Back in March, we polled the Rays blogosphere for predictions about the 2010 season in the minors. Now that it's October and the minor-league season is in the rear-view mirror, it's time to take a look back and laugh at stupid things we all said. The panelists were: Cork Gaines from RaysIndex, Tommy Rancel then of DRaysBay, now at The Process Report, FreeZorilla from DRaysBay, Jason Collette from DockOfTheRays and The Process Report, Ricky/RZ from DRaysBay, and Jake Larsen, Doug Milhoan, and Kevin Gengler from RaysProspects.
Today we'll look at who we selected to have a breakout season at a lower level of the system. You can view the original post with our explanations here or check out the CliffsNotes version below...
Cork: Kyle Lobstein
Tommy: Matt Sweeney
FreeZo: Jason McEachern
Ricky: Alex Colome
Jason: Jason McEachern
Jake: Hector Guevara
Doug: Tyler Bortnick
Kevin: Ty Morrison
Kyle Lobstein finished strong down the stretch for the Hudson Valley Renegades in 2009, but couldn't translate that into success in 2010. His K/9 fell from 9.1 to 7.8 while his BB/9 rose from 2.8 to 3.3. While his ERA was nearly identical, his second-half numbers were better: A 77-27 K-BB in 80.2 IP vs. 51-27 K-BB in 67.1 IP. He's a flyball-heavy pitcher, and his 14 HRs allowed in 148 innings is actually a little low for the number of flyballs allowed. If there is a silver lining it's that he was healthy the whole year, and his 148 innings pitched ranked 4th in the league. His stuff hasn't come all the way back to what it was when he was a top HS arm, but he's very athletic which could help him get it back. Verdict: No breakout.
Matt Sweeney was covered in the upper-level breakout post as well, so I won't re-hash my comments. To Tommy's credit, he did say that health was the key for Sweeney, and injuries certainly played a part in his rough 2010 season. Verdict: No breakout.
Jason McEachern was a favorite of mine going into the 2010 season, though it was FreeZo and Jason Collette who tabbed him here. As one of the younger players in the Midwest League, he never got on track and struggled to a 5.68 ERA. His K/BB rate, 5.17 in 2009, fell to 1.58. He got hit hard, allowing 10.7 hits per 9 innings as well as 20 long balls. Lefties particularly gave him problems, hitting .328 off him. He'll be back with Bowling Green in 2011. Verdict: No breakout.
Alex Colome, selected by Ricky, is the closest thing we have to a winner here. While he had a nice season, including 118 strikeouts in 114 innings with Bowling Green, it sort of seems like he could've been better given the reports on his stuff. He was dominant at times, though, including a brief time with Charlotte, and his walk rate improved from 2009. Verdict: Not a breakout, but a nice season.
Hector Guevara was one of the youngest players in the Appalachian League, and it showed early on. He hit .179 and .211 in his first two months with Princeton, but closed strong by hitting .295 in August. He showed plus contact skills, striking out only 31 times in 64 games, and also stole 9 bases. His discipline and power were somewhat absent, not uncommon for a player his age. Verdict: No breakout.
Tyler Bortnick rebounded from a slow start to put up a line with Bowling Green that was almost the same as his 2009 line with Hudson Valley. He hit .303 in BG (.300 in HV) and finished with an .859 OPS there (.856 in HV). He showed a good eye at the plate, drawing 68 walks against 77 strikeouts, and also stole 41 bases between Bowling Green and 12 games with Charlotte. Verdict: No breakout, but a very nice season.
Ty Morrison was another member of the slow-start club. In April, he hit .129/.156/.161. He rebounded in May and June before sinking again in July, but rebounded again in August. In May/June/August, he showed off his potential: he hit .296 with 30 extra-base hits (including 5 of his 6 home runs). His walk total progressed throughout the year: From just one in April, 5 in May, and 8 in June to 12 in July and 14 in August. He also stole 58 bases while being caught only 10 times. Verdict: No breakout, but showed some promise.
Check back tomorrow for a review of our "most overhyped" predictions!