The Tampa Bay Rays started the night off by selecting Wichita State 1B Casey Gillaspie with the 2oth overall pick. Now, with their second pick of the 2014 MLB Draft at 60th overall, the Rays have selected Cameron Varga, a RHP from Cincinnati Christian Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Varga, a University of North Carolina commit, has a nice pitchers build at 6’3”, 205 pounds. His fastball already sits in the 90-95 range, but there is a bit of projection in his frame, so he should add another tick of velocity in the future. He also has a curveball that has flashed plus potential, but as with many high school pitchers he has to work on honing in its consistency. His final pick is a changeup that he has shown a nice feel for, though currently it is behind his other two pitches. However, it has above-average potential, and the Rays are generally adept at teaching the changeups. Varga has a high-effort delivery, and that affects his command and also makes him an injury risk. He is an athletic player, even being committed to the University of Florida as a shortstop in the past, and those type of players generally can hone in mechanical issues much easier than the less athletic players. All-in-all, Varga has the potential to be a frontline starter down the road.
There are two main reasons that Varga fell all the way to 60th. The first is that he has experienced injuries in the past thanks to the aforementioned high-effort delivery. He missed all of the 2013 summer with a biceps injury and a cyst on his abdomen, costing himself valuable chances to pitch in showcase events in front of scouts. Secondly, Varga is one of the older high school players in the draft, as he will turn 20 in August while most high school players taken will be 18 or 19 at that time. Those issues make him a tad riskier than your average high school pitcher.
These two red flags are not insignificant, but after taking a safer pick at 20th in Casey Gillaspie, the Rays could afford to take the risk. The potential return of a number 1 or 2 starter is an incredible value at 60th overall, and the Rays will be looking smart if Varga can reach his ceiling. The Tampa Bay Rays will pick again at 72nd overall, check back at Rays Colored Glasses shortly for a rundown of the player they choose.