Monday, January 12, 2009

18. John Raynor

18. John Raynor - Outfield - 6'2 - 185lbs - Throws: Right - Bats: Right
(last year: 14)

The Marlins drafted John Raynor in the 9th round of the 2006 draft out of UNC-Wilmington. Known more for being a good athlete than a good hitter, Raynor had a solid professional debut at Jamestown in 2006. He has fantastic speed (6.3 in the 60) and uses it well on the base paths. A tough out at the plate, his splits don’t change against righties or lefties. He is solid against both types of pitchers. He has a good, short stroke allowing the bat to stay in the zone longer and allows him to make solid contact on the ball. Raynor is a fantastic bunter, and would rather keep the ball on the ground and try to beat out infield singles than swing for the fences anyway. He doesn’t have a strong arm, but he’s still considered plus defensively with the glove.

In 2007, Raynor was a dynamo atop Greensboro’s lineup. He led the South Atlantic League in runs (110) and was second in both batting average and stolen bases, while being third in on base percentage. John also took home league MVP honors. After swinging and missing at a lot of pitches in his 2006 pro debut, Raynor developed a better feel for the strike zone and worked deeper counts this season. He showed much plate discipline this year, and showed more power to the gaps than he had in his rookie year of pro ball.

JR skipped High-A Jupiter in 2008 and was thrown into the fire at Double-A Carolina. Again, Raynor failed to disappoint hitting .312/.402/.489 with 13 homeruns and 48 stolen bases. The issue with Raynor is the amount of strike outs he is racking up in the minors, striking out 122 times in 452 at bats this season. For each level of the minors he has advanced to, the amount of times he has struck out has increased.

Pundits are split on whether or not they feel that Raynor is a legitimate prospect or not. While he has put up eye-opening stats the last two seasons, the alarming rate of his increase in strikeouts has made some believe he will struggle to hit major league pitching at a high enough clip to be anything more than a fourth or fifth outfielder. John will enter Spring Training with an outside shot at being a backup outfielder with a better chance of him starting the season in New Orleans and seeing some time with the big club later in the season.


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