Analyzing the Rays’ 2012 Draft


The Rays’ 2012 Draft Class began with arguably their safest first round pick ever. And then they preceded, as usual, to select a crazy amount of upside picks with considerable risk but substantial possible reward as well. By my count, 22 of their 40 picks were upside picks, with the definition being having parts of their game that need to be developed significantly and the ability to make a big league impact as a starting player (include setup man in that). But the strange thing about they draft was how many college players they selected.

27 of the Rays’ 40 picks were college players, 67.5%, the percentage of any draft in Rays history. The Rays selected 35 college players in 2011, but they had 20 more picks in that draft compared to 2012 because of all their supplemental picks as compensation for departed free agents and because the draft was shortened from 50 to 40 rounds in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. 35 divided by 60 is 58.3%. And the number of college players that the Rays selected trails only 2011 in their history. Where are the Rays doing?

The fact that the players are coming out of college obscures the fact that the Rays still drafted a lot of them (12 of 27) for upside. And secondly,  as we touched upon after Day 2, this will allow the Rays to sign as many picks as possible. The Rays drafted just 7 high school players and they’re going to be able to do everything they can to sign all 7. For their 6 junior college selections, some are easier signs than others, but they’ll look to sign as many as possible of them as well. What the Rays did in this draft was maximize their efficiency. College upside picks, especially in the later rounds, can be signed on the cheap but still come with the potential for big reward. And signing those picks cheaply allows the Rays to focus their energies on the tougher high school and junior college players and the funds to potentially get most of them signed. There’s next to no chance that the Rays sign all 40 of their picks. But there’s a real chance they could sign 36 or 37 the way they allotted they picks. Let’s go pick by pick with quick thoughts on the player being selected where they were selected. We’ll give a grade to each pick as well (which has to do with the players based on their draft slots, not necessarily on the players’ abilities or their abilities compared to one another). For actual scouting information on the players, please click the links on each players name.

1st Round: 3B Richie Shaffer– Nice value pick as he could have gone earlier. Gives the Rays legitimate power and a relatively safe bet to make the big leagues as productive corner player. Nothing flashy, but good value. Grade: A-

2nd Round: SS/CF Spencer Edwards– High school shortstop who will likely move to the outfield but was announced as a shortstop. Nice upside as 5-tool prospect, although hitting is most questionable tool. Grade: A

3rd Round: CF Alvin Toles – JC product is speedster in center with 5-tool talent as well, although once again hitting is a little questionable. Grade: A

4th Round: RHP Nolan Gannon– Projectable HS righty with a nice sinker, shows flashes with 12-to-6 curve. Nice upside but will be a project. Grade: B+

5th Round: OF Braylin Jackson– HS outfielder with more hit tool questions, but nice power/speed potential. Grade: B+

6th Round: RHP Damion Carroll– HS arm with mid-90’s velocity, everything else in question. Grade: B

7th Round: CF Marty Gantt– Senior is a great story and has solid tools across the board. Definite potential to be big league contributor. Grade: A-

8th Round: C Luke Maile– Junior has power and plate discipline, too many defensive questions. Grade: B-

9th Round: CF Joey Rickard– Junior can run and play defense. Upside of a 4th outfielder. Grade: B-

10th Round: LHP Sean Bierman– 5th-year senior has injury questions, shifty but not great stuff. Money-saving pick. Grade: C+

11th Round: CF Clayton Henning– High school football wide receiver is extremely raw but shows flashes of 4 tools. Grade: B+

12th Round: C Taylor Hawkins– High school catcher with big-time present power. Hit tool in question but tools defensively as well. Grade: A

13th Round: RHP Dylan Floro– Junior’s stuff regressed since being drafted by Rays out of high school. If restored, has nice upside. Grade: B

14th Round: LHP Chris Kirsch– JC lefty has four pitches including plus fastball and curve that flashes plus. Control is an issue. Grade: A

15th Round: RHP Willie Gabay– Hard throwing JC relief prospect who could move fast. Nice sinker. Grade: B+

