Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Rays Prospect Predictions: Most Over-Hyped Prospect

Every year here at RP, we send a survey around to Rays bloggers around the net to get their predictions on the upcoming season. This year's panel: Steve Slowinski, Jason Collette, rglass44, and mr. maniac from DRaysBay, John Gregg from Rays Digest, Tommy Rancel from ESPN Florida, Sandy Kazmir from OTTOTD, and Doug, BurGi, Scott, and myself from RaysProspects.

Today's question: Who is the most over-hyped prospect in the system?

Steve Slowinski: This might come off as a bit strange, but I'm beginning to grow skeptical of Chris Archer. While he certainly has the potential to become a front of the rotation starter, I'm not sure I see him ever reaching that potential. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches, but he still struggles with his command and he doesn't have a reliable third offering. Especially with the depth of pitching in the Rays' system, I could easily see him ending up in the bullpen if he doesn't show much improvement this season in his control, or if his change-up continues to lag behind his other pitches. And considering Archer is rated by Baseball America as the #3 prospect in the Rays' system...yes, I'd consider him overrated.

Jason Collette: I have my concerns about Derek Dietrich. Yes, he hits for good power, but he should as a guy with his collegiate pedigree while playing a full season of baseball in Low A ball. That said, there are holes in his swing. He made 11% less contact when swinging at strikes in the zones than the league average and made 12% less contact that the rest of the league when swinging at pitches. Now, he makes the jump to the FSL where the parks are bigger and pitchers have better stuff. He's not going to stick at shortstop so he'll have to hit with power to stick at a corner infield or outfield spot. I have a hunch he will struggle to get out of AA ball in his career.

mr. maniac: I believe Alex Torres is the most overhyped prospect in the Rays minor league system. His pure stuff probably ranks only behind Matt Moore's in the system. However, his lack of command will force him into relief, where is stuff will play well, but not exceptionally. I tend to prefer relievers with a dominant fastball over those with several good offspeed pitches.

Ryan Glass: Oscar Hernandez by a mile, but he doesn't really count because no one knows anything about him. This is a tough one for me because I'm a big optimist on prospects knowing that even the best ones don't live up to expectations, but I think Alex Torres is a bit overrated right now. Some people think he could step in to a big league rotation and be a good middle of the rotation starter. I do think he could have success immediately in the bigs, but his stuff will never fully translate because of command/control issues (see Garza as a better version).

John Gregg: Oscar Hernandez --- No one is more guilty of hyping Hernandez than I am, but the fact remains that until he shows something in the States against better competition, that his numbers in the VSL are relatively meaningless. The power potential and catch-and-throw ability seem legit, but the results  may not match the expectations initially until he gets adjusted to better quality pitching in the US.

Tommy Rancel: For the most part I think expectations for this current group are tempered. That said, I think people may be expecting too much too soon from Matt Moore. I still believe he is the best and most advanced pitching prospect in team history and will be a dominant starter at some point, but it seems as if some expect him to be that right off the bat in 2012.

Sandy Kazmir: Hak-Ju Lee seems to be getting a ton of love after an absolutely scorching start in Charlotte in 2011. His defense at shortstop elevates his floor to a likely useful player in MLB someday, but the biggest questions revolving around his bat are which was the mirage in 2011, his:

A: .318/.389/.443 with 16% strikeout rate in 454 PAs in A+ ball


B: .190/.272/.310 with 19% strikeout rate in 114 PAs in AA Montgomery

Some like to make excuses that he was tired due to a bout of chicken pox prior to the season, but it's more likely that he is neither as good as he was in A+ nor as bad as he was in AA.  That leaves a lot of mystery about who he actually is at the plate and that's enough for me to question whether he's truly the second best prospect in all of the Rays farm system.  Doubly so when looking at all that raw talent just bubbling and brewing in the lowest levels of the minors.

BurGi: Tough question. I'll answer with two names here: Firstly, I do have Jake Hager much lower on my board (29th; behind fellow '11 draftees Goeddel, Goetzman, Linsky and Eierman) than the industry consensus (13th) and my colleagues here at RaysProspects (between 13 and 17). Secondly, regarding the fan base, I think Henry Wrigley. I don't have anything against him, but he seems a bit overhyped in the fan base.

