Once you start getting into the later rounds of the drafts, most of the guys you are picking are going to be projects. These guys lack the polish and upside of earlier draft picks, but for one reason or another they still have potential. The Rays took a project in the 30th round of the 2014 MLB Draft in senior RHP Trevor Dunlap from Washington University, and they think they can work hard to turn him into a quality player.
Trevor Dunlap stands out for one obvious reason- his 6’7”, 225 pound frame. From a statistical standpoint he has been solid in long relief at Washington the past two years, posting a 2.72 ERA, 43 walks, and 102 strikeouts in 125.2 innings pitched. But despite being so tall, his fastball is nothing special at 89-93 MPH, and overall he doesn’t do a great job of creating a downward angle on his pitches. That’s where the Rays come in. Dunlap needs to work on using his height to generate more velocity on all of his pitches if he wants his strikeout numbers to hold up in pro ball. Creating a better downward angle on all of his pitches will also help Dunlap be a more successful pitcher. The Rays can help him develop in these areas. After throwing in relief the last two years, Dunlap isn’t about to be moved to a starting role. But with his frame, he should do just fine throwing multiple innings as a long reliever.
Right now, Dunlap is a fairly underwhelming player, and as a senior draftee there is a chance that he may never make the adjustments needed to be a successful pro. But the Rays see room for improvement, and if they can teach Dunlap how to use his height to his advantage, they might just have a quality reliever on their hands.