The numbers game:
So, the draft is over and the Rays have selected these 60 players. They have selected
- 20 HS players (9 of them in the first 5 rounds),
- 35 COL players and
- 5 JC players.
The Rays have selected
- 29 pitchers (6 LHP, 23 RHP; only 3 prep arms in the first 34 rounds!) and
- 31 position players (listed at: 7 C, 4 1B, 2 2B, 5 SS, 4 3B, 8 OF).
They started to select lots of position players early on with 10 of their first 15 picks (rounds 1-5) being hitters.
And while I am okay with the selection of a bit more hitters than pitchers, they should have grabbed more prep pitching talent. I mean, this was/is the MAIN STRENGTH of this draft class and IT IS THE MAIN STRENGTH of the Rays player development. And while the AL East fues selected guys like Cody Kukuk (Red Sox), Joe Musgrove, Daniel Norris and Kevin Comer (Blue Jays) after the 1st round, the Rays "only" selected Blake Snell.
I hope the Rays are not outsmarting themselves like the Mariners did on the major league level 1,5 years ago (overvalueing defense). Everybody needs a power bat and not all players have to be up-the-middle talent. The biggest weakness in the Rays farm system is hitting power and while some players project for good power (Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Goeddel, Johnny Eierman, Granden Goetzman, J.D. Davis and maybe Kes Carter) there is no middle-of-the-order bat selected.
Overall I'm a bit disappointed as some big names are missing and as the Rays (when looking at the scouting reports) didn't find some really high upside hidden gems. The potential of this crop is very, very huge, nevertheless. So, I trust the process (for now).
Breaking down the draft days, I'm more okay with day 2 than with day 1. Grandon Goetzman and Johnny Eierman are the talents 3 and 4 on my board (slightly ahead of Tyler Goeddel). They also selected some SS and power prep talents as well as solid college pitchers (especially for the bullpen) on day 2. Day 1 started out very well but was a disappointment overall. No top college pitcher (Osich, Meo, ...), no top prep pitcher next to Guerrieri (Owens, Boyd, Kelly, Lopez, Fulmer, ...) and no potential middle-of-the-order bat (Vogelbach, Harrison) has been selected.
Lets look at the individual selections (click on the name for a scouting report). I've added the rankings of each player on the latest lists before the draft (Baseball America (top 200), MLB.com (top 50), DiamondScape Scouting (top 300), MLB Bonus Baby (top 200) and ProjectProspect (top 75)):
- 1-24: Taylor Guerrieri - (BA: 10, MLB: 13, DSS: 24, MLBBB: 26, PP: 6) - Guerrieri seems to be a very good value pick and I like it very much from a talent standpoint. Is his makeup going to cause any problems, though? He is not returning Rays calls!
- 1-31: Mikie Mahtook - (BA: 21, MLB: 22, DSS: 45, MLBBB: 16, PP: 16) - A good value pick again. He will end up in RF and he has some adjustments to make with his swing. Nevertheless, he can do it all and can become an above average major leaguer.
- 1-32: Jake Hager - (BA: 122, MLB: -, DSS: 46, MLBBB: -, PP: 67) - Some evaluaters like him (DSS, PP) and others don't (BA, MLB Bonus Baby). But, apparently, not one ranking has him as high as the Rays. Lets hope R.J. and company are right.
- 1-38: Brandon Martin - (BA: 65, MLB: -, DSS: 100, MLBBB: 107, PP: 75) - Martin is an athletic SS who rose up draft boards late before the draft. Nevertheless, nobody had him rising into the 1st. supp. round like the Rays did. The Rays like defensive versatility, though, and Martin should be able to play both MIF positions.
- 1-41: Tyler Goeddel - (BA: 89, MLB: -, DSS: 81, MLBBB: 111, PP: 48) - Finally a projectable guy in the supplemental round. I like this pick and I easily see why the Rays like him despite being an overdraft according to the ranking boards.
- 1-42: Jeff Ames - (BA: 119, MLB: -, DSS: 176, MLBBB: 116, PP: -) - Remembers me a bit of Ian Kendall's profile last year. Kendall, though, seemed to have better breaking stuff with a bit a lesser FB. Ames is an overdraft. That is a fact. The Rays know what to do with raw prep arms with heat, though. I trust them to develop Ames more than I do with a guy like Hager.
