2014 MLB draft: Rays select 1B Casey Gillaspie

Conor Gillaspie might not have to wait long for his brother Casey to join him in the big leagues - Jamie Squire

If you wanted a first base prospect, you got it

With the 20th pick, the Rays selected first baseman Casey Gillaspie from Wichita State.  I wrote about him somewhat recently:

1B Casey Gillaspie, Wichita State (21 Y.O. 6'4, 230 S/L)

Best tool: Gillaspie is a switch hitter with power from both sides of the plate.

Analysis: I will start this with the obligatory mention that he is the White Sox's Conor Gillaspie's younger brother, and he also went to Wichita State.  He's a good all-around hitter, and he can get it done from both sides of the plate.  While he's limited to first base, he's a good defender there.  If it was a tool, his plate approach would be his best one.  He has an almost comical 52 walks to just 24 strikeouts on the season.  He's the rare switch hitter that throws left handed.

Stock: Gillaspie is at a minimum a top 50 pick in this draft, so if the Rays want him, it'll have to be at #20.

Tools (potential grades, not present) per MLB.com:

Hit: 60
Power: 60
Speed: 20
Field: 50
Arm: 40

ESPN's scouting report ($)

MLB.com video

Baseball America video

Baseball Prospectus video

Chris Crawford's (ESPN) reaction, in brief:

20. Tampa Bay Rays: Casey Gillaspie | 1B, Wichita State


There are those who believe that Gillaspie is a switch hitter who can hit for average and power from those sides of the plate; I'm just not one of them.

More reaction from Baseball America:

Gillaspie presented the best college bat left on the board and the Rays had been linked to bats. He is the first ever first baseman drafted by the Rays in the first round.

The Rays will be back on the clock in a long time at #60.

I'm inclined to agree with Chris on this pick.  His power may be a bit underwhelming for the position, but hopefully he can move through the system quickly.

***

Rays Press Release:

RAYS SELECT 1B CASEY GILLASPIE (NO. 20) IN FIRST ROUND 
OF 2014 MLB FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT

ST. PETERSBURG, FL-The Tampa Bay Rays have selected first baseman Casey Gillaspie (guh-LESS-pee) from Wichita State University with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

The 21-year-old switch-hitter is only the third college hitter taken by the Rays with their first overall selection, joining third baseman Richie Shaffer (Clemson University, 2012) and third baseman Evan Longoria (Long Beach State University, 2006).

During his just-completed junior season at Wichita State, Gillaspie batted .389 (82-for-211) with 15 home runs, 50 RBI, a .520 on-base percentage and .682 slugging percentage in 59 games.  He tied for fifth among all Division I players in home runs and led the nation with 58 walks.  He led the Missouri Valley Conference in homers, batting avg., on-base pct., slugging pct. and hits, tied for first in RBI, tied for second with 50 runs scored and tied for sixth with 15 doubles.

Gillaspie was rated the No. 1 first baseman in the draft, college or high school, by Baseball America.  This season he was named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy.  He was also named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, the first Shocker to earn the honor since Mike Pelfrey in 2005.  Last summer he led the Cape Cod League with eight home runs while playing for the Falmouth (Mass.) Commodores and was named to the Cape Cod League All-Star Team.

Gillaspie is the younger brother of Chicago White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who was selected by the San Francisco Giants with the 37th overall pick of the 2008 June Draft and three months later became the first member of his draft class to reach the majors.  He becomes the fifth Wichita State position player drafted in the first round, joining his brother in 2008, Russ Morman in 1983 (White Sox), Joe Carter in 1981 (Chicago Cubs) and Joe Krsnich in 1972 (Yankees). 

Their father, Mark Gillaspie, was an All-American outfielder at Mississippi State University and an 11th-round selection by the San Diego Padres in the 1981 June Draft.  He went on to play eight seasons in the minor leagues.

***

Rays First Selections, All-Time

1996    OF Paul Wilder No. 29 overall

1997    RHP Jason Standridge No. 31 overall

1998    1B Josh Pressley No. 132 overall (4th round)

1999    OF Josh Hamilton No. 1 overall

2000    OF Rocco Baldelli No. 6 overall

2001    RHP Dewon Brazelton No. 3 overall

2002    SS B.J. Upton No. 2 overall

2003    OF Delmon Young No. 1 overall

2004    RHP Jeff Niemann No. 4 overall

2005    RHP Wade Townsend No. 8 overall

2006    3B Evan Longoria No. 3 overall

2007    LHP David Price No. 1 overall

2008    SS Tim Beckham No. 1 overall

2009    CF LeVon Washington No. 30 overall

2010    OF Josh Sale No. 17 overall

2011    RHP Taylor Guerrieri No. 24 overall

2012    3B Richie Shaffer No. 25 overall

2013    C Nick Ciuffo No. 21 overall

2014    1B Casey Gillaspie No. 20 overall

***

Notable selections with the 20th pick in draft history (since 1965)

Mike Mussina, RHP, Orioles, 1990

CC Sabathia, LHP, Indians, 1998

Torii Hunter, OF, Twins, 1993

Bob Welch, RHP, Dodgers, 1977

Rick Rhoden, RHP, Dodgers, 1971

Adam Kennedy, INF, Cardinals, 1997

Denard Span, OF, Twins, 2002

Gregg Jefferies, INF, Mets, 1985

Eric Milton, LHP, Yankees, 1996

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