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 wildcard predictions, where panelists could predict whatever they wanted.. You can view the original post with our explanations here or check out the CliffsNotes version below...
Cork predicted that Jake McGee would fill the David Price role in September. He was sort of right; McGee did come up and pitch out of the bullpen late in the season. However, he didn't make the post-season roster. Cork also thought there was a chance Jeremy Hellickson wouldn't make his big-league debut until 2011, but injuries to Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis created the opening for him.
Tommy also predicted Jake McGee would transition to the bullpen, and pretty much nailed it. He began the year as a starter, moved to the bullpen, and was a September call-up.
FreeZo predicted Durham would run wild over the International League, which they did until losing much of their core in Dan Johnson, Jeremy Hellickson, and Desmond Jennings to the big leagues. He also predicted improvements offensively and defensively for Tim Beckham, which I suppose it up for debate. Beckham walked more but the rest of his batting line wasn't great, and reviews of his defense remain lukewarm at best.
Ricky went 2 for 3 in predicting Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres, and Matt Sweeney would each have great years. Rodriguez proved to be a valuable utility player for the Rays, Torres built on his 2009 success and was very good with Montgomery, but Sweeney had a down season with the bat and was hampered by injuries.
Jason predicted Matt Moore would either lead the 2011 prospect list or drop off it, which would be true if Jeremy Hellickson had passed the threshold for prospect eligibility. Instead, I would have to guess that Moore will place either #2 or 3 on most lists, depending on where the list-maker puts Desmond Jennings.
Jake predicted Matt Sweeney would become Carlos Pena's heir apparent. Oops. To Jake's credit, he did correctly predict the signing of J.J. Ruiz.
Doug thought D.J. Jones would work his way back onto the prospect radar. Instead, Jones opted to retire from professional baseball just before the start of the season.
Kevin thought that Matt Bush would enter the conversation for set-up role/closer for late 2011 and while a sore arm limited his time in 2010, I still think it will happen. Much of the Rays bullpen is departing this off-season, and they'll be looking for cheap arms. Bush struck out 20 and walked 3 in 13.2 innings between the GCL and FSL, and while that's hardly a meaningful sample size, it's still nice. Hopefully healthy, my expectation is he starts 2011 in Charlotte's bullpen and finishes it either with Durham or with Tampa Bay.
Thanks again to all the panelists who took part in our survey!