Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 Predictions Review: Most Over-Hyped

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 thought was the most over-hyped prospect. You can view the original post with our explanations here or check out the CliffsNotes version below...

Cork: Matt Sweeney
Tommy: Matt Moore
FreeZo: Alex Torres
Ricky: Desmond Jennings
Jason: Matt Moore
Jake: Aneury Rodriguez
Doug: Tim Beckham
Kevin: Alex Torres/Matt Sweeney

Matt Sweeney would certainly qualify as a correct pick here, as he's gone from 2010 top prospect lists to 2011 prospect rebound lists. He hit well with Charlotte, but injuries and performance rendered him ineffective with Montgomery. While he did play at 3rd base, his future might still be across the diamond at 1st, and there are plenty of questions about his bat.

Matt Moore seems like a foolish pick now, but there were definitely very valid concerns about him before the season. For the first month and a half, it seemed things had caught up to him some, before he seemingly flipped the switch and ran roughshod over the Florida State League, racking up the most strikeouts in the minors since 2002. The only things left for Moore to prove are 1) that he can show the control he did in the second half for an entire season and 2) that he can get higher-level hitters out. That's about it.

Alex Torres was a guy I had real concerns about entering the season, but he did enough to start to make me a believer. His K/9 and BB/9 numbers both improved from 2009, and he hasn't realy shown any signs of injury despite his small frame. With a chance for three plus pitches, he just needs to finish ironing out his command.

Desmond Jennings is an interesting pick to review. On the one hand, he showed a lot of the tools that made him a top-10 prospect, but on the other hand, I think it's fair to say that he didn't quite live up to the expectations for the 2010 season. The spring training wrist injury may have dampened his numbers a little bit, particularly in the power department. You won't find many people down on Jennings, but expectations for his eventual ceiling may have been lowered a bit.

Aneury Rodriguez was close to the same pitcher he had been in the past, but spots of trouble throughout the year led to demotions to the bullpen and, briefly, Montgomery. Rodriguez has stalled a bit as a prospect since coming to the Rays for Jason Hammel, and a move to the bullpen may be permanent with the wave of talent behind him.

Tim Beckham is somewhat of a tired subject, but it's impossible to say he's lived up to expectations, especially compared to what other top picks from the 2008 draft are doing (*cough*BusterPosey*cough*). He made progress in some areas, particularly his isolated discipline improving from roughly .050 to .090, but a .256/.346/.359 line leaves a lot to be desired. After hitting 4 home runs in the month of May, Beckham didn't hit another the rest of the season. If his power is what it is, or improves marginally, he probably needs to be a .300 hitter rather than a .256 hitter to be on the top prospect radar.

Check back Monday for our last installment, we'll recap our wildcard make-a-prediction-about-anything predictions!


  1. Just thought I'd jump in and say how much I'm enjoying this review.

  2. I'm also enjoying this review. Thank you.

  3. Thanks Chris and Anon, you're welcome to join in the predictions for 2011 Chris!

    As far as Beckham, yes, I picked the low-hanging fruit. But he was BA's #2 in 2009 and #6 in 2010, I see that as over-hyped in light of his performance offensively and defensively.

    And I understand the young-for-his-level argument. I feel sorry for him in a way. Let's say he was Joe Beckham and was drafted in the 30th round for a 25k bonus. He would have probably signed quickly (or gone to college) and been sent to Princeton (as he did in the real world). Given his performance, he probably would have started 2009 at Princeton again and possibly moved up to HV (real world he went to full-season Bowling Green). Depending on how he did he may have begun 2010 again at HV as a 20 year-old facing more age-appropriate competition.

    Heading into 2011 as a 21 year-old he'd be in Bowling Green. Still young for the league, but not rushed and most likely with much better career stats.

    Joe Beckham would probably be being discussed as a possible breakout given his nice stats and youth. Instead he's a 'bust' because the Rays picked him #1 and paid him $6.5M.

    So I do feel for him to a point, it's hard to live up to those expectations. And I still feel we need to give him a full 2011 season before the word 'bust' is attached to his name, and even then it may be too soon.

    But then again, would you rather be Joe Beckham with 25k and the 'breakout' label, or Tim Beckham with 6.5M and the 'bust' label?

  4. Not sure where to post this in a recent post so I'll drop it in here, from today's BA chat:

    JAYPERS (IL): Why couldn't the Rays and Austin Wood come to terms?

    John Manuel: Probably because Austin Wood over-priced himself after performing well in the Cape. I'm not the biggest Austin Wood backer, he just seems like an arm-strength RHP to me. Jim thinks more highly of him though considering how he went to the Cape Cod League and kind of tore it up. My retort would be, small sample size. He has size and arm strength, but I see him as a reliever all the way and thought the Rays did too. I am very interested to see how he does at USC.

    Back to Doug: Agree with John on this, not the scouting (wasn't there), but the bonus leverage aspect of it. Of course, I still don't understand why we spent for Hahn either, seems an unnecessary risk, but hope it turns out well.

  5. Matt Moore? Oops. At least I wasn't alone.