For their third round pick, the Tampa Bay Rays had $544,900 allotted to lefty Brock Burke. If they signed him for something near that amount, they would have leeway in their bonus pool as they attempted to sign later round pick like Spencer Moran and Conor Harber. Then the terms of the signing were actually announced, and Burke received a whole lot more: $900,000. There is really only one explanation: the Rays think that drafting Burke that late in the draft will go down as a steal.
The scouting services, at least those that are publicly available, that did not have Burke on their radars. A lefty out of Evergreen High School in Colorado, was not placed among Baseball America’s top 500 prospects in the draft. Honestly, no one knew too much about him. Reports about his height and weight ranged from 6’2″, 170 to 6’4″, 180. Every place you looked gave a different velocity range for his fastball. Some people even said that his breaking ball is very raw while others believed that it shows plenty of promise already. Things like that make you know that Brock Burke was an unknown quantity for a lot of people. He was a pitcher out of a high school in a cold-weather climate, and people were not entirely sure what to expect. A player being less known certainly does not necessarily make him better, but clearly the Rays believe that Burke has more talent than they originally thought.
In the eighth round of the 2007 MLB Draft, the Tampa Bay Rays selected a high school left-hander that had slipped through the cracks. His name was Matt Moore. Brock Burke’s situation is certainly less extreme considering that they took him in Round 3, but the Rays are looking for another Moore-esque pick for the ages and they may just get one. Look forward to Brock Burke taking a professional mound because he may just be better than everyone except for the Rays thought.