Last month, I reviewed my personal top 30 list, and starting this week, Michael and I are coming down to your office to heckle you. Actually, I voted in a lot of these polls as did Michael, so we had a hand in the results too. This ranking is from about 11 months ago, so the focus will mostly be on how these players did relative to expectations. I'll start with 20 players here.
50. Damion Carroll, RHP- The back of these lists are often stocked with three kinds of players: lottery tickets, former top prospects with good pedigrees just trying to hang on and overachieving players lacking tools. Carroll falls into that first group, but injuries limited him to just 2.1 innings in 2013. His impressive velocity might be enough to keep him at the back of this list in 2014.
49. Grayson Garvin, LHP- Garvin fits into the second group described above. A poor, injury-shortened 2012 had the former first rounder on a short leash heading into 2013. He finally came back from Tommy John surgery late in the season and pitched 28.1 innings. He could certainly fall off the upcoming list completely, but a strong Arizona Fall League campaign could help.
48. Ryan Carpenter, LHP- Carpenter formerly fell into the third group, and his size and strike throwing ability even led one awful writer to still rank him in his top 30 going into 2013. The community clearly projected his performance going better forward than I did. He gave up 14 home runs in 117.2 innings, or in other words, about 50% of the home runs hit in the Florida State League last year.
47. Roberto Gomez, RHP- Gomez was on the fringe of Baseball America's top 30 list but came up short. He still threw a lot of strikes, but batters had better luck hitting him. Even in his breakout 2012 with Bowling Green, he didn't miss many bats, and he missed fewer with Charlotte in 2013. He could pitch better out of the bullpen though, and we'll see if he remains on this list.
46. Wilking Rodriguez, RHP- Rodriguez was once on the team's 40 man roster, but injuries have limited him to just 43 innings over the last two seasons. With his impressive stuff, fans kept giving him chances on these lists, but I'm not sure how many lives he has left in rankings season if he can't get on the field.
45. Nolan Gannon, RHP- Gannon is another lottery ticket drafted two rounds ahead of Carroll in 2012. He struggled in 40 innings with Princeton this year, but he's young and has good size and some fastball projection. It's too soon to give up on him, and he did do a good job throwing strikes with a 6.1% walk rate.
44. Kirby Yates, RHP- For a couple years now, Yates has been one of the great strikeout artists against right handed batters, and those impressive strikeout rates got the attention of the community. He should be higher on this list in the next edition thanks to a great 2013 season where he posted his best strikeout and walk rates since his pro debut in 2009. He'll be on the Rule 5 bubble this off-season.
43. Jake Floethe, RHP- Floethe was a pretty standard college strike thrower last year with Bowling Green, and that earned him this spot in this list. His ERA with Charlotte in 2013 was still decent at 3.56, but his strikeout rate and walk rate both went the wrong way. He lacks the stuff to return to his success of last year in higher levels and may not be on this list again.
42. C.J. Riefenhauser, LHP- Riefenhauser has always been a pretty steady performer, but his numbers were brought down by unsuccessful stints in the starting rotation. He was a reliever all the way in 2013, and it should earn him looks for the Rays' bullpen moving forward. Across two levels, he struck out nearly 25% of his opponents and over 40% of lefties.
41. Kes Carter, OF- We finally arrive at the first position player on the list, the oft-injured, former first rounder Carter. His draft status left many fans holding out hope, but he did very little to justify that in a healthy 2013 with Charlotte. He batted just .235 with an OBP below .300 as a 23 year old in the Florida State League. Perhaps he can improve if he stays on the field on a more consistent basis.
40. Lenny Linsky, RHP- Linsky is another underwhelming former top pick that's dealt with injuries, but his performance remained uninspiring in 2013. His strikeout rate remained low for a relief prospect, and he hasn't generated the amount of ground balls he was expected to. Relief prospects are supposed to move fast, but that hasn't been the case here.
39. Bralin Jackson, CF- Jackson is another athlete that the organization hopes break out one day, but that day wasn't in 2013. He batted just .216, and obviously making better contact has to be the goal for him in the future. It is encouraging that he was able to raise his walk rate to 7.4%, but he still has a lot of work to do.
38. Alejandro Segovia, 1B- Once again, Segovia was one of the better power hitters in the organization, but a move to first base didn't do any favors for his value. His ISO was down from .257 last year to .176 this year, but a lot of that could've been a product of playing in the FSL. His average was up from .269 to .281, but that could've been a product of a 44 point spike in BABIP.
37. Spencer Edwards, SS- Edwards was another athlete the Rays took early in the 2012 draft (second round, to be exact). He made some strides with Princeton compared to his pro debut, but he's a long way away from ever making an impact. He batted just .227 with an improved 7.0% walk rate, but he still struck out far too much for a singles hitter. He did steal 13 bases in 16 attempts.
36. Jose Mujica, RHP- Mujica was a seven figure signing from Venezuela last year, but the community wanted to see some results on the field before placing him higher on the list. In limited action with the GCL Rays, he walked just 2.2% of his opponents, not surprising considering he was believed to be advanced as a 16 year old. He's probably a top 30 prospect now.
35. Nick Sawyer, RHP- In his 2012 pro debut, Sawyer posted some comic book numbers across three levels, striking out 49.6% of his opponents in 32 innings. He was a 40th round pick though, and the community was skeptical, which is quite fair. Baseball America notes that his fastball and breaking ball are both plus pitches, but he's a small, max effort pitcher who walked 22.3% of his opponents in 2013.
34. Yoel Araujo, OF- Araujo is another high dollar lottery ticket the community thought might break out, but it didn't happen in 2013 with Princeton. No longer buoyed by a BABIP over .400, his average dropped 63 points to .223. He was expected to be a good athlete with an advanced plate approach, but he owns a 29.1% strikeout rate in U.S. leagues and isn't a factor on the bases.
33. Cole Figueroa, IF- The pendulum swings back to an older, less toolsy player in Figueroa. Joe Maddon believes he could be a major leaguer, and I'm inclined to agree. He walked 54 times compared to just 30 strikeouts in 2013, can play multiple positions, makes solid contact and can steal a base or two. He could be a top 30 prospect in the organization.
32. Robinson Chirinos, C- Chirinos is now in the Rangers organization, but if we pretend he was never waived, his stock would probably be up. His 2013 season was pretty similar to his 2011 with Durham, and that's impressive considering the concussion issues he had to deal with for a year. He still has prospect eligibility, but it's understandable if no one wants to put a 30 year old on a prospect list.
31. Jeff Malm, 1B- The bar for first base prospects at the plate is very high, and Malm hasn't quite had the breakout to reach that bar despite three years now of solid numbers. His ISO dipped for the second straight year, as did his walk rate. He only batted .239, and he only had 36 extra base hits. That's not enough power for a first base prospect who probably can't play outfield regularly.