When a 27th round pick makes his professional debut, not many people notice. He has a chance–just like every drafted player–and Tampa Bay Rays fans are especially cognizant of that after seeing former 31st rounder Kevin Kiermaier star for their team this season. Nevertheless, the odds are so small, and you never know which player will be the one that you wish you had seen coming. Sometimes, though, a player does something that you can’t forget, and you start following him. You look at a few boxscores and you check his Baseball-Reference page every so often. In three or four years, you know that you’ll probably be asking yourself what ever happened to him, but you also think there is a chance that he could be among the team’s top prospects or maybe on their big league roster. Do you know who this player is? His name is Grant Kay and he is a second baseman out of Louisville who the Rays selected in the 27th round of this year’s draft.
In his professional debut for the Hudson Valley Renegades, Kay went 5 for 6 with a 3-run homer in his first professional plate appearance, two doubles, a single, and a triple. Yes, he hit for the cycle in his first game in the system. Honestly, though, following Kay isn’t about that. He is not a player who came out of nowhere to deliver a performance like that. As we discussed after the draft, Grant Kay was a legitimate prospect before knee surgery slowed him this past season. He had a sweet lefty swing with solid pop, and he stood out even more for excellent speed on the basepaths. Defensively, he was a a strong defender whose solid skills played up thanks to excellent instincts. Now we can’t be sure what he has left. He drilled a homer and legged out a triple, but will his power and speed ever be the same after surgery? Our only recourse is to wait and find out. All we can say at the moment is that Grant Kay is a player worth keeping an eye on in the Tampa Bay Rays system. There are a lot of questions about him, but he really has a chance.