McAfee is smooth defensively at shortstop and the Rays have to love that. (Credit: Longview, Texas News-Journal)

Brett McAfee: Rays Draft Excellent-Defending JC SS Again

The Rays must really like Brett McAfee. They’ve just selected him for the second year in a row, only the fifth time they have ever done that. His skill-set may very well warrant that.

McAfee is a 5’11″, 180 shortstop at Panola (Junior) College. Here’s what I had to stay about McAfee when the Rays drafted him last year in the 16th round.

McAfee is another shortstop but he’s a bit of a different case, being 5’11″, 180 and of course coming out of a different high school, Pine Tree High School in Texas. McAfee is a sure thing defensively at shortstop, possessing great range, great motions, and a good arm, and he has a nice swing at the plate. But his approach at the plate is very raw, and he was very often out in front of pitches as a senior. When he connects, McAfee has pretty good power for a shortstop, and on the basepaths he has good speed and good instincts. McAfee is a work-in-progress at the plate but his defensive ability makes him a great 16th round pick.

The problem with McAfee is that he underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2011 that caused him to miss nearly the entire season and he missed nearly all of 2012 with injuries as well. McAfee’s defensive ability is great and he still has some offensive upside, but the injuries have hindered his development.

McAfee is much more talented than a usual 35th round pick and we’ll have to see what his bonus demands are. If he stays in school it will be because if healthy he has a chance to be a top 10 rounds pick next season maybe even top 5. But if gets hurt again, he’ll draft stock will continue to plummet. The Rays have drafted McAfee two years in a row because they love his defense and his offensive upside. Those haven’t changed. The Rays are going to try to sign McAfee against this year. And if they do and he can stay healthy, they will have ended with a nice talent. It should be interesting to see whether McAfee signs and whether he can finally stay healthy in 2013.

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