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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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The Rays have a lot to think about on draft day. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

1. Tampa Bay Rays Potential Draft Pick – RHP Tanner Burns, Auburn

Yet another right-handed pitching prospect! Tanner Burns was originally selected in the 37th round of the 2017 Major League Draft by the New York Yankees. Burns opted to improve his draft stock and attended the University of Auburn where he now finds himself in position to be a first-round selection.

According to mlb.com Burns is the 28th rated prospect in this year’s draft so the Ray’s should have their eye on him. The 6-foot 205- pound Burns has been a staple of the Tigers rotation for the past 3 seasons and is now ready to start his major league career.

In his true-freshman season in 2018, Burns posted an impressive 3.01 ERA in 17 starts. With only 77 strikeouts in 86.2 innings Burns wasn’t exactly overpowering opposing hitters but did a great job of limiting runs and getting out of jams.

For his efforts that season he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team and a Freshman All-American. Entering his sophomore season Burns was named to the preseason first-team All-SEC and he didn’t disappoint. Over 15 starts Burns posted a 2.82 ERA with 101 strikeouts over 79.2 innings of work to go along with a 1.105 WHIP. Going into the 2020 season Burns was again projected to be among college baseballs best pitchers as he was named a preseason All-American.

Burns’s best pitch is his fastball which he has great control of and usually slings it in the mid to upper 90’s. His strikeout rate in his last two seasons is also very encouraging as his K/9 was 11.4 in 2019 and 12.9 in this shortened season.

Teams may be turned off by his size as he has a smaller frame than some of the other right-handed prospects in this draft. His durability is also in question as he has already dealt with shoulder injuries that have caused missed time while at Auburn. Burns’s talent is without question as he been among the best college pitchers the past three seasons. If teams can look past the size and potential health concerns they might end up with a fantastic major league pitcher.

Next. Top 3 Draft Busts in Rays' History. dark

What do you think about these prospects? Who do you hope the Rays take with their first pick? Any player not mentioned here that you have a good feeling about? Sound off below in the comments!

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