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Tampa Bay Rays: Top 5 Prospects for the 2020 MLB Draft

SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 06 : Tampa Bay Rays draftee Nick Ciuffo (L) poses for a photograph with Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig at the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network on June 6, 2013 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 06 : Tampa Bay Rays draftee Nick Ciuffo (L) poses for a photograph with Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig at the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft at the MLB Network on June 6, 2013 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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Tampa Bay Rays first-round pick of 2014, Casey Gillaspie (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

2. Tampa Bay Rays Potential Draft Pick – RHP Slade Cecconi, Miami

Originally selected in the 38th round of the 2018 first-year player draft, Cecconi decided his best option was the college route to improve his draft position. After spending the last two seasons at the University of Miami, Cecconi finds himself in a position to be a first-round pick in this year’s draft.  Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 219-pounds Cecconi has the prototypical size of a big-league pitcher.

In his first year in a Hurricanes uniform, Cecconi pitched 80 innings including 13 starts while posting a 4.16 ERA. He struck out 89 batters walked 18 and posted a 5-4 record to go along with a 1.213 WHIP. Not exactly the most impressive of numbers but you could tell that Cecconi had a good amount of potential. In this spring’s shortened season Cecconi pitched 21.1 innings over 4 starts with a 3.80 ERA with a 1.031 WHIP.

Cecconi has a 4-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. His fastball hits the mid to upper 90’s while his slider clocks in around the upper 80’s typically. Those are his two best pitches and he uses them very effectively in combination with one another. His curve and changeup are less than effective so if he wants to eventually become a part of the rotation he needs to develop those pitches further.

If not, he may wind up only being a decent option out of the bullpen at best. His command may also be an issue as he walked 7 batters in 21 innings this past spring as opposed to 2019 when he walked 18 over 80 innings. Cecconi also has stamina concerns as he does not pitch deep into starts very often. This could be another indicator that the bullpen may be Cecconi’s best fit at the big-league level.

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