Tampa Bay Rays: A Look Back at the 1997 Expansion Draft

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Dimitri Young (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Dimitri Young

The 16th pick of the draft resulted in the Rays walking away with Dimitri Young. The former fourth-overall pick of the 1991 draft was would go one to become a scary slugger who would hit .292 with an OPS of .826 over a 13-year career. Young was a professional hitter who, on November 18, 1997, was swept away from the Reds in the expansion draft, then traded back to them as a player to be named later from a deal earlier in the day.

Roller Coaster of a Day… a Week.

Young wasn’t even packing the boxes yet, he was looking for boxes to prepare for his move to St. Petersburg, Florida before he found out that he was traded back to the team he was just on a few hours prior. The crazy thing for Dimitri was that he was just traded from the Cardinals to the Reds only seven days prior to all of these shenanigans! Another missed opportunity for the Rays here, but a cool story.

Fred McGriff

After the draft was over the trades began. While the Rays did not trade for the ‘Crime Dog’ they did purchase his services from the Atlanta Braves. Fred McGriff finished his 19-year major-league carer in the big leagues with a .509 slugging percentage. In his first season with the Rays, he was good. He hit .284 with a .371 on-base percentage while hitting 19 homers and driving in 81 runs. The following season the ‘Crime Dog’ took a bite out of the American League by smashing 32 dingers with 104 RBI while hitting .310.

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