The Tampa Bay Rays have another draft in the books. Here’s a recap of how the Rays performed.
The Tampa Bay Rays had another successful draft in 2020. They added quality talent to the best farm system in baseball. Here’s a quick look at every player the Rays took in the 2020 MLB Draft.
Tampa Bay Rays – (Rd 1) Pick 24, Nick Bitsko, RHP
Nick Bitsko, the 17-year-old phenom with ace upside slid to Tampa Bay due to the fact that he hasn’t pitched beyond his sophomore year in high school. The team liked what their analytics told them and took next year’s top pick with the 24th pick of the 2020 draft.
Tampa Bay Rays – (Rd 1C) Pick 37, Alika Williams, SS
Alika Williams, a shortstop out of Arizona State. Tampa Bay continues to stockpile shortstops by taking two more in this year’s draft. They came into the draft with six of their top 30 prospects on MLB.com listed as shortstops (including Xavier Edwards and Vidal Brujan’s 2B/SS designations).
Alika Williams was profiled as a glove-first shortstop but he was the cleanup hitter for ASU last season while slugging .474. He walks more than he strikes out, hits for a high average, finds the gaps for plenty of doubles, and has good speed with nine steals in just over 200 at-bats last season.
Tampa Bay Rays – (Rd 2) Pick 57, Ian Seymour, LHP, Virginia Tech
Ian Seymour was taken with the 57th overall pick out of Virginia Tech. The lefty was having a truly spectacular 2020 before the season came to an abrupt end. In 20.1 innings pitched he had 40 strikeouts.
Seymour’s windup hides the ball very well and offers a plus change-up to go along with a low to mid-90s fastball.
Tampa Bay Rays – (Rd 3) Pick 96, Hunter Barnhart, RHP, St. Joseph High School (CA)
The two-sport standout is adept at keeping hitters off-balance by balancing his fastball, which can reach up to 96 mph, with a 77-80 mph curve and a changeup that can run as slow as 81 mph. Starring in both football and baseball in high school, Barnhart is ready to commit himself to baseball full-time. He could end up rocketing up the Rays prospect rankings as he continues to develop.
Tampa Bay Rays – (Rd 4) Pick 125, Tanner Murray, SS, UC Davis
Tanner Murray has two years of collegiate eligibility left but has declared his intention to sign the contract with the Rays to see what he’s made of. Murray is known for his slick-defensive play while hitting .342 with 21 steals in 458 collegiate at-bats. While he only has three career homers he did rake 33 doubles to give him a solid .469 slugging percentage in 115 college games.
Tampa Bay Rays – (Rd 5) Pick 155, Jeff Hakanson, P, Central Florida
And with their final selection of the 2020 MLB Draft, Tampa brought back a hometown kid. Jeff Hakansan grew up in Tampa, pitched for Jesuit High in Tampa, and used to attend Rays games at Tropicana Field.
Hakanson didn’t catch the team’s attention until he went to UCF and became a dominant reliever. How dominant was he at UCF? In 2019 he struck out 52 batters in just 26.2 innings and in the abbreviated 2020 season he added 20 more Ks in just 8.1 innings.
This is another phenomenal draft class by the folks in the front office. Sit back and enjoy a team that trusts in their numbers and their plan. How do you feel about this crop of prospects?