; his offensive statistics only took a minor dip compared to 2011.
Weaknesses: His strikeout rate is still high (20.8%) for a guy with a highly regarded hit tool; though he stole 20 bases, he was caught stealing 11 times; his offensive performance the last two years is closer to good than great.
2012 Campaign: In 2012, Drew Vettleson hit .275/.340/.432 with 15 home runs, good for a 117 wRC+. Last year, Vettleson tired out late in the year, hitting for a .581 OPS in August/September. This year, he finished the year off on a better note, with a .737 OPS in the final two months.
Going Forward: Vettleson should being next year with the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs playing right field. He needs to continue to maintain, if not improve, his offensive performance in order to increase his prospect stock. If he hits very well, there is a chance of a promotion to AA sometime during the season, but it is more likely that he gets a full season in Port Charlotte.
#13- Mikie Mahtook, OF (71%)
Strengths: Proximity to the major leagues; solid performance in A+; solid tools across the board.
Weaknesses: His performance in A+ underwhelmed those excited by his AFL stint and reports of polish; his performance in AA was very mediocre; power was less than expected this year; scouting reports and experts seem unenthusiastic about his potential.
2012 Campaign: After exciting fans with his impressive performance in the AFL, Mahtook's .290/.358/.419 performance seemed lackluster in comparison. Things took a turn for the worse after his promotion to AA, where he hit .248/.308/.405. His wRC+ was 120 in A+, but only 98 in AA.
Going Forward: 2012 was a step back for Mahtook. Hitting well and proving that he is an advanced hitter than can make an impact at the major league level would be a welcome sight for Rays' fans. He will start the year in AA, and his performance should dictate whether or not he receives a promotion to Durham. If his performance is exceptional (or the need arises), he might even get a taste of the big leagues late in the year.
Credit for the information and statistics goes to fangraphs.com, baseballreference.com, minorleaguecentral.com, and Baseball America.