Tampa Bay Rays 2021 First Round Draft target: Tyler Black
By Kasey Kuhrts
This is the name you have most likely seen associated with the Tampa Bay Rays, and pick number 28. Tyler Black has been mocked to the Rays from both CBS Sports and ESPN recently.
We’ve already looked at some solid options for this pick, including Trey Sweeney and Ky Bush, but the Rays need to get the pick right. So, let’s look and see if Black is the right pick for the Rays.
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Who is Tyler Black?
Tyler Black is a play-anywhere infielder from Wright State University. Black plays mostly second base but played games at third in 2021, and short in 2019. This couldn’t sound more like a Rays player, am I right?
In three years at Wright State, Black slashed .353/.468/.612. However, his numbers compare strongly to those of Trey Sweeney. Just as with Sweeney, Black found the power in 2021.
In his first 65 career games, Black hit only eight home runs. In 48 games in 2021, Black mashed 13 homers. Naturally, Black also had a higher RBI count than his first two years combined.
Something that stands out to me looking at Black’s numbers, his strikeouts, or lack thereof. In 500 career plate appearances for Wright State, Black has only K’d a total of 52 times. If he could keep that rate up into Major League Baseball, he would likely lead the league in that stat.
What is Tyler Black?
A gamer. Black really does it all. You need a stolen base, he can do that. A hit? No problem. Move over from second to third to get a different player into the game? No issues with that. However, the biggest thing he added in 2021; if you need a homer, Black can do that. You wouldn’t be able to say that in 2020.
Black is ranked as the 57th best prospect in the MLB draft according to MLB.com. However, Black isn’t a guy you see mocked consistently in the first round. The Minnesota Twins and Rays are the teams you see associated with Black the most, but once things get rolling on Sunday night, all bets are off.
MLB.com has ranked Black as a 50 overall on a 20-80 scale, and his “hit” tool ranked the highest at 60.
What would Tyler Black mean for the Tampa Bay Rays?
If I told you this guy was Ben Zobrist, would you take it? Without a doubt. That is my comp for Tyler Black. Black does whatever you need, when you need it. It isn’t going to be flashy, but the “uni” is going to be dirty after the game.
Ben Zobrist was not only a great player, but he was a fan favorite as well. Ben Zobrist was a guy fans always cheered for, and never boo’d. He loved playing baseball and loved playing for the Rays. Before the game, you would always find “Zorilla” signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.
Now, I’m in no way saying you will someday get a selfie with Tyler Black, but I am saying I think Tyler Black is Ben Zobrist on the field, so maybe he will be off it as well.
I would be fine with Tyler Black being the 28th pick in the MLB Draft. He is a college bat and a good one at that. Although he is not my number one option, I would have no issues seeing the Rays go with Black.