Last February we performed a meta-analysis of the Rays’ top prospects, in which we built a composite ranking of the top 13 players in the system based on six different rankings and our own “Trade Value Index“. Let’s take a look back at the list and see how each of those players performed in 2010 and gauge whether or not they are living up to the hype.
1. Desmond Jennings, 2006, 10th rd. (avg. rank: 1.3) — Jennings played 108 games in triple-A before a late-season promotion to the big leagues. With Durham, he hit .278 with 3 home runs and 37 stolen bases. His .362 OBP and .355 wOBA, were both very strong. In 17 games with the Rays, Jennings was 4-21 (.190) with 2 extra-base hits and 2 steals.
2. Jeremy Hellickson, 2005, 4th rd. (avg. rank: 2.2) — Hellboy was named the minor league player of the year by Baseball America, after making 21 starts with a 2.45 ERA and 123 strikeouts with only 35 walks in 117.2 innings. He was eventually promoted to the big leagues where he made 4 dazzling August starts before a move to the bullpen in September. If the Rays don’t trade a starting pitcher, Hellickson could find himself back in Durham to start the 2011 season.
3. Wade Davis, 2004, 3rd rd. (avg. rank: 2.5) — Davis spent the entire season in the Rays rotation, making 29 starts with a 4.07 ERA. He will likely be back in the rotation next season. Although if the Rays do not trade James Shields or Matt Garza, Davis could find himself in a spring training battle with Jeremy Hellickson for the final spot.
4. Matt Moore, 2007, 8th rd. (avg. rank: 4.7) — In 26 starts with high-A Charlotte, Moore continued to dominate minor league hitters. For the second straight year, Moore led all minor leaguers in strikeouts (208). And after walking 5.1 batters per 9 innings in 2009, Moore lowered that number to 3.8 in 2010. That gave him a very impressive 3.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He will likely spend the 2011 season in double-A.
5. Tim Beckham, 2008, 1st rd. (avg. rank: 5.5) — His average dropped in 2010, from .275 to .258, as Beckham made the jump to high-A. But his OBP was up from .328 to .346 which is promising. In fact, he nearly doubled his walk rate (6.3% to 11.5%) while his strikeout rate remained nearly unchanged (23.6% to 25.6%). He hit 5 home runs and stole 22 bases. And of course, he still commits too many errors. Look for Beckham to start 2011 back in Charlotte.
6. Reid Brignac, 2004, 2nd rd. (avg. rank: 6.8) — Briggy Baseball spent the entire season with the Rays, hitting .256 with 8 home runs and a .307 OBP. He could be in line to be the everyday shortstop in 2011 if the Rays do trade Jason Bartlett.
7. Alex Colome, free agent (avg. rank: 7.3) — In 22 starts for single-A Bowling Green (he also made 1 start for high-A Charlotte), Colome had a 3.87 ERA (4.02 FIP) with 118 strikeouts in 114 innings. His 2.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio is right in-line with his career average. He will likely spend the 2011 season in high-A.
8. Nick Barnese, 2007, 3rd rd. (avg. rank: 8.2) — Barnese’s season at high-A was solid. In 122.1 innings, he posted a 3.02 ERA (3.18 FIP). But what was really impressive was how he improved his walk rate from 3.0 batters per 9 innings in 2009 to 1.9 this season. And he did that while his strikeout rate (7.4/9ip) was nearly identical to 2009 (7.5).
9. Alex Torres, free agent (avg. rank: 9.0) — One of three players received in the Scott Kazmir deal, Torres made 27 starts in double-A this season. His 3.53 ERA (3.47 FIP) was solid and he struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings. Unfortunately, he also walked 4.4 batters per 9 innings as continues to struggle with his control. He will remain a starting pitcher for the time being, but don’t be surprised if Torres gets a look in the Rays bullpen late next year.
10. Jake McGee, 2004, 5th rd. (avg. rank: 11.0) — McGee completed his return from Tommy John surgery with a move to the bullpen followed by his long-awaited big league debut. In his brief debut with the Rays, McGee pitched 5 innings over 8 appearances, striking out 6, walking 3 and was charged with 1 run.
11. Kyle Lobstein, 2008, 2nd rd. (avg. rank: 11.7) — At 20, Lobstein still has plenty of time to grow as a pitcher. This season, the lefty had a 4.20 ERA (3.86 FIP) with 128 strikeouts in 148 innings. You would like to see Lobstein improve his control (54 walks). It will be interesting to see if the Rays think he is ready for double-A in 2011.
12. Matt Sweeney, 2006, 8th rd. (Angels; avg. rank: 14.3) — Keith Law missed the boat on Sweeney by having his ranked as the fifth best prospect in the Rays organization. One of the players received in the Scott Kazmir trade, Sweeney took a big step backwards this season. In 80 games between high-A and double-A, Sweeney hit .225 with 8 home runs and a .263 OBP. He will need a big 2011 if he wants to get back on the prospect radar.
13. Wilking Rodriguez, free agent (avg. rank: 15.7) — In just his second pro season and his first with a full-season team, Rodriguez showed some regression. He posted a 4.32 ERA in 106.1 innings with 93 strikeouts and 28 walks. The 3.32 K:BB ratio is good and his FIP of 3.75 shows that he did pitch better than his ERA indicates. And at age 20, there is still plenty of time to grow.