It's that time again; that time to look back and laugh at how bad all of our pre-season predictions were. Today we'll tackle the issue of upper-level breakouts (eligible was any prospect without full-season experience). There are probably four or five correct answers here. Drew Vettleson and Ryan Brett had the best seasons of the 2010 high school draftees, each topping an .800 OPS at Princeton while higher picks Josh Sale and Justin O'Conner struggled. Derek Dietrich, another 2010 guy, clobbered the Midwest League and deserved a promotion. Jeff Malm had a gangbusters month of July but finished ice cold. He finished with a .382 OBP. And Enny Romero struck out 140 in 144 innings, though his 5.4 BB/9 may prevent his season from being considered a breakout. At any rate, here's what the Rays' blogosphere thought before the season (original post with full explanations here):
R.J. Anderson picked Luke Bailey, although he wasn't expecting Bailey to jump from the GCL to Bowling Green. Still, with a .223/.294/.385 line, it's tough to see his season as anything bit a disappointment, especially with a promising April. The 18-89 BB-K in 74 games is of particular concern.
Jason Collette thought Enny Romero was too obvious (so partial credit there) so he went with teammate Braulio Lara. He showed a firm fastball, but his 4.94 ERA and K-BB rate just about 2.00 didn't impress, particularly for a 22-year-old in the Midwest League.
FreeZorilla also mentioned Enny Romero as an already-broken-out player and chose Andrew Bellatti. He didn't quite break out, but a solid season at Hudson Valley (2.62 ERA, 63-23 K-BB in 72 innings) has kept him relevant and perhaps primed for a big 2012.
Cork Gaines tabbed Jake Thompson, noting his terrific strikeout-to-walk rate in his 2010 debut. Thompson battled through injuried to post a sub-3.00 ERA, but his strikeout rate was just 4.4 per 9 innings. It will be interesting next year to see if his peripherals improve to match his ERA, or his ERA drops to match the peripherals; or if he can maintain success with a sub-average K-BB rate.
Kevin Gengler (that would be me) picked Hector Guevara, who had his second straight poor season in the United States after a strong showing in the VSL (let that be a warning to those chugging the Oscar Hernandez Kool-Aid). Injuries didn't help, but he hasn't come close to showing the power he did in 2009.
Erik Hahmann went with Josh Sale, who didn't meet expectations in his debut with a .210/.289/.346 line. His walk and strikeout rates weren't terrible, but he struggled all season with making hard contact.
Jason Hanselman picked Justin O'Conner, who made hard contact... when he made contact. O'Conner struck out an astonishing 78 times in 48 games, leading to a .157/.234/.354 season. Of his 28 hits, eight were doubles and nine were home runs.
Jake Larsen correctly identified Ryan Brett as a "sparkplug-to-be," and he delivered with a .300/.371/.471 line along with 21 steals against 3 times caught. Brett walked more times than he struck out in 61 games (26-24).
Mike Lortz also went with Josh Sale, getting things backwards. He thought Sale would struggle with plate discipline but otherwise live up the hype, but Sale drew a decent number of walks.
Doug Milhoan joined with Cork in taking Jake Thompson. Given his weird stats, it'll be interesting to hear reports on his stuff when off-season lists come out.
Tommy Rancel hit with Derek Dietrich, noting his above-average power for an infielder. Dietrich proved him right by leading the system in home runs. 2012 will be a big year for Dietrich as he faces more advanced pitching and presumably moves off of SS.
Steve Slowinski went furthest off the board with Phil Wunderlich. He showed some decent power with 17 HRs, but didn't quite mash the way 1B prospects need to.