Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 Draft: Day One Wrap-Up

A very hectic day one has come and gone, so I'll try to summarize things as best I can, hitting each of the picks and what the immediate and long-term outlook for these guys are. All told, with their first ten picks the Rays took six high schoolers, three college players, and a junior college player.

24th overall - Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (SC): Guerrieri was rated as one of the top prep pitchers in the country, one a tier below Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley. He didn't slip to the Rays based on his stuff, which is centered around a fastball that he's pumped up to 98 mph (though he generally works in the 92-95 range) and a curveball that's shown plus potential. He's flashed a change-up but like virtually every high schooler it lags behind his other offerings. He has also experimented with a cutter. He's athletic at 6-3/195 with long arms. He repeats his delivery well though he's had some trouble throwing strikes at times. The reason he did fall to the Rays may be based on questions about his make-up. He had to switch high schools due to an off-the-field incident and some question his maturity. I don't see it as a huge concern, countless pitchers have had make-up issues and done just fine in the pros (Clay Buchholz and Kyle Drabek spring to mind). I thought the Rays got a very good value at this pick.

31st overall - Mikie Mahtook, OF, Louisiana State University: Like Guerrieri, Mahtook slid further than most projected. He's athletic but may not have the pure footspeed to play centerfield in the pros. His arm is average at best, so if he moves to a corner spot it'll have to be left field. Mahtook has stung the ball his entire career with the Tigers, and the new bats that have suppressed offense around the NCAA haven't had a huge impact on him as he hit .383/.496/.709 this year.

32nd overall - Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista HS (NV): This is where the Rays made their first "reach." Hager reminds me a little bit of Ryan Brett from the 2009 draft, and Brett was a third-rounder. Hager is bigger and can play shortstop, but it's not clear what his biggest strength is. He's an average runner but fields well, has a pretty good arm, is a decent pure hitter and should have some gap power. I'm not sure he was worth of this pick, though, and the Rays left some quality shortstops on the board in Connor Barron and Tyler Greene.

38th overall - Brandon Martin, SS, Santiago HS (CA): Essentially, Martin is a more athletic version of Hager. Martin didn't really come into the picture until his senior year when he flashed improved strengths at the plate. He still doesn't project to hit for a ton of power, but there's potential there if he continues to add strength. He's probably only an average runner although he's quick, allowing him to succeed at shortstop. Like Hager, Martin is a hard worker with good make-up.

41st overall - Tyler Goeddel, 3B, St. Francis HS (CA): The younger brother of Mets minor-league pitcher Erik Goeddel, Tyler is a projectable 6-4/190 who, if third base doesn't work out, has the speed to play center field (at least for now). If he focuses on adding more power, his speed could slip a little bit and limit him to a corner. He missed time with mono this spring so it was tough to get a good look at him, since he may not have been at full strength. He has nice bat speed but needs to add strength to hit for legitimate power.

42nd overall - Jeff Ames, RHP, Lower Columbia JC (WA): A JuCo pitcher from the state of Washington, Ames' best pitch is clearly his fastball. He's gotten it up to 97 in the past and held in the 92-95 range this spring. In addition to the pure velocity, it gets very nice movement making it a tough pitch to square up. His curveball and change-up lag behind though, and he may eventually wind up in the bullpen if those offerings don't develop enough.

52nd overall - Blake Snell, LHP, Shorewood HS (WA): Tough to believe the Rays took a Washington high schooler, I know. Snell is 6-4/190 though may not be as projectable as that sounds due to his body type. He's gotten his fastball up to 94 but it's usually in the 88-92 range. Honestly, I liked Snell as a third or fourth rounder, but in the supplemental round it smells like a signability pick. He didn't academically qualify for the University of Washington so he was considering an easy sign.

56th overall - Kes Carter, OF, Western Kentucky: Carter is toolsier than most college prospects, offering solid grades across the board. He has a nice swing from the left side and has a patient approach to make the pitcher throw him something he likes. He's struggled against left-handed pitching and might be a future platooner. His swing is more contact-oriented, but he has enough strength to hit for averrage power. He's an above-average runner who should stick in CF.

59th overall - Grayson Garvin, LHP, Vanderbilt: He was among the biggest risers in the college ranks this season, going from a possible lefty-specialist future to that of a back-end starter. He's 6-6/220 but isn't exactly David Price. He pitches in the 90-92 mph range and his best off-speed offering is his change-up. His slider is a below-average pitch that fails to miss bats. His performance has exceeded his stuff, from the Cape Cod League ERA title to his SEC Pitcher of the Year honors.

