Considering how laughable all of the first round MLB mock drafts look right now, it is an exercise in futility to try too hard to predict who any team will pick from the third round onwards. That being said, we now have a lot of information about the type of players that the Tampa Bay Rays will go for. After selecting high school players Garrett Whitley and Chris Betts on Day 1, the Tampa Bay Rays will be drafting college guys who will sign for below-slot money to make sure that both prospects do join their organization. Here are examples of players that could interest the Rays.
Taylor Clarke, RHP from College of Charleston
Clarke is a senior sign, and even based on talent, he would be a little bit of a reach at 87th overall. Even so, he has a nice three pitch mix–fastball, slider, and changeup–and is especially good at throwing his fastball up, something we know that the Rays value. The Rays will hope to find players who still have upside even if they don’t take much to sign, and Clarke is one such guy.
Mitchell Traver, RHP from TCU
Traver slipped because of a bad injury history (including a rib removal like Alex Cobb underwent in 2011 and Tommy John Surgery), and has command issues. Even so, he has a fastball touching 94 MPH and a decent breaking ball to go along with an imposing 6’7″ frame. If he’ll sign for cheap, the Rays could give him a chance.
Willie Calhoun, 2B from Yavapai JC
We have been talking about Calhoun, who was picked by the Rays in 2013, for a while now. We’ll see how much he wants to sign, but he is a guy who transferred from Arizona and may simply want to enter pro ball even if he won’t get a crazy bonus. Between that and his promising bat, the Rays may select him.
Jeff Hendrix, OF from Oregon State
Hendrix is an older player–he’s already turned 22–and doesn’t have much power, but he has a smooth lefty swing, good speed, and the defensive chops to play centerfield. The Rays had a lot of success with Johnny Field, and Hendrix has a little bit in common with him.
Logan Ratledge, 2B from NC State
Ratledge is a senior sign with some questions about his arm strength and plate approach. However, you have to like the money factor, and he shows both solid power and the defense to stick at second base. Clarke is the most exciting type of senior sign and hopefully the Rays get a guy like, but Ratledge is the type of player that the Rays are likely to get multiple of this year. That isn’t such a bad thing–there are certainly reasons to like him.
Kolton Mahoney, RHP from Brigham Young
Mahoney is even older at 23, but he fits the Clarke mold with a fastball touching 94 MPH, a sharp slider, and even a clean delivery. He even has two more decent pitches in his changeup and curveball. Mahoney another guy that the Rays would be happy draft if they can get him to agree to a favorable figure. If they do, he could be a real sleeper.
Jordan Ramsey, RHP from UNC Wilmington
Another high-upside senior sign, Ramsey can reach the mid-90’s at his best to go along with a good slider. He is a reliever all the way, but if his command clicks, he could be a good one.
Sam Koenig, OF from Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Koenig is a big guy at 6’5″ with some power and solid speed. He has a bad injury history and a redshirt senior, but if the Rays think he can hit, they would love to take him anyway.
If Chris Betts is truly demanding $2.5 million to sign, the Tampa Bay Rays will likely have to bend over backwards to make that work. They will end of selecting plenty of senior signs today, but they will hope to find as many guys as possible who have major upside nonetheless.
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