ESPN.com has released their annual list of the top 50 players 25 years old or younger. And the Rays two big rookies are both on the list.
Jeremy Hellickson, 24, who won the American League’s Rookie of the Year Award is number 42. And Desmond Jennings, 25, comes in at number 15.
He finally stayed healthy in 2011 and shined in his first extended big league stint. (Although staying healthy for a full season might have led to fatigue that caused him to hit .160/.258/.245 in September.) Even with that final month, Jennings hit 22 homers, drew 76 walks and stole 37 bases in 585 plate appearances across Triple-A and the majors, while playing above-average defense in center (in Triple-A) and left (in the majors)…His ability to adjust to soft stuff away was particularly impressive. He’s not far from his ceiling — a solid-average glove, OBP in the high .300s, 20-25 homers, and 30-40 steals.
The AL Rookie of the Year won it largely because of performance in basic stats; he got a huge boost from Tampa’s defense this year, which resulted in a low batting average on balls in play and thus a low ERA…That said, I think Hellickson can boost his strikeout rate going forward and rely less on his defense. He’s already got the command and the out-pitch changeup, but needs to tighten his curveball, and has a cutter he barely used in 2011. He doesn’t have ace ceiling but could easily pitch up to the standard Tampa’s defense helped him set this year.
That’s all nice and everything. But why the hell is ESPN.com still using the old Devil Rays logo (see image above)?