- 1-52: Blake Snell - (BA: 184, MLB: -, DSS: 157, MLBBB: -, PP: 69) - I've to tone right in with Kevin on this one. I wanted the Rays to select Blake Snell but I wanted them to do that in the 4th-6th round. Not as projectable (while having room to fill out the frame) as lots of other pitchers available at this point (e.g.: Hudson Boyd and Kevin Comer were selected within the next couple of picks).
- 1-56: Kes Carter - (BA: 51, MLB: -, DSS: 61, MLBBB: -, PP: -) - He could become an average major league center fielder with good range and maybe even slightly above average power. He might be limited to a platoon role (not hitting lefties (yet)). While I'm in no way exstatic about this pick, I am okay with it.
- 1-59: Grayson Garvin - (BA: 56, MLB: -, DSS: 92, MLBBB: 58, PP: 66) - Garvin will end up as a #4/#5 starter or a FB/CH bullpen guy. And while his upside is limited he is a fairly safe pick. Do I see why they took him? Yes. Do I like the pick? No, not enough upside.
- 1-60: James Harris Jr. - (BA: -, MLB: -, DSS: 228, MLBBB: -, PP: -) - Every expert said that he likes this pick and I get it why (speed, potential. But, why didn't the same experts rank this player in their rankings, then? Nevertheless, I like such a pick more than the pick before. The Rays have to shoot for upside in order to compete in this devision.
- 2-75: Granden Goetzman - (BA: 52, MLB: -, DSS: 90, MLBBB: 69, PP: -) - I take a potential five-tooler with above average power potential, especially when selected in the 2nd round. The 2nd day started off on the right foot with this pick.
- 2-89: Lenny Linsky - (BA: 81, MLB: -, DSS: 120, MLBBB: -, PP: -) - Next to no surefire power bats the Rays lack surefire back-end-of-the-bullpen guys in their farm system. Linsky could become just that with his FB/SL combination. Normally I don't agree with a RP that early but with the abundance of early picks I am okay with it.
- 3-119: Johnny Eierman - (BA: 84, MLB: -, DSS: 51, MLBBB: 77, PP: 73) - Long swing, above average power potential and bat speed, athletic. While not a finished product I like his ceiling. He is one of my favorite Rays picks this year. Good value for the 3rd round. No ranking board had him lower than 84.
You can also find scouting reports on the next picks at RaysProspects.com. Kevin did an excellent job in accumulating reports even for late round picks. Here is my take on the picks after the 4th round (until the 20th). Overall the Rays did a good job of getting sume potential high upside players. I would have loved them to select more raw prep pitching talent.
Picks I like:
- Ryan Carpenter (7th; While his stuff diminished, he showed best results of his life as of lately; If he gets some velo back he can become #3 starter)
- Jacob Faria (10th; Projectable prep pitcher; 2nd Fullerton commit next to J.D. Davis)
- Trevor Mitsui (12th; Only guy since 7th-rounder Carpenter I've read about before the draft. Great hit tool.)
- Tanner English (13th; Speedy CF with excellent bat speed. I hope the Rays sign him away from South Carolina)
- Matt Young (14th; Athletic power bat from JuCo ranks)
- Brett McAfee (16th; The Rays liked it to take prep position player gambles; McAfee is solid defensively and has potential at the plate)
- Matt Ramsey and Garrett Smith (19th and 20th; Scouting reports in the Scott Shuman fashion. I like this out of a 19th/20th round pick)
Picks I am okay with:
- J.D. Davis (5th; power potential there, enough bat speed?)
- John Alexander (8th; Huge guy; The power bat the Rays needed?),
- Matt Rice (9th; The major league talent might not be there but he may bring other things to the organization: Leadership, intelligence, makup)
- Tyler Parmenter (15th; Very, very raw but potential in the field and on the mound)
- Tyler Motter (17th; Tyler Bortnick comparisons everywhere. Same school, stats are pretty similar, tools also)
- Andy Bass (18th; The 18th round is the range for college relievers. Bass has a good FB/SL combo)