60th overall - James Harris, Oakland Tech HS (CA): Harris is the best athlete the Rays drafted on day one. He has plus, if not plus-plus speed which helps him profile as a good centerfielder, even with below-average arm strength. He's very patient at the plate in his attempt to get on base any way he can to use his speed. He has a ways to go offensively, though, and will not be a guy to move quickly through the system. He has a very high ceiling, but may have been an overdraft in the supplemental round.

For more of my thoughts on day one, check out DRaysBay tomorrow morning!


  1. First off Kevin, BurGi, and Doug you guys did a great job keeping up with the fast paced first 60 picks.

    Now my take on the first night. I was very underwhelmed by the majority of the picks. I was expecting a bonanza of highly rated players, instead half of the players selected could have been had in the third or fourth rounds or later. Maybe the players selected will turn out to be great, only time will tell. But in my opinion a golden opportunity was missed tonight.

  2. So many talented players to choose from, nearly impossible to take them all, but everyone of them is special. Every player drafted no matter what round has potential, and talent. Excited for day 2 of the draft tomorrow!

  3. Other than Guerrieri, Mahtook, Goeddel,and possibly Martin and Garvin, according to most of the national pre-draft lists, the other 5 could possibly been had in rounds 2-5. Time will tell.Right now it looks as if we over drafted some players,then low ball them just to save $$.

  4. The guys at ProjectProspect had the Rays haul higher in the pre-draft board:

    06 Taylor Guerrieri
    16 Mikie Mahtook
    48 Tyler Goeddel
    66 Grayson Garvin
    67 Jake Hager
    69 Blake Snell
    75 Brandon Martin

  5. On #32 Hager:

    Hager has until Aug. 15 to decide whether to sign a professional contract or fulfill his college commitment to Arizona State, but he and his father said Monday the chances are good that he will sign with the Rays.

    "Arizona State is a great place to play ball, but I'm ready to start my future in pro ball," Hager said. "Talking it through with my family, we want to have the right negotiations and everything, but hopefully (the money) will stay put."

    Scott Hager added: "It's our belief that in talking with Tampa, we want Jake to sign and want him to go to work. It'll benefit him if he can sign and get like two months under his belt instead of waiting for the deadline in August."


  6. On #52 Snell:

    "It felt great," said Snell, who had a 1.00 earned-run average and struck out 128 batters in 63 innings in his senior season. "It was the best feeling. I can't even describe it. I'm so pumped to play for the Rays. I just want to play baseball."

    Snell's father, Dave, said the family will decide over the next few days if his son, who has committed to the University of Washington, is going to sign.

    "It's a big accomplishment for all his hard work," Dave said. "It's well deserved and now he's got to go out and prove himself."


  7. On #42 Ames (sounds like a lock to sign!):

    Ex-LCC pitching coach Rob Hippi said he was not certain, but could not recall a Lower Columbia baseball player being drafted as highly as Ames. Ames was selected in the 46th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies and in the 30th round of the 2010 draft by the Colorado Rockies, but opted to continue pitching as an amateur each time. This time, however, Ames plans on turning pro. "I feel like I'm ready. I want to go and play ball," he said.
    Ames was 8-1 with one save, a 2.05 earned run average and had 108 strikeouts in 88 innings this season for Lower Columbia. His best fastball velocity of the season was 100 mph. He allowed one earned run in three appearances spanning 15 innings during the NWAACC tournament over Memorial Day weekend. Through it all, professional scouts packed the bleachers and walkway behind home plate at David Story Field whenever he pitched.

    Hippi said that Rays' scouts were "all over (Ames)." Ames has not discussed compensation with the Devil Rays, but plans on doing so when he is finished with classes at Lower Columbia in 10 days.

    "I haven't signed anything, and I have some school to take care of first," he said. "I will wait until after my last final (June 16). But I'm going to sign. There's no reason I'm not going to sign."


  8. On #41 Goeddel (doesn't sound as positive, some is just the reporters spin though):

    The question now: will he sign?

    Goeddel is committed to UCLA, where his brother Erik spent three years before being drafted by the Mets last year.

    “It’s definitely going to be a fun and long process,” said Goeddel, who will spend the summer with the Wenatchee AppleSox in Washington. “As of right now I’m still planning on going to UCLA. We’ll see what happens with the Rays.”

    Despite some pre-draft rumors about his signing demands, Goeddel said he has no figure in mind. Considering the team that drafted him, you’ve got to think the odds are very good that Goeddel follows through with his plan and plays at UCLA. The Rays aren’t exactly known for their deep pockets. Plus, they had 10 picks today –- including four in front of Goeddel — so there will be no desperation to get this pick signed and off to the minors.