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: Wildcard prediction! Predict... just about anything. Another breakout, a surprise MLB contributor, it can be anything you want.
Steve Slowinski: By the end of the 2012 season, Tim Beckham will have started 20 or more games for the Rays at shortstop. Although to be entirely honest, this will probably have more to do with the Rays' lack of shortstop depth at the major league level, and with the continued success of Hak-Ju Lee. I'm curious about if Beckham will bring his strikeout rate down this season; a 20% strikeout rate in the high minors is not necessarily a good sign for a middle infielder.
Jason Collette: Lenny Linksy finishes the year in Durham helping them win their 7th straight southern division title.
mr. maniac: I think the Rays will indisputably have the #1 farm system at the end of next year. Josh Sale will hit 17 homeruns, Oscar Hernandez will have an up and down year, Matt Bush will record a save at the MLB level, and Chirinos will hit a critical walk off homerun for the Rays late in the year.
Ryan Glass: 2011 draftees have good success. We don't need all of them to exceed expectations, but if half have success and show good tools it could go a long way in getting this system to the front of the league. Looking at the top 30 it is littered with talent from that draft (and even outside of it), and they'll play a huge role in the franchise going forward. 2 guys in particular I see surprising are Carter and Garvin.
Sandy Kazmir: The Princeton Rays go down as the most exciting team to watch in theentire minor league organization.
John Gregg: After Mikie Mahtook answered some questions about his bat during the Arizona Fall League, I am more convinced than ever that his rise through the Rays system will be meteoric. I fully expect him to be added to the 40 Man roster at some point this season and to be playing at Tropicana Field no later than September. Whether it is due to injuries, a trade of B J Upton or a September call-up, I think that Mahtook will be showing Rays fans his nice all-around game this season and potentially be in the Rays starting outfield in 2013.
Tommy Rancel: I'm not sure he will have an impact on the Rays' big league roster, but I'll go out on a limb and project that Matt Mangini follows in the footsteps of Dan Johnson and Russ Canzler to complete the three-peat of Durham Bulls winning the International League MVP; maybe even earning a #freemangini campaign in September.
BurGi: Luke Bailey will finally find his stride and look solid on the plate. He'll bat .260 - .346 - .420 and reduce his K-rate to about one per inning. He'll be between #10 and #15 on the consensus prospect lists in '13.
Doug Milhoan: In the 2012 draft the Rays will pick and sign a player who they have previously drafted.
Scott Grauer: The Rays will select Washington prep catcher Clint Coulter 25th overall in the 2012 MLB draft.
Kevin Gengler: Cameron Seitzer will lead the system in OPS. Jason McEachern finally breaks out. Shawn O'Malley hits .320 and OBPs .400. Todd Glaesmann hits 15 home runs and shows improvement in his K/BB. Jeff Ames' K/BB ratio is above 4.50.