Potential 2013 Rays Draft Picks

To see my post on the Yankees, click here.
To see my post on the Cardinals, click here.

On June 6, 2013, the first day of the MLB Amateur draft begins. The Tampa Bay Rays have two first round picks (picks 21 and 29), and a second and third round pick (picks 60 and 97). Let's look at the recent drafting history of the Rays to see what type of player the team will focus on, and try to identify some draft prospects they should target. Below is a list of players the Rays have drafted over the last five years in the first three rounds:

Year Round Pick # Name Position School level
2012 1 25 Richie Shaffer 3B College
2012 2 88 Spencer Edwards SS HS
2012 3 119 Andrew Toles CF College
2011 1 24 Taylor Guerrieri RHP HS
2011 1 31 Mikie Mahtook OF College
2011 1 32 Jake Hager SS HS
2011 1 38 Brandon Martin SS HS
2011 1 41 Tyler Goeddel 3B HS
2011 1 42 Jeff Ames RHP College
2011 1 52 Blake Snell LHP HS
2011 1 56 Kes Carter OF College
2011 1 59 Grayson Garvin LHP College
2011 1 60 James Harris OF HS
2011 2 75 Granden Goetzman CF HS
2011 2 89 Lenny Linsky RHP College
2011 3 119 Johnny Eierman SS HS
2010 1 17 Josh Sale RF HS
2010 1 31 Justin O'Conner C HS
2010 1 42 Drew Vettleson RF HS
2010 2 66 Jacob Thompson RHP College
2010 2 79 Derek Dietrich SS College
2010 3 98 Ryan Brett SS HS
2009 1 30 LeVon Washington 2B HS
2009 2 78 Kenny Diekroeger SS HS
2009 3 108 Todd Glaesmann CF HS
2008 1 1 Tim Beckham SS HS
2008 2 47 Kyle Lobstein LHP HS
2008 3 78 Jake Jefferies C College

The Rays have had an astonishing 28 draft picks in the first three rounds over the last five years, thanks in large part to their 13 picks in rounds 1-3 in 2011. This gives us a large sample to learn from. Over half have been in the first round - 16 out of 28. Of the 28 players drafted, 18 have been from the high school ranks, or 64% of the players drafted. This is the exact opposite of the last team I analyzed, the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the first round, 69% of their draft picks have been from high school, 31% from college. Take out 2011, and the numbers jumps to 83% for high school first round picks. In the second round, they have picked prep players 57% of the time, and college players 43% of the time. In the third round, 60% of their picks are high schoolers, and only 40% came from college ball. However, except for 2009, they have always picked at least one college player in the first three rounds.

This year, the Rays have 4 picks in the first three rounds. Given their drafting history above, we can expect three high school players and one college player. This is a bit higher than their 69% rate of picking high school players, but let's bump them up by discounting the 2011 results a bit. They will not have the same budgetary pressures with only 4 picks as they did with 13 picks.

So what type of players do they focus on? In the first round, they have picked a prep bat 50% of the time since 2008, a college bat 17% of the time, and both prep and college arms 11% of the time. In the second round, they have gone with a prep bat 43% of the time, a college arm 29% of the time, and both prep arms and college bats 14% of the time. In the third round, they've gone with a prep bat 60% of the time, and a college bat 40% of the time.

Overall, they've gone with a prep bat 15 out of 28 picks since 2008, or 54% of the time. They've picked a college bat 21% of the time and a college arm 14% of the time. Surprisingly, given their success with starting pitching prospects, they've only picked a prep arm 11% of the time in the first three rounds. So overall, they've picked a bat 75% of the time in the first three rounds. Of those, they've picked a SS an astonishing 47% of the time, and an outfielder 40% of the time. Out of the 25% of their picks that were pitchers, they've picked a RHP 57% of the time, and a LHP 43% of the time.

Given their draft history, what type of draft could we expect from the Rays this year? It seems reasonable to expect them to pick a high school player in the first round, as they've done 69% of the time in the last five years. With 4 picks, we would expect 2 (50%) to be prep bats, with one being a SS and one being an OF. We would expect one college bat, and one arm. While they have picked more college arms than prep arms, they have never had near 50% of their top three round picks be from college. So let's assume that they will pick a prep arm. Looking at their tendencies over the last five years, I would expect the first pick to be a prep bat, either a SS or OF. They second first rounder, I am going to go with a prep arm, given the two time they have picked a prep arm, it was in the first round. In the second and third round, I am going to look at a college bat and a prep bat, in that order.

Looking at my personal draft rankings, who would be available that fits these descriptions. For their first pick, pick 21, let's look at the 10 players surrounding 21 (my ranked #16-26):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Bobby Wahl RHP Mississippi
Ian Clarkin LHP California James Madison
Ryan Boldt OF Minnesota Red Wing
Oscar Mercado SS Florida Gaither
Philip Ervin OF Alabama
Robert Kaminsky LHP New Jersey St. Joseph Regional
Justin Williams OF Louisiana Terrebonne
Ryan Eades RHP Louisiana
Louisiana State
Aaron Judge OF California
Fresno State
Marco Gonzales LHP Washington
Michael Lorenzen OF California
Cal State Fullerton

We have two prep outfielders here, Ryan Boldt and Justin Williams, and one prep SS, Oscar Mercado. The Rays like speedy, athletic types. Of these three, Ryan Boldt is the best match. Boldt is a toolsy cold-weather draft prospect, out of Red Wing HS in Minnesota. He has above average speed and outfield defense, and projects to be a center fielder with a top of the order bat. He will take a bit longer than some other players available at this point, but the Rays don't shy away from projects, and projectability. So with pick 21, the Rays select Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS, Minnesota.

