There was a time when Robinson Chirinos was considered among the best prospects in the game.

Not by conventional means, but by Oliver - the baseball projection system from The Hardball Times. Oliver reaches deep in its predictions of performance from the major leagues through the minors, down to assigning each player a Wins Above Replacement.

Oliver is considered the strongest projection system for minor league players, and normally projects around 8,000 players each year with extraordinary consistency. Before the 2011 season, the year Chirinos reached the majors, only one prospect was projected to have a better WAR by Oliver in all of minor league baseball: fellow catcher and uber-prospect Jesus Montero.

To say Rays fans had high hopes is an understatement.