The Princeton Prospects To Watch | The Process Report

The Princeton Prospects To Watch

The Rays Princeton started their seasons last week, so it’s a good time to touch on the notable prospects at the level. The further away from the majors, the less statistics matter. In a level like Princeton, the tools matter more, and the mechanical improvements and progress displayed by the players don’t necessarily show up in the box score. Keep that in mind. Here are the five prospects most worth your time (in no particular order):

Ryan Brett
Age: 19
Position: 2B
Acquired: Third-round pick in 2010

While the Red Sox have a short second baseman who gets far more publicity (Sean Coyle), the Rays have a little dynamo too. Brett stands no taller than 5-foot-9, but packs a mean hit tool and good-to-really good speed. He started the season six-for-seven, but a mini-slump has dropped his batting average down to .375. A high school shortstop and pitcher, the Rays have him playing second base, as they did during his exposure to the Gulf Coast League last season. In a perfect world, Brett becomes a picturesque leadoff hitter.

Josh Sale
Age: 19
Position: OF
Acquired: First-round pick in 2010

Sale has a home run this season and that remains his only hit throughout his first 14 at-bats. The hit tool is the vehicle in that Sale will drive to the major leagues, but it’s far, far too early to show concern. Sale, who turns 20 in July, also got in better shape over the last year (he did not play in the minors last season after being drafted), and had some tattoo work done.

Justin O’Conner
Age: 19
Position: C
Acquired: First-round pick in 2010

An Indiana product, O’Conner has plenty of promise. O’Conner only switched to catching before his senior season, but is athletic (he played shortstop before) with good speed for a catcher, a plus-plus arm, and power potential. The Rays have their catchers call the games, so O’Conner figures to get plenty of experience in that department. Should the bat fail to develop and the defense not be worth it, the Rays could always try throwing O’Conner on the mound. For now, though, he is the catcher with the most upside in the system.

Drew Vettleson
Age: 19
Position: OF
Acquired: First-round supplemental pick in 2010

Like Sale, Vettleson’s bat will be the tool that gets him to the majors. He isn’t a great runner or defender, making his three stolen bases already a little peculiar, but his offensive game is sound and his arm is legitimate. He too turns 20 in July, and profiles as a right fielder down the line. The worthwhile trivia on Vettleson is that he pitched with both arms in high school.

Ian Kendall
Age: 19
Position: SP
Acquired: Fifth-round pick in 2010

Kendall is the fourth Washington-based prospect covered here, and the information available on him on draft day was limited. He is a short righty, at 6-foot-nothing, and has a fastball that can jet into the mid-90s. The Rays have him in Princeton’s rotation after he made four relief appearances in the Gulf Coast League last season, and in his first start he struck out three and allowed three runs in six innings of work.

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