Rays’ Minor League Midseason Review

Over half the season is in the books for the Rays’ minor league affiliates. Tampa Bay’s top prospects have had a decent season so far, as some have farmhands have exceeded expectations while others have failed to meet them.

Thanks to good performances by some lower-level pitching prospects, the farm’s stockage of arms has become even stronger in 2012. First-round draft picks from the 2011 Draft Taylor Guerrieri, Blake Snell and Jeff Ames have all pitched well in their brief amount of time in pros.

Offensively, the Rays’ organization has not had too much production this year. Most of the team’s intriguing bats have been in Single-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery, which features Josh Sale, Hak-Ju Lee, Drew Vettleson and more.

Up in Triple-A Durham, two starting pitchers—Chris Archer and Alex Cobb—have made important contributions to the Rays this season filling in for injuries. There hasn’t really been any other notable big-league impacts from the minors this season, but there definitely could be more on the way.

Let’s take a look at the Rays’ organizational leaders, breakout prospects, excelling prospects, disappointments and a re-ranking of the top 10 overall prospects.

Organizational Leaders

Hitting Leaders

  • Batting Average: Ryan Garko (.326, AA Montgomery)
  • RBI: Henry Wrigley (61, AA Montgomery)
  • OBP: Luke Maile (.432, Low-A Hudson Valley)
  • HR: Henry Wrigley (16, AA Montgomery)
  • Hits: Ty Morrison (100, AA Montgomery)
  • Slugging Percentage: Henry Wrigley (.555, AA Montgomery)

Pitching Leaders (30 innings pitched minimum)

  • ERA: Felipe Rivero (2.35, A Bowling Green)
  • Strikeouts: Chris Archer (98, AAA Durham)
  • Opposing Average: Enny Romero (.208, A+ Charlotte)
  • Wins: Ryan Carpenter (A), Matt Torra (AAA), Jake Floethe (A) and Roberto Gomez (A) all with 8

Potential Breakout Prospects

  • Ryan Brett – Brett has played very well in his first year in full-season ball, and is clearly on the road to a breakout year. The five-foot-nine second baseman is hitting .320 with 18 XBH and 27 RBI this season for Class A Bowling Green. He’s also been terrific on the bases, collecting 32 stolen bases through his 86 games.
  • Taylor Guerrieri – Guerrieri has been the talk around the Rays’ lower-level minor league affiliates this season. Due to a minor injury, he’s started just three games this season with Hudson Valley (A-), but he’s only allowed one run in 13 innings pitched. Another positive sign is that he’s struck out 14 batters in those 13 innings.
  • Drew Vettleson – Vettleson has been a huge offensive force with Bowling Green in his first year of full-season ball. He’s posted a .288/.350/438 with 43 RBI and eight homers. If Vettleson can keep up the good numbers, he’ll definitely move up the Rays’ top prospect ranks.
  • Blake Snell – Selected in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft, Snell is on his way to a breakout season in 2012. In his five starts so far with Rookie League Princeton, Snell has posted a 3-0 record with a 0.40 ERA and a 10.3 K/9. It’s very early to make any conclusions, but the dominant numbers are hopefully a sign of something good to come.
  • Jeff Ames – Snell’s draft mate, Jeff Ames, has also been excellent in his first five starts of the season. He’s 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA and a 8.6 K/9 thus far with Hudson Valley. Like Snell, these numbers are taken from a small sample size, but we hope Ames can stay on this track and breakout in 2012.
  • Felipe Rivero – One of two Rays selected to the All-Star Futures Game in Kansas City, Rivero has made the most out of his promotion to full-season ball in 2012. In 16 starts for Bowling Green, he’s gone 6-7 with a 2.35 ERA and a 7.8 K/9. Rivero’s another young talented arm in the Rays’ system who’ll likely emerge as one of the organizations top pitching prospects soon.
  • Alejandro Segovia – Segovia could become the Oscar Hernandez of 2012 in the Rays’ system. Like Hernandez, Segovia was an internationally signed catcher who was never heard of until starting to breakout in the minors. In his first year in full-season ball, he’s hit .246/.365/.538 with nine homers and 25 RBI. The power that he’s displayed is what has gotten people’s attention, and it could possibly lead him to a breakout year.
  • Josh Sale – After a very disappointing 2011 season in Rookie League ball, Sale has bounced back with a solid start to his 2012 season with Bowling Green. He’s put up a .267/.389/.504 line with eight homers and 25 RBI in his 41 games with Bowling Green. As long as the power keeps coming for 21-year-old slugger, he’ll be moving up the ranks relatively quickly.
  • Justin O’Conner – O’Conner’s 2012 story is similar to Sale’s. After two very disappointing seasons from 2010-2011, O’Conner has finally put up the numbers he’s capable of with short-season Hudson Valley this year. The Rays’ top catching prospect (entering the season) is hitting .292/.326/.506 with 10 RBI and two homers through 21 games.
  • Todd Glaesmann – Yet another Bowling Green Hot Rod having himself a nice season, Glaesmann leads the team in RBI (49) and home runs (12). He has also put up a line of .283/.339/.476.
  • Luke Maile – Picked in the eighth round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Rays, catcher Luke Maile has had a good start to his pro debut with Hudson Valley. He’s hitting .292 with 10 RBI and has posted an impressive OBP of .432.
  • Jeff Malm – Another good bat from Bowling Green, Malm is enjoying his best season yet in the Rays’ organization. He’s hitting .284/.374/.493 with 10 homers and 42 RBI.

