Monday, March 16, 2009

RaysProspects Predictions: Most Overhyped

Which prospect do you think is the best bet to have his stock fall a lot in 2009? Alternatively, this could mean which prospect do you think is most overhyped coming into 2009?

Cork Gaines: Desmond Jennings. I don't know how long Desmond Jennings can continue to sit at the top of different prospect charts despite the fact that he has never done anything. He is 22 and only has 24 games above low-A. The guy has a world of physical abilities and appears to have solid baseball instincts. But if he is going to justify his top 5 rankings he will need a huge 2009.

Tommy Rancel: Like many others, I think 2009 is the biggest year of Reid Brignac's career. He'll be repeating AAA and should be pushing for the starting job this year. However, if he has another offensive season like 2008, we'll be talking about him as a utility guy and asking why didn't the Rays pull the trigger on trading him earlier? I still hold out hope that he is better than 2008, but not quite as good as 2006, but with improved defense.

R.J. Anderson: Probably Brignac unless he goes bonkers offensively. Defense doesn’t seem to lead to higher prospect ratings.

RaysParty: His name has been mentioned a little more this year than years past. Desmond Jennings is the most talented outfielder and second most talented player (Beckham) of the Rays prospects in the organization. His talents will take him far but his health is a major concern and his main goal is to stay healthy the entire year. I do not see his stock fall, if not actually jump up, but he has been over hyped a little and we must see a full season from him in order to fully evaluate his potential as a Major Leaguer.

Tyler Hissey: After watching Christopher Mason and Ryan Royster have their prospect stock fall so dramatically last year, hopefully the organization will have better luck on this front in ’09. If I had to choose one candidate, though, it would have to be Alex Cobb. Cobb posted a solid 3.29 ERA in the Sally League, but his peripherals were not nearly as impressive. As Kevin mentioned in his write-up, a low K rate does not necessarily preclude success, but his ceiling is fairly limited if does not add a few ticks on his heater. As he starts facing more advanced hitters, he could really run into some difficulties, and, though he has youth on his side, it would not be a surprise to see him fall off the Rays’ Top 20 in the next few years.

Brickhaus: Desmond Jennings. If he spends half the year injured again, he's probably pretty close to being done as a prospect. Also, the fact that he has spent so much time off the field might mean that his development would lag a bit. Kyle Lobstein could also go from being draft pick we all like to non-prospect if he pitches like he did towards the end of his high school career rather than like he did during showcase season.

Doug Milhoan: Fernando Perez. Love the guy, love the athleticism. But I think 2009 is the year we realize he's 'definitely' a 4th outfielder, still a valuable big leaguer, but not an everyday player. I know he's not expected to be an 'everyday player' this year. What I mean is if there is an major injury this year or as a long term replacement for Crawford in left or Upton in center. I can't get past 156 strikeouts in 511 AB's at AAA in 2008. Major league pitchers, with their advanced talent and access to scouting reports, would eat him alive in an everyday role. My second pick is RHSP Alex Cobb. I've covered this before, but despite his youth (age 21 season in '09), the low SO rate (6.3 at Columbus last year) and high HR rate (16 in 139.2 IP), along with his lack of projection makes a 'fall' very possible with the Charlotte Stone Crabs this year.

Kevin Gengler: I'm going with Tim Beckham. I know, I know, he was the #1 pick and has some good tools, but he's still pretty raw and quite frankly I'm not completely sold on his tools. I think his swing needs a lot of work, he probably won't steal a lot of bases in the future, and he probably won't hit for a lot of power either. Now, is a .290 hitter with solid shortstop defense valuable? Sure, but I would've drafted Pedro Alvarez or Justin Smoak over him, and despite the fact that I ranked him pretty highly on our prospect lists, I think he's getting too much respect out there.


  1. I hate to say it, but the first name that came to my head when I saw the question was Tim Beckham. I think this year is a make or break year for him. In the sense that he needs to justify being picked #1 overall. If he has a bad year(compared to expectations) it will be one of those picks that we talk about who we could have had instead e.g. Alvarez, Matusz, Posey, Smoak, Hosmer

  2. nothing against Beckham,but I was hoping for Posey last year.but still most overatted has to be Brignac.He hit .250 last year and strikeouts way to much.his only bright side is defense

  3. This is an excellent feature. Thanks for doing it.

  4. and what are expectations for Beckham anyways?Are we talking .280,.300,or lower(higher),with 10 or more HRs and 20 + stolen bases or what?

  5. First anonymous here. I was answering the question Who's stock could fall the most not who is the most overrated. I think those are two very different questions.

    I don't have any certain "numbers" that Beckham needs to achieve for me to consider the year a success or failure. I am just saying I think at the end of this season we will know if he should have been the #1 pick or not. - Sveet

  6. Sveet - I agree. If the question had been posed as to which prospect is currently the most overrated, I would have said Reid Brignac. I'm in the minority, but I see him as a little below average all the way around.

    Poster #4 - Are you talking eventual major league projections, or statistics for next year? It's impossible to tell next year right now if for no other reason that he'll be playing in a new stadium, and nobody knows whether that stadium will favor hitting or pitching. Long-term, I think .280/15/30 with good defense and good patience at the plate would make people very happy.

    - Brick

  7. Man you folks are tough. Beckham is only 19 and his stock is rising. At 23, Brignac is close to peaking. If he bombs in AAA this year, his career is seriously damaged. But the one whose on the bubble is Desmond J. At 22 and no record, IMO, he is 2 years away from simply being released.

  8. Those who think Brignac is about to tail off are absolutely correct. It's time to work a trade to get him off the Rays radar. Same with Wade Davis, who will never be an impact arm at the MLB level. That's all there is to it.

    As for Tim ... he was the right guy in the right situation. Buster Posey wanted a ridiculous payday if he was No. 1 overall. Pedro Alvarez was a Scott Boras advisee (the Rays don't do business with Boras if they can help it).

    Certainly there are others who were drafted behind Beckham who are capable of becoming much better players - even in the Rays' own draft picks in later rounds (Jake Jefferies ... Jason Tweedy ... Jason Corder ... Matt Gorgen ... Niel Schenk ... Josh Satow...).

    However, the Rays have an insurance policy on Tim that many fail to recognize - Jeremy Beckham. Thing is, Jeremy is pretty good at playing baseball. And Tim is MUCH more likely to succeed and deal with things with his older brother there with him as he moves through the system.

    It's no mistake Jeremy was promoted from Princeton to Hudson Valley two weeks ahead of Tim last season.

    Look for Tim to start the season in Bowling Green and then move down to Hudson Valley for seasoning. Yes, the NYPL is a short-season league. But let's not forget they are a very OLD short-season league in terms of players. And Hudson Valley plays in a division against the Mets' and Yankees' affiliates - both of which are NOTORIOUS for loading their rosters with struggling Double-A guys or decent High-A guys. Tim will see top talent in the Penn League ... and it may provide him a chance to really get comfortable with himself as a player.

    The sooner he can shake the No. 1 mantra, the sooner he can get to business playing baseball and succeed.

    But for 2009, he'll be one of the least-productive players from the first round of the 2008 draft when it comes to posting numbers.