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Tampa Bay Rays: What Can The Rays Do In The Rule 5 Draft?

By Trey Huntsman
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 07: A Tampa Bay Rays glove and cap before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 07, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 07: A Tampa Bay Rays glove and cap before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 07, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Rule 5 Draft is Thursday morning, the final day of the Winter Meetings. Here are five options that the Tampa Bay Rays could consider with their pick in the Rule 5 Draft.

The MLB Rule 5 Draft is quickly approaching and on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET, teams will have the opportunity to select players to their MLB roster that were not added to other team’s 40-man roster. The players that will available for selection are mainly comprised of players from the 2013 or 2014 MLB Draft. The Tampa Bay Rays will have the 16th pick in the Draft.

With 37 men on their 40-man roster, they have room to add a player if they decide there is someone to their liking. With the impending rebuild, the Rays will have several spots to fill. The Rule 5 Draft would be a good place to find some replacements, so here are five players the Rays could land on Thursday.

*Note: This is a projection of players that might be available at the Rays’ selection.

Victor Reyes, Outfielder – The Tampa Bay Rays have looked at moving some of their outfielders this off-season. Reyes would be a serviceable fourth outfielder if need by. The high-contact outfielder has a career .292 batting average in six minor league seasons. He reached Double-A and played in the Arizona Fall League this off-season.

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He is a solid base runner (80 career steals), but he has a very low power grade. Reyes has never hit more than six home runs in a season in the minors. The Rays could sit him on the bench and watch him develop into a Mallex Smith type player with more contact.

Ryan O’Hearn, First Baseman – Why not take a number on a platoon replacement for Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison? O’Hearn hit 22 home runs each of the last two seasons after hitting 27 in 2015. The highest level he reached was Triple-A with the Royals last season.

While power may be his only tool that plays at the next level, O’Hearn might be an option for time at first base with Brad Miller. He doesn’t strike out at a Joey Gallo rate and he had an OPS of .844.

Nick Burdi, Closer – Alex Colome has been rumored as a trade candidate for the last two weeks. The Tampa Bay Rays will most likely need a new closer for 2018. Burdi would fit that role perfectly.

Burdi was selected in the 2nd round after a dominant career at Louisville and will be bouncing back from Tommy John surgery, he shared on Twitter that he is throwing again. Burdi was one of the hardest throwers in college baseball and he proved he could do the same at the professional level.

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Kohl Stewart, Pitcher – Stewart was not added to the Twins’ 40-man roster just four years after they selected him fourth overall. . If both Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer are moved, the Rays could take a chance on a former top prospect. Stewart has never been a high strikeout guy, but he has been efficient.

2017 was the first step back that Stewart has taken in his minor league career. Stewart went 6-6 with a 4.28 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A. He has high upside and could be worth the pick just to give him time at the big league level.

Gavin LaValley, First Baseman – Outside of Burdi, I think LaValley might be the best option for the Rays. He hits for a solid average, shows good power, and plays a good first base. The Reds’ fourth round pick in 2014, LaValley hit a career-high 18 home runs in 2017. There is a decent chance he will be available at the Rays’ pick.

Next: Rays: Should Move Brad Miller Back to First Base

The Rays will have several spots to fill on their 40-man roster. At a relatively cheap fix, the Rule 5 Draft would be a good place to find some replacements. However, the player selected would have to remain on the Rays 25-man roster all season.

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