Often in the later rounds, you take a player for one tool in hopes that the others can develop to become at least passable. The Rays did that with New Haven outfielder Chris DeMorais in the 38th round, hoping that his contact abilities can carry over as a professional.
DeMorais performed nicely with the bat in his senior season. He put up a .336/.400/.443 line in 36 games for Division II New Haven. As this line shows, DeMorais’ best ability at the plate is his knack for contact. He has smooth swing from the left side, and does a good job of putting the ball in play. He also has a decent plate approach, posting a K-BB ratio of 20-17 this season, and the Rays are hoping it can get even better in the future. As a pro, it DeMorais likely isn’t going to hit for much power. However, a good plate approach and his contact abilities will translate well to the pros.
Defensively, DeMorais isn’t anything special. This season, he would make 5 errors in the outfield en route to an unimpressive .905 fielding percentage. He would also have no assists, though that is probably more of a result of a small sample size, as he has a decently strong arm. DeMorais is better suited for a corner outfield spot given his average speed, and he does have the arm to play some right field.
Overall DeMorais is likely not going to be more than a 4th outfielder as a pro. That being said, he puts the ball in play with regularity, and he also has a good plate approach, both of which will help him out. Chris DeMorais will have to fight hard to turn into something, but the Rays liked him enough to give him a chance to do so.