Wednesday, March 17, 2010

RaysProspects 2010 Predictions: Lower-Level Breakout

We tackled the upper levels yesterday, so today we look to the lower levels for a breakout player in 2010:

Cork Gaines: Another player who pitched much better in the second-half was Kyle Lobstein. His FIP was close to 4.00 in the first-half and approximately 2.00 in the second-half. And while those that follow the minor league system closely were not surprised by the strong numbers, this will be the season that more casual observers recognize the talent.

Tommy Rancel: Going back to the Kazmir trade, I think Matt Sweeney, if healthy, could really have a good season and put himself in position to be the heir apparent at first base. I like his power and moving over to first base will help ease any defensive concerns people had at third base. The key for Sweeney is health, but if he's on the diamond, I expect big things.

FreeZorilla: Jason McEachern. Admittedly this is Kevin's train, but I am happy to be on board.

Ricky: Alex Colome. He definitely has the stuff to miss bats and the Rays need someone from their Latin America program to blossom.

Jason Collette:
Jason McEachern. Besides the great first name, I love his 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio to date in his minor league career and he did all of that before turning 19. I think he's the next guy prospect pundits are raving about from the Rays system in 2010.

Jake Larsen: My lower-level "breakout" player is Hector Guevara. While I don't think he's going to stay long-term at SS, his bat will impress no matter. He's going to make his US debut in 2010 and should only continue to bash the ball like he did in 2009 playing in Summer Leagues.

Doug Milhoan: When the Rays drafted Tyler Bortnick in the 16th round last June out of Coastal Carolina University my reaction was pretty much limited to "well, at least this pick will sign." Now he's one of the top players I'm looking forward to following this season as he heads to Bowling Green. Why? He's the complete package: offense, defense, athleticism, and character. Offensively, last season at Hudson Valley he batted .300/.386/.470 with 24 steals and hit righthanders equally as well as lefties. He was reportedly timed at 6.7 in the 60 in college, so he should continue to be a threat on the basepaths. TheHardballTimes ranked Bortnick the top defensive collegiate shortstop for 2007-8 and he didn't disappoint in the New York-Penn League, displaying a strong arm, solid glove and fluid movement. All reports I've heard say he's a great teammate, a guy who helps younger players any way he can and a leader in the clubhouse. He's blocked at shortstop by Tim Beckham at Charlotte and Shawn O'Malley at Montgomery, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's moved to second if promoted mid-season.

Kevin Gengler:
I see Ty Morrison having a big season for Hudson Valley. He showed good speed and patience at the plate with Princeton in 2009, but his bat still needs work. A raw talent, he has good contact and some power potential, and I think he'll start to tap into that in 2010. The New York-Penn League(and HV) have historically favored pitchers, but Morrison will emerge as a top hitting prospect for the Rays.


  1. All good pics IMO. Jason picks a Jason = more J bias. :) And KG DIDN'T pick McEachern???

    If we judge this by who moves up the most on the rankings this time next year, I'd say Cork or Jake have the inside track, but Tommy's flier on Sweeney could edge them. Ricky's pick is solid, but Colome is already pretty high up on most.

  2. How about Zach Quate?

  3. Quate didn't get a mention here but he did make our Honorable Mentions for pitchers. You can read that here:

  4. Doug, where do you think Quate will start the season, Bowling Green or Charlotte?

  5. I'd guess BG to start with a bump to Charlotte later. Depends on spots available, I think he'd do fine starting off at Charlotte. The Rays don't follow as strict of a schedule with relievers as they do starters, so either is possible.

  6. zach quate has a nasty slider and is trying to teach mceachern it too

  7. I believe Yan Gomes is going to be a stud in the majors before too long! Also, hopefully the Rays will trade Evan Longoria before his offense starts to slip. Using the WASSA statistic, I see now that Evan Longoria is one of the most lucky hitters in baseball since his debut.

  8. You have to be kidding. Really. Longo will not hit.