Other Excelling Prospects

  • Derek Dietrich – Dietrich has enjoyed a solid season after being promoted to Class A+ Charlotte. He’s currently hitting .274/.342/.461 with nine longballs and 47 RBI.
  • Mikie Mahtook – Mahtook is having a nice 2012 season with Charlotte as well, hitting .287/.350/.410 with 17 stolen bases and 35 RBI through 83 games. The power is the only thing the Rays would likely to see him improve on, as his home run total of four is a bit lower than expected.
  • Henry Wrigley – Wrigley has been absolutely raking the ball in the minors this season. He’s played with both Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham this year, and has collected 61 RBI and 16 homers to go along with a strong .313/.364/.555 line.
  • Ty Morrison – Morrison has slowly but surely progressed in the minors, and may be having his best season yet in 2012. He’s posted a .287/.357/.391 line with 38 RBI and 23 stolen bases for Charlotte and Montgomery this season.
  • Ryan Garko – The former major leaguer never had a hard time hitting Double-A pitching with Montgomery ever since being signed by the Rays. Garko’s hitting .326/.425/.470 with six homers and 30 RBI, and surprisingly has not been called up to Durham yet.
  • Omar Luna– Luna has hit well with Montgomery this year in his sixth season in the Rays’ organization. He’s hitting .311/.357/.375 with 46 RBI and 18 stolen bases.
  • Leslie Anderson – Anderson has probably been Durham’s best hitter hitter all season long this year. He’s hit .308/.361/.449 with nine homers and 37 RBI so far this season, and has yet to earn his first promotion to the majors.
  • Enny Romero – Romero joined Felipe Rivero as the only other Ray to be selected to the Futures Game. He’s spent the 2012 season in Charlotte, and has gone 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 14 starts for the Stone Crabs.

Disappointments

  • Tim Beckham – Beckham has been a disappointment on and off the field ever since he was drafted by the Rays first overall in 2008. Many thought 2012 would finally be the year that Beckham would break into the big leagues, but he was hit with a big setback earlier this season. Beckham served a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. On the field, he hasn’t been so great either. He’s currently hitting .233/.321/.336 with two homers and 15 RBI for Durham.
  • Alex Torres – Torres entered the season unanimously considered one of the Rays’ top 10 prospects, and has yet to find his groove this season with Durham. He hasn’t had a hard time striking out batters, but he owns a 3-4 record with a high 6.84 ERA.
  • Wilking Rodriguez – A shoulder injury ruined Rodriguez’s 2011 season, and he has never been the same since. He’s struggled so far in Charlotte, posting a 4-0 record with a 5.56 ERA.

Re-Ranking the Rays’ Top 10 Prospects

  • 1) Taylor Guerrieri (RHP, A-)
  • 2) Chris Archer (RHP, AAA)
  • 3) Hak-Ju Lee (SS, AA)
  • 4) Enny Romero (LHP, A+)
  • 5) Drew Vettleson (OF, A)
  • 6) Josh Sale (OF, A)
  • 7) Alex Colome (RHP, AA)
  • 8) Mikie Mahtook (OF, A+)
  • 9) Felipe Rivero (LHP, A)
  • 10) Ryan Brett (2B, A)
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4 comments

  1. Baseball Maven

    I know it’s hard to let go of a #1 pick and easy to rationalize that the worst is behind, so much has been invested but Tim Beckham is going the wrong direction; should have been sent down to AA and told, “This is it. We expect you to dominate at SS and at the plate. If you can’t do that the rest of this year, you’re done.” But I doubt management wants to further damage the goods–he has just as good a chance at failing at AA as AAA with the 50 game suspension keeping him out of the game. The other choice is trade him; give him a fresh start; get him into another environment away from bad influences; don’t let him go back to Griffin. He’s said he finds it hard to go home and see his homeys scraping by (while offering him a pot filled blunt). You can take the kid out of the ghetto but . . So get him under adult supervision or get him out of the org. My son played with Tim on the Atlanta Blue Jays and I observed selfish, immature behaviors on and off the field along with poor work ethic and team play (despite what Anthony Dye says; Dye fostered Beckham’s sense of entitlement and elitism leading to this situation. I’ve met Beckham’s parents and they are salt of the earth, good people). I predicted Beckham would be drafted in round 1; would struggle due to lack of coachability; bad attitude; would get into discipline/drug problems; barely get to AAA and take several years to do so; he would never see The Show; be out of pro baseball by age 24; become a bona fide criminal by age 25; prison time by age 28. I’ve been right thusfar and, I’m very sorry to say, the odds of my predictions coming true are increasing every day.

    It’s time for the Rays to cut their losses on Beckham. It’s not going to get better for either the team or Beckham in the current environment. By slim chance it may get better in another org.

    • mlblogsyossif

      I have to disagree with you; I still believe in Tim Beckham. His poor choices have really hurt his future, but you have to remember that he’s only 22.

      And in Triple-A, he’s really just one hot streak away from a big league call-up. I highly doubt that he won’t be a pro ballplayer anymore in two years, and you have to understand that he was a much younger person when your son knew him, so he could have changed. You probably didn’t predict that he would make it to Durham, but he did.

      His work ethic does probably suck, but in his defense, I haven’t really seen any ‘bona fide’ criminal acts since he was signed by the Rays in ’08.

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