The Tampa Bay Rays took their 5th college player in a row in the 9th round of the 2014 MLB Draft, selecting senior RHP Chris Pike out of NAIA Oklahoma City University. This is likely another move to get a bit of a bargain, but Pike still has the potential to make a big league impact some day.
Pike’s stuff doesn’t jump out at you, but it is solid enough and he does a good job of getting the most out of it. His fastball sits in the 90-94 MPH range, but at 6’1”, 185 pounds there is room to add a little more muscle and the pitch could end up slightly above-average in the future. He also gets a good angle on the pitch, which makes it play up a bit. He features an average curveball, as well as a changeup that needs plenty of work. In 2014 he walked just 1.8 hitters per nine innings while striking out 12.5 hitters per nine en route to a 1.89 ERA. He also posted a .182 batting average against, and overall dominated any competition he was faced with. As his walk and numbers show, he has great command of all of his stuff and he knows how to use it. What caused him to drop down to the 9th round was a combination of underwhelming secondary stuff, the fact he’s a senior, and the poor competition he’s faced in college. That being said, if the Rays can develop his changeup he could have three at least average pitches, which given his pitchability and command could turn out quite nicely. He doesn’t have huge upside, but a quality back-end starter or a middle reliever could be in the cards for Pike.