Their second first round pick, compensation for the loss of BJ Upton to the Braves, is pick 29. Looking at players ranked around this pick on my board (my ranked 24-34), with some overlap from the previous list:

First name Last name POS State High School College
Aaron Judge OF California
Fresno State
Marco Gonzales LHP Washington
Michael Lorenzen OF California
Cal State Fullerton
D.J. Peterson 1B New Mexico
New Mexico
Kevin Ziomek LHP Tennesee
Stephen Gonsalves LHP California Cathedral Catholic
Brett Morales RHP Florida King
Nick Ciuffo C South Carolina Lexington
Trevor Williams RHP Arizona
Arizona State
Chris Okey C Florida Eustis
Tom Windle LHP Minnesota

Here, we have two prep arms: Stephen Gonslaves and Brett Morales. In my previous pieces on the Yankees and Cardinals, both have been picked before pick 29, knocking them off the Ray's board. So let's look a bit further down the list. In the next ten on my list, there is also Dustin Driver and Clinton Hollon. I like Hollon, but I think Driver's stuff is a bit better. His fastball tops out in the mid-90s, with late life. Both his breaking ball and change-up could be plus pitches, if he can develop a bit more consistency with them. He's a bit short for Rays pitchers (only 6'2"), but he could be a mid-rotation starter. He will take some time to develop, but the Rays like to develop their prep arms one level at a time anyway, so that shouldn't be an issue. So with pick 29, the Rays select Dustin Driver, RHP, Wenatchee HS, Washington.

For their second round pick (pick 60), let's look at college bats (my ranked 55-65):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Garrett Williams RHP Louisiana Calvary Baptist
Colby Suggs RHP Arkansas
Hunter Harvey RHP North Carolina
Dillon Overton LHP Oklahoma
Drew Ward 3B Oklahoma Leedey
Ryan "Rowdy" Tellez 1B California Elk Grove
Hunter Renfroe C Mississippi
Mississippi State
Aaron Blair RHP West Virginia
Dylan Covey RHP California
San Diego
Casey Shane RHP Texas Centennial
A.J. Vanegas RHP California

So there is one college bat, Hunter Renfroe. They haven't picked a catcher in the first three rounds, so this would be unusual for them. However, the next ranked college bats are in the mid-80s, first basemen Brian Ragira and Conrad Gregor. They haven't picked a first baseman in the first three rounds in any of the last five years. So let's go with Hunter Renfroe - chances are he ends up in RF anyway. Hunter was drafted by the Red Sox in 2010 in the 31st round, but chose to go to Mississippi State instead rather than professional baseball. He is not strong defensively as a catcher, but he has some serious boom in the bat. As of April 18th, he has a .429/.494/.865 slash line, with 13 HR and a 17/19 BB/K ratio. With pick 60, the Rays select Hunter Renfroe, C/OF, Mississippi State.

Their third round pick is pick 97, and we are looking for another prep bat (my ranked 92-102):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Tyler Danish RHP Florida Durant
Kevin Franklin 3B California Gahr
John Sternagel 3B Florida Rockledge
Jared King 1B Kansas
Kansas State
Teddy Stankiewicz RHP Oklahoma
Seminole State CC
William Abreu OF Florida Mater Academy
Cory Thompson RHP South Carolina Mauldin
Chad Pinder SS Virginia
Virginia Tech
Corey Knebel RHP Texas
Alex Balog RHP California San Francisco
Chris Kohler LHP California Los Osos

William Abreu is off the board, to the Cardinals at pick 93. So we have Kevin Franklin and John Sternagel. Both are projected as third basemen, but Sternagel is much better defensively, playing SS in HS right now. However, Franklin has big time power, and should be adequate in the outfield, if he can't stick at third. The Rays tend to focus on defense over power, so let's go with Sternagel. Sternagel is a bit of a left-side tweener, probably not being able to stick at SS in professional ball, and not having the type of power at third base most teams want. However, he could turn into a Joe Randa/Bill Mueller type of third baseman, with plus defense. With pick 97, the Rays selected John Sternagel, SS/3B, Rockledge HS, Florida.

The Final Picks look like this:

21. Ryan Boldt, OF, Red Wing HS, Minnesota

29. Dustin Driver, RHP, Wenatchee HS, Washington

60. Hunter Renfroe, C/OF, Mississippi State, Mississippi.

97. John Sternagel, SS/3B, Rockledge HS, Florida

So what do you think? Does this look like a reasonable draft for the Tampa Bay Rays? Who do you think is a better fit, and why?

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