In Round 8, the Rays went with their second consecutive college pick, catcher Luke Maile out of the University of Kentucky. We know the Rays desperately need catching, but Maile might not be that guy.
Maile is 6’3″, 220 and stands out for his power. Maile led the Wildcats in homers with 13. Maile’s power comes more from strength than bat speed, but he has a compact swing and he’s a smart hitter, able to recognize which pitches to drive. He has very good plate discipline and doesn’t force the issue. That “smart power” had to appeal to the Rays.
Defensively, Maile is questionable. He has a good arm but poor actions behind the plate and he couldn’t even be a regular starter for the Wildcats. The Rays are going to give him a chance, especially after he threw out 10 of 18 attempted basestealers in 2012. Maile does run well, especially for his size, stealing 9 of 11 bases in 2012, and could profile well at first base or even left field. The Rays will find some way to get his power bat in the lineup.
The Rays found a power bat down here in the 8th round, and if they’re lucky, he’ll manage to catch as well. It’s great to find a player with legitimate power with plate discipline this great in the draft and the Rays will have to see what they have hear. And Luke Bailey watch out- Luke Maile (pronounced Mailey) has arrived.