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Medicineball: The Story of the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays Draft

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15 rounds are done as I begin to write this. We're entering territory where the names become more abstract and the school names more obscure. A few future major leaguers are still going to be drafted, but they will be few and far between. After each of the first five picks threads were posted with an assortment of links and tidbits. With the blunt of the storm behind us, let's analyze this draft thus far.

Something that 90% of the Rays picks share in common is an injury during their 2009 prep season. Don't believe me? Take a look:

LeVon Washington - torn labrum

Kenny Diekroeger - unspecified knee injury

Todd Glaesmann - broken ankle

Luke Bailey - Tommy John surgery

Brett Nommensen - wrist injury

Derek Dennis - rib cage sprain

Pierce Johnson - broken hand

That's more than a third of the team's picks thus far with injuries. It's common to see some nicks and sprains over a season of any sport, but rarely do they pop up in the scouting reports this often. In some cases, the injuries undoubtedly played a part in the player being available at that selection and I wouldn't be surprised if the Rays attempted to capitalize on the doubt in some of these players' minds. After all, another major injury and their stock could drop dramatically over the next two or three years.

Another trait shared is one that many Rays draftees have shared; so called quick twitch athletics. Think Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, etc. the "pure athlete" types that draft analysts talk about. The Rays are a bunch of tools whores when it comes to drafting, and boy has it worked out quite well.

Oh, and the final trait: there are some presumably difficult signs to be had here. Especially the top five picks minus Washington. I get the feeling that if one of the four go unsigned, in three years they'll be a top 10 pick. Such is the reality of drafting toolsy higher schoolers.

As for the players themselves...

(Player Name) (Level) (Position)  (Bats/Throws) (Age as of June, 1st 2009)

LeVon Washington HS CF L/R 17

Washington will wind up being the most written about. This is probably the first time in team history that the first round pick does not automatically become a top five prospect in the system. That speaks more towards the quality of the existing depth rather than the talent level of Washington. Fantastic speed and a good approach at the plate highlight Washington’s package. He’s still got some work to do defensively and on the basepaths. His ability to throw the ball may ultimately make the decision between center and second base. Best case scenario, he becomes Johnny Damon. Most likely would be Scott Podsednik. He’s going to sign.

Kenny Diekroeger  HS SS R/R 17

A Stanford commit with a 4.0 GPA, Diekroeger is a good defender at short who still needs some work on his actions there. If the Rays can sign him and the bat develops, he’s going to be a prized prospect. He outshined first round pick Mike Trout during workouts and showed a good ability to hit the ball all over the field. High upside here.

Todd Glaesmann HS CF R/R 17

One NL scout compared Glaesmann to Jayson Werth. That would be fantastic. Another comparison being thrown out there is Drew Stubbs, a former top 10 pick from the University of Texas. Glaesmann himself is committed to Texas A&M and could be a difficult signing. As with the other two picks to this point, Glaesmann has tools and quite a few issues to work out in the minor leagues.

Luke Bailey HS C R/R 18

If not for the injury, Bailey would’ve been gone long before this. A power arm behind the plate is met with a power bat at the plate. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but there’s a lot of things that need work here. The potential is there, and he probably resembles Bengie Molina if he reaches the potential. An Auburn commit, could be a tough sign, but if he does, then he’s immediately the Rays best catching prospect.

Jeffrey Malm HS 1B L/L 18

Let’s place the tough sign tag on Malm too. He’s got a USC gig waiting for him if he goes. He hits, a lot. In fact, that’s his main tool since he’s restricted to first base or DH duties. Best first base prospect immediately if signed.

Devin Fuller JUCO RHSP 20

Good fastball but the breaking pitches need work. Gengler is comparing him to last year’s pick of Shane Dyer. Seems reasonable.

Cody Rogers JUCO CF L/R 20

Another potential Aggie. I’d be shocked if he chose against signing.

Brett Nommensen NCAA CF L/L 22

College seniors are usually the most boring of picks. Nommensen has an interesting quirk in his profile though. Last season he got on base 65.2% of the time. That’s just…wow. He did play against weak competition, but still.

Kevin James HS LHSP 18

Has control issues and didn’t dominate in high school. Winds up at Boston College if not the Rays system.

Derek Dennis HS SS R/R 18

Another toolsy prep shortstop.

Alexander Koronis NCAA RHRP 21

The second most written about draftee. Koronis was the University of Tampa closer this season. His fastball sits 89-91 with a slider.

Andrew Bellatti HS RHSP 17

Per Gengler, his favorite team is the Rays. I’m guessing that locks him in to sign.

Hunter Hill JUCO RHSP 20

Texas State transfer, I can’t imagine him choosing school over pro baseball. We’ll see.

Zach Quate NCAA RHRP 21

Another college reliever, Quate allowed 23 hits and struck 48 out. Yeah, that’s nice.

Pierce Johnson HS RHSP 18

Gengler was lobbying for this pick a few days ago. Johnson suffered a broken hand, but has good stuff. Fastball in the 92-93 range.

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There are a few more interesting names leaking through, like Alexander Diaz, but for now let’s put a wrap on the extensive draft coverage. Tomorrow there will be an open thread and I’m going to make a FanPost for draftee signing news and notes.

Otherwise, be sure to check out RaysProspects.com for more expansive draft coverage.