March 12, 2013; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings (8) hat and glove lay in the dugout against the New York Yankees at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rays Hoping 16th Round LHP Greg Maisto Is Signable

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In the MLB Draft, the tough decision for players that you usually hear about is whether to sign or attend college. However, there is another time when a player faces quite a quandary: when he is a junior college player set to transfer to a four-year school. That is exactly what Tampa Bay Rays 16th rounder Greg Maisto faces, and they will have to hope that he has the desire to go pro.

Maisto has walked an interesting path in his collegiate career. After graduating from Carroll High School in Texas in 2012, he was at Texas A&M but redshirted his freshman year. He was still considered talented enough to make the roster of the Wisconsin Rapids in the Northwoods League. However, he then transferred to McLennan Community College, a maneuver that allowed him to pitch this season before moving on to West Virginia next year. If he had transferred directly to WVU, NCAA rules would have prevented him from playing this year.

In 2014 at McLennan, Maisto went 7-3 with a 4.70 ERA, striking out 58 while walking 32 in 76.2 innings pitched. The team’s ERA was 4.76, so he was basically average. Those numbers don’t particularly excite, but the stuff Maisto showed in the past makes him an interesting prospect. Maisto’s fastball currently sits in the high 80’s and can touch the low 90’s on occasion. At 6’1, 185 lbs (or 6’2”, 175 lbs depending who you ask), there is some projection in his frame. If he can add some more muscle, it is conceivable that his fastball could end up consistently sitting in the low 90’s down the road. He features two secondary pitches–a high 70’s breaking ball and a low-to-mid-70’s changeup. The changeup especially represents a nice change in velocity from his fastball. At just 19 years old (20 in November) Maisto clearly has potential, and the Rays are hoping they can turn it into results.

Since leaving high school, Greg Maisto has not done anything to raise his draft stock. If he doesn’t have a great junior year at West Virginia, he will be drafted even lower than he was this year. There is a price where joining the Rays, an organization known for developing pitching, will be impossible to turn down. Maisto is the type of project the Rays love taking on, but everything is going to depend on whether he is willing to sign.

Robbie Knopf contributed to this article.

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