16th Round: 2B/SS Tommy Coyle– Junior with solid tools all around with some speed. Utility player upside. Grade: B

17th Round: SS Ryan Dunn– Junior is low for shortstop but fluid actions and surprising power. Valuable if can stay at short. Grade: A-

18th Round: LHP Kevin Brandt– Senior lefty with unimpressive fastball but solid secondary pitches. LOOGY potential. Grade: B

19th Round: 1B Miguel Beltran– Senior has big power potential but looks out-of-shape and other tools are questionable. Grade: C+

20th Round: RHP R.J. Davis– Senior who touches triple-digits with fastball but command and secondary pitch issues. Grade: B+

21st Round: RHP Jon Weaver– Senior reliever is not overpowering but all-around solid arsenal. Middle relief potential. Grade: B

22nd Round: CF Willie Argo– Senior slipped in college but has power-speed upside. Could be a steal at this spot. Grade: A+

23rd Round: INF Reid Redman– 5th-year senior provides sparkling defense at third and second base, great utility profile. Grade: B+

24th Round: 3B Daniel Duran– Senior with nice hit tool but little power and no defensive position. Grade: B-

25th Round: LHP Jordan Harrison– Junior has questionable arsenal other than occasional flashes. Grade: C

26th Round: RHP Jason Wilson– Senior has nice fastball, solid curve, poor control. Shows potential as 4th-5th starter or back-end bullpen. Grade: A-

27th Round: RHP Alex Keudell– Senior features great curve but questionable fastball. Good command. Grade: B

28th Round: LHP Dayne Quist– Little senior lefty with little stuff but great command. Middle relief potential. Grade: B-

29th Round: P/OF Keaton Steele– JC pick has potential as bullpen arm, outfielder. The Rays are going to have fun with him. Grade: A-

30th Round: C Michael Williams– Senior plays solid defense, may hit a little. Grade: B

31st Round: C/OF Taylor Ward– HS pick does not have catcher skill-set, speedy with solid swing. Doubt he stays at catcher long-term. Grade: B-

32nd Round: SS Ben Kline– 5th-year senior has nice defensive tools and rock-solid ability all-around. Potential big league starting SS. Grade: A

33rd Round: LHP Luke Goodgion– Junior has good size, stuff, erratic control. Bullpen potential. Grade: B

34th Round: RHP Ryan Garton– Little senior righty but excellent change and solid all-around arsenal with some projection. Sleeper potential. Grade: A-

35th Round: RHP Kris Carlson– Senior with nasty stuff, fastball hits mid 90’s and great movement on slider, but horrific control. Grade: B+

36th Round: SS Bret McAfee– JC pick selected by Rays for second year in a row. Injury prone, but great defense with some offensive tools. Grade: B+

37th Round: RHP Rob Finneran– 5th-year senior with bulldog mentality and solid stuff. Best pitcher in the history of Bentley University. Grade: B

s38th Round: C Chad Nacapoy– 5th-year senior shows solid defense but needs work and questionable offense. Grade: B-

39th Round: C Geoff Rowan– Senior has untapped tools both offensively and defensively. Definite upside. Grade: B+

40th Round: RHP Nick Sawyer– JC pick has nice fastball-curveball combination but terrible control. Grade: B+

Looking at the grades, they’re mostly within the A’s and B+’s (over half of them are). I certainly didn’t like every pick, but I do really like this draft class. The Rays got several outstanding values from the college guys and some nice upside from the high school and JC ranks. There’s a lot of risk here. Most of these players they have great upside but come with significant questions as well. Most of them will not pan out. But this isn’t a boom or bust draft. There are just so many upside players that a handful of them will have to pan out and the Rays could really end up with several quality big leaguers and a bunch of other minor contributors from this draft class. It was strange that the Rays drafted so many college players, but they chose the best ones they could find and ones with often considerable potential and that’s all that really matters. And then there’s the factor that since the Rays drafted so many college players, it should help them get nearly everybody signed. This is a very interesting draft class by the Rays and it’s going to be exciting to see the Rays get these guys signed and have them start their pro careers, and we’ll have to see how they develop.