Continuing on with our State of the System report. If you missed the infield segment, you can find it here.
The acquisition of Wil Myers was important not just because he figures to provide offense, but because he'll do it nearly immediately at a position of need. True, the Rays major-league outfield of Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, and Ben Zobrist is good, but there's very little depth in case of an injury or Zobrist predominantly playing second base. Brandon Guyer has had the most triple-A success but is coming off major surgery, Sam Fuld is a very capable backup but unless he recreates the legend, he's not an everyday starter. Beyond that, there's Rich Thompson, Stephen Vogt, Nick Weglarz, and Jason Bourgeois and... well, you get the point.
Enter Wil Myers. The short version, since we all looked him up on BaseballAmerica, B-Ref, FanGraphs, Google, and Bing when the Rays got him (just kidding, nobody uses Bing). A third-round pick who got paid like a first, Myers caught in 2009 and 2010. His offense being ahead of his defense, he was moved to the outfield to speed up his timetable, but a knee injury set him back in 2011, where he played in only 99 games and hit just .254. All was right this past season, however, staying healthy and mashing for a .987 OPS. His strikeout rate went up, a probable side-effect of his aiming for more power, but that's about the only nit to pick. Myers isn't on the 40-man roster, but should find his way to St. Pete sometime over the summer.
After two seasons at double-A, Kyeong Kang is ready to make the move to Durham. A dismal 2010 campaign at Charlotte dropped him off many radars, but he rebounded to hit .253/.366/.439 in two years with Montgomery. Not the stuff of legends or even starters, but enough to make you think he could crack a roster someday. Expect to see him along with Weglarz, Bourgeois, and perhaps later on in the year, Mikie Mahtook.
One of the Rays' first-round picks in 2011, Mahtook finally made his official debut in 2012 after appearing in the Arizona Fall League the autumn before. He started with Charlotte before receiving a late-season push to Montgomery, where he'll likely begin 2013. His overall line of .277/.342/.415 isn't bad, but also perhaps not what was expected. He has good, not great tools, and that showed itself: 23 steals, nine home runs, 40 walks/102 strikeouts. All perfectly cromulent numbers but maybe a little short of where you'd like them for a right fielder.
The man who took his spot at Charlotte late last year was Todd Glaesmann, a third-round pick in 2009 who didn't quite get Myers-money, but signed for an above-slot $900,000. He struggled in his first three seasons, failing to post an OPS above .700 in any of them. But 2012 saw a power surge from the 6-4/220 corner outfielder, socking a sytem-leading 21 home runs between Bowling Green and Charlotte. His plate approach could still use some refinement -- a 30/124 BB/K rate in 2012 and an even uglier career number -- but he's got the classic right fielder's tools of power and a big arm. A wide receiver in high school, he's a good athlete as well and actually played center field with the Hot Rods. Though he stole just 8 bases last year, he swiped 19 in 96 games the season before. If he's able to keep up the power while smoothing out the edges in his game, he's a top-10-in-the-system type prospect.
Glaesmann left behind a talented outfield in Bowling Green, one that should catch up to him in Charlotte. Drew Vettleson had a similar season to Mahtook and in some ways is a similar prospect. Vettleson hit .275/.340/.432 with 15 home runs, 20 steals, 50 walks and 117 strikeouts, very good numbers for a 20-year-old in the MWL, but not the wow-he's-crushing-it numbers like Javier Baez and Miguel Sano posted. But Vettleson has solid tools all-around (unlike Sano, who is bat-only) and he'll join Glaesmann right away in Charlotte.
Josh Sale, on the other hand, will have to wait out the remainder of a 50-game suspension. Given all the players who've been suspended (Sale, Ryan Brett, Charlie Cononie, Justin Woodall, and now I believe David Wendt was popped for the same drug) it seems likely that someone gave them something that no one thought would break the rules, and it's not some elaborate PED scandal. But it would be nice to get that cleared up. Anyway, Sale started off in extended spring training, but eased those concerns by crushing the ball when he got to Bowling Green. He cooled off over the summer but finished with a .264/.391/.464 line. The super-high OBP compared to his average is a bit fluky, but drawing walks is certainly an ability he's shown. While he doesn't have any strikeout issues (103 in 134 career games), his .238 batting average is something to improve upon. After a home run barrage to start the year, he hit only four in his final 56 games. 2013 should be an interesting season, and it's too bad we'll need to wait until 2014 for a FULL full season of data.
- Kes Carter dealt with injuries once again, appearing in just 44 games after a shin injury held him to just three in his 2011 debut. At this point, just staying healthy is the main concern.
- Same goes for Granden Goetzman, whose season ended twelve games in on July 2nd. In that span, he hit for an .814 OPS and stole seven bases, so here's hoping we get a full (short-)season's look at him in Hudson Valley.
- Fellow 2011 supplemental pick James Harris struggled again, following a .165/.257/.203 GCL performance with a .182/.284/.282 line in Princeton. He's drawing walks, at least?
- 2012 third-round Andrew Toles got off to a crazy-good start, hitting .375/.402/.580 in July before cooling in August. He's got good tools and could handle Bowling Green.
- Yoel Araujo signed for $800,000 out of the Dominican Republic, and in his stateside debut, hit .286/.339/.410 with the GCL Rays. He drew only six walks, a little weird considering he drew 32 in 57 DSL games in 2011 and was reputed to be a patient hitter. Expect the Rays to keep it slow with him, a Princeton assignment in 2013.
- Elsewhere in the GCL, Bralin Jackson, Clayton Henning, and Johnny Eierman failed to impress, neither hitting for an OPS above .620.