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Tampa Bay Rays Draft: Best farm system in MLB gets even better

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 26: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays wears his Wilson glove during the spring training game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 26, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images).
TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 26: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays wears his Wilson glove during the spring training game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 26, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images). /
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The Tampa Bay Rays made a splashy draft pick and a “safe” one last night during round one of the MLB Draft.

We’ve covered the Tampa Bay Rays first selection Nick Bitsko at length here already. It goes back to a couple of weeks ago when our own Keegan McGuiggan pinpointed him as a potential selection by the Rays. You can read that article in the link below:

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

Bitsko was rated as the top prospect in the 2021 draft class before declaring he would graduate early and enter the draft in 2020.

Tampa Bay Rays: Next Year’s Top Pick, Today

Essentially, the Rays got next year’s number one pick at 24th overall this year. As we’ve covered, at age 17 he’s being compared to all kinds of great names. His spin rate is out of this world. His velocity already has his fastball as an above-average major-league pitch. Ditto for his slider.

Despite only pitching in his freshman and sophomore seasons in high school, he was still ranked inside of the top 20 prospects by major publications such as Baseball America, The Atheltic, and ESPN. His highest rating came from MLB.com, who pegged him as the 14th-ranked prospect in the draft.

At just 17, if he improves at all over the next two years, it’s likely the Rays have added another future superstar to their growing collection. The sky appears to be the limit for the 6-4, 225-pound teenager.

Below is a video he posted to his Instagram account in which he hits 98.5 mph with 97% spin efficiency.

The Rays are the consensus choice as the top farm system in all of baseball. This pick was the pick other teams were too afraid to make, but they knew they should have. This is the type of decision-making that has led the Rays to the top farm system in the league.

The slot value assigned to the  24th pick is $2,831,300.00. Bitsko had previously committed to the University of Virginia but that kind of money is likely to persuade him to join the smartest franchise in baseball.

Here’s what Bitsko had to say after finding out Tampa Bay selected him with their first pick:

"“I was a little bit surprised, but an exciting moment, great organization to be in."

Next. Rays are Spock of MLB Draft. dark

Where do you think Bitsko currently slots in among the team’s pitching prospects? Let us know in the comments or on our social media pages.

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