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Countdown to Opening Day: FOUR Rays can’t-miss prospects who missed

Because prospects will break your heart

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game 3 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

We don’t mean to be glass half full types here, because Opening Day is all about endless possibilities.

But if you’ve been a baseball fan for any length of time, there will be some prospects you have followed through the minors — heck, you may have celebrated their draft day — who you were sure would be impact players and then they weren’t.

Let’s be clear, that the real disappointment belongs to the player: he’s the one who spent his young years taking BP or throwing bullpens and who maybe had to rethink his entire life when baseball didn’t work out. We’re very much bystanders in this tale.

Nonetheless we as fans are likely to get attached to interesting prospects, and we also remember, and suffer vicariously when their careers fizzle.

For my list, I’m not including players who struggled with serious injury (e.g. Brent Honeywell) and instead going with some who just didn’t meet high expectations despite reasonably good health. And I’m not including a few who failed to meet very high expectations but who nonetheless have stuck around to have reasonably decent multiyear careers in major league baseball — e.g. two Rays ROYs, Jeremy Hellickson and Wil Myers. I’m also leaving off any players who still have prospect status. You all may well make other choices for your lists.

  • Reid Brignac — I don’t know if it was true, but there were rumors that the Rays never completed the 2008 trade for Jason Bay because they didn’t want to part with Briggy, that’s how well regarded he was. Also his entire family drove to spring training every year in trucks to provide a full Cajun meal to everyone in camp.
  • Jacob Faria — He had such an outstanding debut and seemed like a lovely guy. I’m sorry he hasn’t been able to stick.
  • Richie Shaffer, for a very pretty swing, and for everything about this first major league hit moment:
  • Tim Beckham. Sigh.