Fansided
Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays: Predicting the 4th Overall Pick in the MLB Draft

jlindsay
Jun 24, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; Virginia Cavaliers first baseman Pavin Smith (10) runs the bases after hitting a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores in game three of the College World Series Finals at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; Virginia Cavaliers first baseman Pavin Smith (10) runs the bases after hitting a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Vanderbilt Commodores in game three of the College World Series Finals at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

The 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft is slated for June 12.  The Tampa Bay Rays are picking fourth overall after a disappointing 68-94 finish in 2016.

There’s no question that there has been a lack of success in the draft with Tampa Bay Rays, but where does the blame fall?  The scouting department’s lack of ability to find future big leaguers?  The organization’s lack of ability to develop talent?  It’s hard to say.

However, the past is the past and the draft is a mere month or so away.  With the Tampa Bay Rays currently sputtering and disappointing once again this year due to the lack of solidarity in the bullpen, this is a very important draft for a franchise that has a majority of its top prospects looming in Durham.

The Tampa Bay Rays need one thing, and thing only at this spot in the draft:  an elite college bat.

More from Rays News

There are going to be numerous of possibilities floating around at fourth overall.  Hunter Greene, a two-way player in the prep ranks hailing from Notre Dame HS (CA) is likely going to go in the top-three, if not first overall.  Greene has been seen has the unanimous top prospect as far as pure talent goes in this class.

However, Pavin Smith is the guy that stands out to me the most in this slot.  Smith, a junior 1B/OF from the University of Virginia who has the potential to hit for power without striking out a ton.

Smith is currently hitting .352 with 10 home runs and just seven strikeouts in 179 at bats.  Yes, just seven.  That type of discipline and vision will bode well for a quick advancement through the minors.

More from Rays News

This pick could work perfectly for Tampa Bay Rays.  As of right now, the first basemen of the ‘future’ include Jake Bauers and Casey Gillaspie.  Gillaspie, the Rays first rounder in 2014 from Wichita State, has been very underwhelming since turning pro and is currently hitting .209 in 91 at bats in AAA.  Gillaspie will never be more than quadruple-A player.

Bauers on the other hand, has done nothing but hit since being acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second Wil Myers trade.  If the Rays draft Smith, this will ultimately shift Bauers back into the corner-outfield alongside Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr.  Unlike Gillaspie, Bauers is a guy with a bright future in St. Petersburg.

With the team under-performing once again, it will be likely to see a trade of an arm (Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb) by the deadline unless the team picks it back up and begins to perform to their full ability.

Next: Justin Marks Recalled, Hu Sent Back to Durham

The Rays could very easily go college arm at number four, but ultimately Smith, the left-handed slugger from the University of Virginia is undoubtedly the best fit for Tampa Bay.

facebooktwitterreddit