Is it just me, or does the MLB Draft feel a little anti-climatic this year? I feel like we got spoiled last year with the Rays' 10 first round draft picks -- it got me super excited for the draft and counting down to it for months, and I was the most well-read going into a draft that I have ever been. This year, though? The Rays have one measly first round draft pick -- 25th overall -- and I haven't been able to rouse myself to quite the same extent.
Despite the number of picks, though, the draft is always an incredibly important day for the Rays. Young talent is the lifeblood of this organization, and barring trades, the draft is the main way for the Rays to bring in new talent to the organization. Tonight may not be quite as busy as last year, but it's still a big deal.
There's a new twist added in this year, though: there's a new signing bonus system in place due to the new CBA. The Rays have a specific amount of money that they are allowed to spend on each of their draft picks, and if they go too far above the set price, they'll have to pay a draft tax and could potentially forfeit a pick. Here's Andrew Friedman talking about how it may impact things this year:
"I think with the guys that we're most interested in, it's not going to be a problem at all," Friedman said. "The only challenge is that it's going to limit our flexibility late in the draft. We've basically drafted guys normally through the first six-seven-eight rounds and then taken some guys we have interest in later in the draft and basically continue to scour them through the summer and set aside money to be as aggressive as we could on those guys. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out."
Friedman is reserving his judgement on the system -- or at least, he's not publicly stating that he dislikes it -- but I'm somewhat afraid that this is going to come back and hurt small market teams. Sure, this will also prevent large-market teams from dominating the draft through their spending advantage, but that actually hadn't been happening all that much of late. Instead, this system is really going to penalize the small market teams that go big into the draft in order to give themselves some sort of a leg up.
But anyway, on to the links. There are a copious amount of mock drafts out right now, so I'll include some links to a number of draft resources below. But in the meantime, be sure to check out DRB's own mock draft. We'll be posting the final installment this morning, and it'll include the Rays pick so be sure to check it out.
- Baseball America's draft resource page. Their scouting reports on the top 500 players in the draft is absolutely crucial for tonight.
- Baseball America's most recent mock draft, which has the Rays selecting Joey Gallo (3B/RHP).
- Kevin Goldstein was working the phones yesterday, and he's updated his mock draft picks with the most recent information. He doesn't go all the way down to pick #25, and really, that's probably more realistic on his part. How can anyone really forecast who the Rays will select, as it depends who's still on the board after the other 24 picks? It's fun stuff, but a very difficult exercise.
- Over at Rays Digest, John has posted a couple pieces from Frankie Piliere: one on the top players in this year's draft, and one with his mock draft picks. He also has a collection of all the articles published at Rays Digest on potential draft picks for the Rays, so be sure to check it out.