Draft Preview Part II



After taking a look at what direction the Rays might go with the first pick, Let's see what they might do beyond that pick. After the jump, we'll start with what the draftniks think.

The 31st Pick
 
This pick is unprotected because it's a comp. pick for not signing LeVon Washington. As such, if the Rays fail to sign the player drafted they lose the pick. Pretty much everything here points to a college player, and in this year's draft that will likely be a college pitcher. Below the draftniks weigh in:
 
Keith Law Mock 2.0:

Brandon Workman, RHP, Texas- I've also heard the Rays on Derek Dietrich and Drew Vettleson; whoever they take here, it'll probably be a predraft agreement because the pick is unprotected. I am having a hard time imagining a pitcher of Workman's caliber and track record getting out of the top 30, but it is a weird year.

 Keith Law Mock 3.0 

Derek Dietrich, SS, Georgia Tech

Drew Vettleson is also in the mix if he gets here. This pick is unprotected, so this will be a player who agrees in advance on the terms of a deal.

Andy Seiller: 

Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, The Citadel - Wojciechowski could easily be off the board well before this pick, but he would represent the highest ceiling college arm available in this scenario. I've run off the assumption that the Rays are going to pick a big college arm in this pick all spring, and it's looking more and more like I'm going to be correct.

Frankie Piliere:

Asher Wojciechowski (RHP) | The Citadel, The right-hander out of The Citadel was not razor sharp in front of several high-level scouts in his final college start, but the stuff is undeniable. He's been talked about all over the first round, anywhere from fourth to the last pick of the round to the Yankees. I expect Tampa Bay to take the best arm available here, and if he lasts, Wojciechowski is that guy.

Once again Piliere and Seiller are on the same page. KLAW agrees that the Rays will go college player here, but he's changed his mind from college arm to college bat as he thinks the Rangers may draft the hometown Workman. None of this is suprising as the Rays will need to target someone they know they can sign easily.

Dereck Dietrich is a college shortstop that will almost definitely move off SS when he transitions to the pro ranks. A lot are skeptical if he'll even be able to stick at 2B/3B, so he is seemingly a corner OF in the pros. He's one of the best hitters in the class and is seemingly a pretty safe bet to be an everyday player. He's also young (20) for a college junior.

Brandon Workman was a 3rd round pick by the Phils out of HS, but this is seemingly the first year he's really put it together though. He's a big kid (6'5, 220lbs) that throws pretty hard, but he doesn't seem to have a whole lot from his secondary offering (curveball). Like Dietrich (or really most any college guy here) he's a lower ceiling, but high floor, play.

Asher Wojciechowski is a RHP with good size (6'4, 235) that throws pretty hard. He usually sits in the mid-90s to go with a good, slurvey curve. He doesn't have a developed third pitch which he will need to start in the bigs. He's been very succesful at the Citadel this year, but he hadn't shown much before.

Knowing how many picks the Rays have early and that this pick is unprotected, I really doubt we see them take any chances with this pick. I'd be suprised if they took a HS guy here unless they have some deal worked out beforehand (in which case, I'd assume it's someone a little lower on other teams' draft boards), although KLAW does mention HS OF Drew Vettleson as a possibility.

Vettleson is a Pacific Northwest kid like a fair amount of recent Rays' draftees. He likely profiles as a RF with his strong arm and solid-but-not-spectacular speed. Seems like he should be able to hit for both average and power in the bigs, but neither tool is seemingly awe-inspiring. He'd likely be a reach in the first round.

Some college players that might fit here:

  • Anthony Ranaudo is a big (6'7, 230) RHP out of LSU with good velo on his FB and also throws two average secondary offerings (curve/change). The curve shows flashes but is inconsistant, while change is just a solid-average pitch.
  • Christian Colon is a SS from Cal State Fullerton who's best attribute is his defense. Because there's no question about his defense (despite being a relatively poor runner), his floor is relatively low, but he's not a guy who you can bank on his offense. He shows some pop and has been successful which is why he'll be a first rounder and why he'd be a good pick if he slips to the Rays here.
  • Deck McGuire is a RHP out of Georgia Tech who has put up great numbers in the tough ACC. Despite his good size and performance, the question is his stuff. His lack of a true out pitch and plus stuff leaves questions about his ceiling.
  • Barret Loux has been perhaps the top pitcher in college this year despite the second "t" in his name or a true out-pitch. He has good control/command, and he works off the underappreciated fastball/change combo. I actually really like him as a "college performance" type guy.

As you can see there are quite a few options here, and so much of it wwill depend on who's available and who the Rays can make a handshake deal with here.

From here, it's a little harder to assign names to spots. Who knows who will be available, and we don't have the mocks to try to look for a consensus. Andy Seiller has done 3 mock drafts of the supplemental round, and he's had  different names in each. In the most recent, he tabbs the aforementioned Loux as a possibility. The other two names he attributes to the Rays are two HS right-handed pitchers. In his first mock he has the Rays taking Robbie Aviles out of NY; the big kid has great raw talent to work with but isn't very polished. He has a Florida commit, but he's expected to sign. Andy's other mock has the Rays taking DeAndre Smelter out of GA. Much like Aviles he's not polished, but the raw materials are there to make taking a chance on him a real possibility.

Personally, I expect the Rays to balance price and talent with all of their early picks. With so many early picks, they could really break the bank this year. While I'm fairly certain we'll end up spending a pretty good amount, I assume they'll be somewhat conservative. Given the need to sign as many guys as possible with the likelihood of more compensation picks next year, we probably won't have the ability to gamble on signabilty guys. If we do take any chances early in the draft I'd expect that they come with our third and fourth picks.

Both the 42nd and 66th picks are protected. They also are still early enough that there remain some very talented high schoolers that you could gamble on. Depending on the word surrounding different guys we could see some top 20 HS talents dropping because people are afraid to take the gamble. With the extra picks we have we could afford to. It will be really interesting to see what we do with these two picks as I believe these could be the most exciting to all the tools whores out there.

The following pick, 79, is another pick that's not protected. Because the Rays didn't sign Kenny Diekroeger last year, they received this pick. I'd expect the Rays go pretty safe here. I'd bet another college player here, but wouldn't be shocked if they took a safer sign high school player as well.It would be a shame to lose the pick, and as such this is another one where they may have a handshake deal in place.

The final of the first 6 picks (98) will also be unprotected, and I'll be really dissipointed if we don't go all upside here. We can afford to really gamble on this one. Since the pick is a mid-third round pick, if the Rays fail to sign the player they'll get a pick in the supplemental 3rd round next year. While it still is preferable to sign him, the 3rd round is the final one with compensatory picks. Hopefully we take a chance on a semi-tough sign HS kid.

In all, this will be a really interesting first few rounds. Hopefully, the Rays will be pretty loose with the pocket strings. A big draft budget this year could really reload a farm system that's seen a bit of graduation the past couple years. WIth the imminent departures of some big league talent, restocking the waves of talent becomes so important for a team small market team.

Stay tuned for Part III where we'll wrap it all up, take a look at more players, and what the national picture looks like.

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