The draft has come and gone, and the Rays have appeared to add some depth to the organization. Five out of their first six picks were position players, but the third day picks were mostly pitchers. The interesting thing about the draft was how many second basemen they took. Five players listed here were drafted as second baseman, and it seems like a sixth one will play there as a professional. They still got their share of athletes though, and maybe Ciuffo can be their homegrown answer behind the plate.
1. Nick Ciuffo, Lexington HS (South Carolina), Bats Left, Throws Right, 6'1 205, 18.24 Y.O.
Perhaps unlike any other catcher in the draft, Ciuffo positively affects games offensively and defensively. At the plate, he has above average power potential from the left side and a solid swing that should produce enough contact. He really made his money behind the plate though. He's an advanced receiver for his age and has the arm strength to control the running game. His energy and intelligence also allow him to bring impressive intangibles to the table. He's been committed to South Carolina since he was a freshman, but he will sign.
38. David Sheaffer, North Surry HS (North Carolina), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'2 170, 18.06 Y.O.
Sheaffer is the son of Danny Shaeffer, a former major leaguer and the Princeton Rays' manager for the upcoming season. He's committed to The Master's College where his older brother pitched. He is likely not the most objective observer, but Danny believes his son has the potential to be a professional player, but I would guess that it won't be in 2013.
4. Kean Wong, Waiakea HS (Hawaii), Bats Left, Throws Right, 5'11 190, 18.12 Y.O.
Wong will be compared to his older brother Kolten because that always happens, and especially second basemen, but he is a different player. Kean has a better arm and a little more power, but he's not as athletic. That's key; he's played all over the infield as an amateur, including catcher, but will he be able to play in the middle infield? Some say no. Third base could be his best fit defensively, but that raises this question: does he have the power to profile there? He has a pretty advanced plate approach, and the Rays will have a chance soon to find out where he fits best because he intends to sign.
5. Johnny Field, Arizona, Bats Right, Throws Right, 5'10 195, 21.28 Y.O.
Field played outfield his entire at Arizona, and as far as I can tell, hasn't played second base since he was in high school. He's described as a good defender in the outfield, but a lack of arm strength will lead to his return to the infield. He was a spark plug on last year's NCAA champions and stands out for his energy and effort. He has a short swing that'll produce plenty of contact but will add almost no power. He's an okay athlete and wasn't a particularly efficient base stealer as an amateur.
15. Coty Blanchard, Jacksonville State, Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'1 185, 21.46 Y.O.
As far as 15th round college hitters go, Blanchard is pretty intriguing. He had a breakout 2013 season with JSU now that he's completely focused on baseball after previously appearing as the school's starting quarterback. He's still raw though, but reports indicate he is planning to sign. He has some power potential, arm strength and athleticism but needs refinement in all areas. He committed a lot of errors at shortstop, but with some experience at second base and the outfield, he could have some versatility. Maybe the Rays have a player here now that he's devoted to baseball.
17. Willie Calhoun, Benicia HS (California), Bats Left, Throws Right, 5'9 177, 18.57 Y.O.
Unlike the last three second basemen listed, Calhoun has no ties or potential for any other position. He's a certain second baseman without much athleticism or arm strength. At his size, he has no power either, but he has a great feel for contact and advanced plate approach. Committed to Arizona, he has said that he's not leaning toward either honoring that commitment or signing yet.
40. Ryan Henley, Azusa Pacific, Bats Right, Throws Right, 5'9 180, 22.15 Y.O.
Henley is the grandson of longtime scout Gail Henley. He's a senior, so he should sign unless he just doesn't want to play baseball. Azusa Pacific also produced former Rays legend Stephen Vogt and a handful of other professional players including the Mets' Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
2. Riley Unroe, Desert Ridge HS (Arizona), Bats Switch, Throws Right, 5'11 180, 17.83 Y.O.
Unroe's stock was on the rise this spring thanks to an improved bat and athleticism. He's a better hitter batting right handed, but his impressive bat speed is present from both sides of the plate. Some sources indicate he could stay at shortstop, but a lot of people always say that if there's any question at all, he shouldn't be a shortstop. Regardless, he has the athleticism to play a quality second base or center field. He's a smart player and plays the game hard, probably in part due to his major league bloodlines: his father Tim is a former major leaguer. Baseball America's Conor Glassey has said several times that it will take $1.4 million, or first round money, to sign him away from a USC commitment.
