Tampa Bay Rays MLB Draft Targets: High School Pitchers
With the 2014 Rule 4 MLB Player Draft fast approaching its time to take an in depth look at some of the prospects that could be available. The Rays hold the 20th overall selection in the draft and will come across several options on which player they’d like to select. The Rays have generally looked at players with considerable upside in the first round of the most recent drafts. Last time I looked at college pitchers that could be potential Rays MLB draft targets. Now I’ll be taking a look at high school pitchers that the Rays might be looking at with the 20th pick.
This draft is riddled with quality prep arms. Tyler Kolek and Brady Aiken are likely to go among the top 5 picks and Touki Toussaint shouldn’t go too much later, but there will be plenty of talent available to the Rays. Generally the Rays like to see a prep pitcher have a plus fastball and at least one other solid pitch to go along with it if they’re going to select him high. In other words, they want a high school arm that has the upside to develop into a front of the rotation starter. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what high school pitchers the Rays could look at with the 20th overall pick.
Grant Holmes RHP Conway (S.C.) HS
Holmes is a power pitcher who has great stuff. His fastball has reached as high as 98 MPH at times but typically sits in the low-mid 90s. He has a power-breaking ball that typically sits around 80 MPH and has some depth to it with abrupt tilt as well. His changeup usually sits in the mid 80s and has shown flashes of becoming a plus pitch. His large 6-2, 200 pound frame will negate any concern about workload as a starter. Holmes has very good command but scouts feel he has little projection left given his already mature frame. He is a probably the 4th high school pitcher that will be selected in the draft and will go probably anywhere between picks 10-20. It’s not very likely he’ll be available at number 20 but if he is the Rays should be impressed with his front of the rotation stuff. They would definitely be very intrigued if Holmes is available at number 20.
Sean Reid-Foley RHP Sandalwood (FL) HS
Reid-Foley is another strong right-hander with quality arm strength. His fastball will touch 96 MPH but typically sits around 91-93 MPH. He has arguably the best slider of any other high school pitcher in the draft with great tilt to it. His changeup is also an above-average pitch, giving him a great arsenal to work with. Reid-Foley has a large 6-3, 208 pound frame giving him good size for a starter as well. Add in that he has good command and he could go as high as middle of the first round. There’s a decent chance that Reid-Foley will be available when the Rays are on the clock at number 20 and his stuff definitely will intrigue the Rays enough to consider taking him.
Luis Ortiz RHP Sanger (Calif.) HS
Another big-bodied power pitcher coming from the high school ranks, Ortiz has a fastball that can hit as high as 97 MPH but usually is around 92-94. He throws from a repeatable 3/4 arm-slot that gives his fastball some deception. His 81-86 MPH breaking ball has shown plus-plus potential and can be down right unhittable at times. His changeup is thrown in the low 80s and has nice fade to it. Ortiz has missed some time due to an elbow injury this year which is concerning but did return and pitched well. He has great command and two potential plus pitches which could land him anywhere from the mid to late first round. If Ortiz is available and his medicals check out then there’s reason to believe the Rays would at least have some interest in him.
Foster Griffin LHP The First Academy (FL)
This tall lefty is all about projection and brings a different repertoire to the table. He has an average fastball that is usually around 90-92 MPH. His changeup is his best pitch and probably the best among high school pitchers. He throws it in the low 80s and it has great deception to it. His breaking ball is a bit of a work in progress. Griffin has a lean 6-5, 190 pound frame that will give him some room to add weight to it. He doesn’t have the power fastball that many high school pitchers in his class have, but he should add velocity in the future to pair with great command. Griffin could go anywhere from the end of the first to the middle of the 2nd round. The Rays might consider him at number 20 but it’s probably too early for them to take him there.
Scott Blewett RHP Baker (NY) HS
Blewett is a projectable right-hander coming from a northern state. His fastball sits in the low 90s, but it should improve once he starts pitching more in pro ball. His secondary stuff needs work as he has only a decent changeup and breaking ball. Both could be good pitches but he needs to throw them more. He has a big 6-6, 235 pound frame that should also help him add velocity to his fastball. Blewett was shut down recently due to shoulder soreness and has seen his stock drop. Questions about his secondary pitches have also added to the concerns of scouts. Blewett likely won’t go in the first round now and should end up going somewhere in the compensation or second round. The Rays probably won’t consider taking Blewett at number 20 due to the question marks that surround him, but he could be a nice pickup in the 2nd round.
If the Rays decide to take a high school pitcher at number 20 they’ll likely have several good options. They’d probably be thrilled if Grant Holmes fell to them, though that is unlikely to happen. The pitcher I think they’d most be most likely to take is Sean Reid-Foley. He has top of the rotation stuff without the injury risk that Luis Ortiz has. The first round of the draft takes place on Thursday night. Check back at Rays Colored Glasses for all the draft coverage you need.