Doug Milhoan: RHP Chris Archer, who BA ranks as the Rays #3 prospect entering this season. He walked 5.3 batters per nine between Montgomery and Durham last year, which was only a tenth higher than his career 5.2/9 over six seasons. Because of baserunners (he allowed 9.0 hits/9 last year too) he'll end up a reliever, probably not in 2012 but eventually, and will not be a top 10 prospect entering 2013.

Scott Grauer: Chris Archer.  Not that he doesn’t have the stuff, but in his career he’s had more bad innings than good, and it’s time for him to show why he’s held in high regard. In a very, very brief stint with Durham to finish 2011, his walk rate was down at a slightly more manageable 4.2 per 9, but with the organizational depth at pitcher, he’ll be headed to the bullpen soon if he doesn’t improve quickly.

Kevin Gengler: Chris Archer, although there's definitely less shine on him now than at this point last year. In his minor-league career, he's only had two stops where he posted a BB/9 under 4.0: Repeating the GCL in 2007 and repeating the Florida State League in 2010. He's only 23 and he's athletic so there's hope there, but he needs to throw more strikes in 2012 to remain a future rotation candidate.


  1. @ Jason I dont think anyone agrees with you about Derek Dietrich. The kid has scouts loving his swing and he has tremendous power and work ethic. I do agree he will end up at 3rd or 2nd base but everything else youve said is like a clown move.

    1. You may be right that Dietrich is well-regarded and has tremendous power and a great work ethic. But I don't see how what you say disputes Jason's points. As I understand them, Jason says:

      1. He is old for his league (implying his numbers may be misleading). Isn't that a true and meaningful concern?

      2. He showed some problems making contact. Isn't that true? And isn't there evidence that hitters who have problems making contact at the lower levels often have trouble as they move up?

      3. He is moving to a more pitcher friendly environment this season and combined with the likelihood that he also will move off SS, his hitting will have to be at least as good or better than it was in 2011. Given the FSL environment, that will be a serious challenge. Again, doesn't that make sense?

      You may not agree and may even have legitimate reasons to be optimistic about Dietrich. But I can't see anything clownish in the arguments that Jason makes. It seems to me we should incorporate his thinking along with other more positive indicators in making our evaluation of Dietrich's chances of success. After all, most prospects, no matter how talented and hard-working, do not succeed, so to be realistic we ought to consider the spectrum of reasonable arguments.

    2. I think he was just yanking Jason's chain, Robert. Good points, but I don't see Dietrich as the *most* overrated prospect, we had him 20th and BA had him 13th. Like our other conversation about definitions, to me he's not that highly rated now, so at most he's slightly overrated given the points you and Jason make.

      Also, I said it on another thread this week, but the Florida State League had more offense across the board in 2011 than the Midwest League. We'll have to see if it's a long term trend, but it was pretty clear last season. Maybe I should make a post with the league environments the affiliates play in.

  2. I understand that Dietrich is old for the level that he's in but that was due to injury factor at the end of high school and his first season with the Renegades. He was drafted in the third round in 2007 but suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery and had the finger issue for a month with HV Renegades. I agreed that he may move from short but I feel his hitting may get better this year. I understand his numbers weren't that great but this year could be his deciding factor.

  3. Most over-hyped batter to me is Tyler Bortnick. While his numbers are good, he's a little old for his league (obviously it is not his fault and really should have been moved up to AA already). I think his ceiling is that of a utility player at the major league level along the lines of Elliott Johnson with maybe a little more patience at the plate and a little less pop. To me, that doesn't warrant being rated above guys with a lot of potential like the 2011 draftees who have much higher ceilings (and a lot lower floors).

    Most over-hyped pitcher to me is Enny Romero. The kid has good stuff, but I want to see him put it all together first. A lot of people are predicting good stuff from him and I would LOVE for him to be the next Matt Moore, but just a hunch, I don't think he is going to do it this year.

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