12. Pat Blair, Wake Forest, Bats Right, Throws Right, 5'10 180, 21.67 Y.O.
Blair was drafted in the 24th round by Houston last year, and his decision to return to Wake Forest appears to have paid off as far as draft round goes. He's only a singles hitter and will add no power, but he does have some strengths. He's one of the most patient hitters in college baseball and finished in the top five in walks his senior season. He's a decent athlete and an efficient base stealer, and he should be able to provide some defensive versatility.
7. Ty Young, Louisville, Bats Left, Throws Right, 5'10 175, 20.87 Y.O.
If it feels like the Rays took a lot of small, grinder type players, I think you're right. Young has played third base for the Omaha-bound Cardinals, but he's probably a second baseman. He profiles as a top of the order type hitter who can get on base by any means necessary and then impact the game on the bases. He can make consistent contact to all fields and has a patient approach, but he's not a power hitter at all.
33. Hector Montes, Southwestern College, Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'0 235, 21.28 Y.O.
This is the second time the Rays have drafted Montes after making him their 47th rounder in 2010. At the time, he expressed a desire to sign, but he stayed in his hometown to play college ball instead. Despite his listed position, he seems more like a first baseman based on his size. Despite only hitting three home runs in 2013, he could have some power, considering the conference leader only had four.
3. Thomas Milone, Masuk HS (Connecticut), Bats Left, Throws Left, 5'11 190, 18.35 Y.O.
Milone is an electric athlete that starred in football and baseball in high school, and perhaps due to his time spent playing football, is really raw on the diamond. He has four potential average or better tools with only his arm checking in below average. It'll still be good enough in center field though where he'll cover a lot of ground. His bat speed is good, but mechanical issues in his swing prevent him from consistently hitting the ball hard. He has work to do there and in the field, but with his tools, the payoff could be worth the risk. He's committed to Connecticut.
11. Hunter Lockwood, Weatherford College, Bats Right, Throws Right, 5'10 180, 20.71 Y.O.
Lookwood really wants to catch, but his inability to catch could be a barrier to achieving his goal. Despite being on the small side, he has plus power potential and was even second in the Big 12 home runs as a freshman in 2012 before transferring to Weatherford College hoping to get a chance to catch regularly. His power can profile at other positions though, but even if it's in a corner outfield spot, he'll have work to do on his defense. He has to work on his plate approach and shortening his swing to put the ball in play more and strike out less. He did not sign with Anaheim has a 17th rounder two years ago, but he's not currently committed to go back to a four year college and could be signable.
18. Julian Ridings, Western Carolina, Bats Left, Throws Right, 6'2 170, 21.25 Y.O.
Ridings is a pretty good athlete, and it's possible that an undisclosed suspension in 2013 led to concerns about his makeup and a draft day slide. He had double digit home runs and steals for Western Carolina, not an easy thing to do in college. Despite that, he'll be more of a gap hitter, but the speed is real. In his career, he's 29 out of 35 stealing bases, and he's worked to improve his plate approach to get on base and take advantage of that speed. He could be a solid defender in center field. Juniors drafted in this range aren't guaranteed to sign, but his Twitter bio location being changed to "TAMPA BAY RAYS" could indicate he's leaning toward signing.
24. Jeremy Hadley, Sachse HS (Texas), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'0 204, 18.52 Y.O.
Hadley has apparently impressed in Perfect Game events before, but that has not resulted in any 2013 draft buzz. PG's report indicates he's an average athlete with some power potential. Depending on where you look, he's either committed to Dallas Baptist University or Northeast Texas Junior College.
31. Dalton Martinez, Dunedin HS (Florida), Bats Right, Throws Right, 5'11 165, 19.06 Y.O.
Dave's son didn't even play baseball in 2013, but either the team's top evaluators just say what people want to hear, or they believe Dalton has some baseball ability. Dave says he's either headed to South Florida or Central Florida Community College, but there's a tiny, non-zero chance that he signs.
34. Devin Ceciliani, Madras HS (Oregon), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'2 190, 18.60 Y.O.
Devin's older brother Darrell is a Mets minor leaguer. He was a multi-sport athlete at Madras and seems to be committed to Western Oregon to play football.