And so it ends. After eleven days of research and writing, I can finally say that I have covered all 40 Tampa Bay Rays draft picks as well as I possibly could have hoped. Don’t worry about my health–I wasn’t working on this 24 hours a day–but the time and effort required to make this happen was extreme. Luckily, there is no doubt in my mind that it was worthwhile. The opportunity to write about baseball at Rays Colored Glasses has been a blessing for me for the last three and a half years, and that never feels truer than this time of year.
The chance to give you detailed analysis of each the Rays’ picks and to give each player the chance for a full feature piece–even the ones that we will never mention again–is always exhilarating. Needless to say, it has a boon for the site that I have been willing to work this hard on the draft, but the bottom line is that this is my passion and I enjoyed doing this even in 2011 and 2012 when few Rays fans knew who I was. Thank you for reading, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to do this again.
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Out of the 40 picks, I can say that I found or acquired extensive scouting information on 23 of them and at least had something on 37 out of 40. Several times, I got nervous that I would have nothing or close to it, but after far more effort than I probably should have expended, I was able to make all of these draft profiles happen. Unfortunately, though, the real world doesn’t end like the movies–it’s often quite anticlimactic. I guess it is fitting in that sense that there is almost no information available on the Rays’ 40th round pick, Kahiau Winchester.
Winchester, who turned 19 back in March, is a 5’10”, 185 left fielder coming out of Iolani High School in Hawaii. That is what MLB.com tells us–Perfect Game couldn’t even get that far. He was fairly well-regarded in high school, earning second-team all-district honors in 2014 as a designated hitter. I presume that he is only listed as a DH so the all-district team could accommodate an extra hitter, but it is never a good sign when a player is only 5’10”, 185 but is listed as a left fielder.
Kahiau Winchester is best known for his heroics in the 2008 Little League World Series. Winchester was a slugging third baseman for Waipio Little League, and he drilled two home runs to clinch the West Regional for his team and advance it to the World Series to begin with. Hopefully some of that power has continued to translate as he has matured. This is the second time we have talked about the Little League World Series in relation to the Rays in recent weeks–the first was when Kevin Cash managed against the Seattle Mariners’ Lloyd McClendon in the first ever matchup between managers who once played in the LLWS.
Winchester gives the Tampa Bay Rays three draft picks with ties to Hawaii in this year’s draft. University of Hawaii ace Tyler Brashears was their 14th round pick, Kewby Meyer was their 37th pick out of Nevada after growing up in Hawaii, and now we have Winchester. The Rays have already developed one major leaguer out of Hawaii, Kirby Yates, and current High-A player Kean Wong will hope to be the next. The Rays didn’t select any player out of a Hawaii school until 2011, but their five picks from Hawaii since then lead the 30 MLB franchises.
Best of luck to Winchester as he figures out the next step in his baseball career. If anyone knows more information about him, feel free to comment or email me at rayscoloredglasses at gmail dot com. Click this link to read our other 2015 Tampa Bay Rays MLB Draft profiles, and I promise that all of them have all information on the player in question than this.