The Rays wrap up Day 1 with another high school bat with tremendous upside.
Drew Vettleson Position: OF School: Central Kitsap HS State: WA Height: 6’1’’ Weight: 185
Bats: L Throws: R Birth Date: 7/19/91 Seiler Rating: 1C3 Commitment: Oregon State
Drew Vettleson is a solid high school outfielder from Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale, Washington, which is just outside of Seattle. Vettleson joins forces with Bishop Blanchet’s Josh Sale to make one of the best outfield duos for offensive potential in states across the country this spring. Even more interesting is that Vettleson is actually an ambidextrous pitcher, throwing quality stuff from both the right and left side. However, he’s much more of a prospect with the bat, and has developed into one of the top corner outfielders available in this draft class. His combination of power, hitting ability, and arm strength make him a potential starting right fielder at the next level. His hit tool is above-average, and when combined with plus raw power, he’s a legitimate hitting threat. He’s quite selective at the plate, and like Sale, he’s quite an advanced hitter for his age, which is exceptional considering their geography. Vettleson is a below-average runner, though, and he’s limited to an outfield corner, where he has fringe-average range. His arm is above-average to plus, though, so he has some defensive value. All this being said, he’s an unpredictable prospect, as he’s toolsy in some areas but quite pedestrian in others. He can hit, but his value otherwise is quite up in the air. He could sneak up as high as the supplemental first round to a team that really loves his bat, but he fits better in the second or third rounds, where he should sign for something close to slot money.
Here's the analysis on Vettleson from ESPN's Keith Law and Jason Churchill:
Vettleson has earned some notice for his switch-pitching, but he’s a pro prospect as an outfielder who can hit and profiles well in right. He starts his hands way back behind his torso and he can bar out that lead arm, but he does generate great bat speed and had no trouble with average fastballs at last year’s Area Code Games.
He’s very stable through his swing with some loft that should produce average power. He’s a fringe-average runner who has a plus arm and should have no trouble handling right field, and his potential for average power with a high batting average makes him a solid pick in the second to third rounds.
In addition to Tommy's posts yesterday, here is the Law/Churchill analysis of Josh Sale:
Sale uses his thick lower half and plus bat speed to generate big-time power. It's that same build, however, that may prevent him from offering anything more than average defensive value, though he does a good job tracking fly balls and offers enough arm strength to profile in a corner outfield spot.
His swing isn't exactly clean and he?ll get out in front on occasion, but he's so strong and quick to the ball that he makes up for busy hands at the start of his swing path.
Sale may end up at first base down the road, but makes enough contact to mix with the raw power to profile anywhere on the diamond. To top it off, Sale possesses tremendous work ethic and good baseball makeup.
And Justin O'Conner:
O'Conner came into his senior year as a top prospect because he was intriguing, but didn't have a clear position or definite projection with the bat. However, since his shift to catching he's established himself as a likely first-round pick.
He has good bat speed and is very balanced and strong through the swing, but doesn't use his lower half much and may not see the power carry over to wood until he addresses that; he can get a little too linear, but I've also seen his back leg collapse when he goes with a more traditional power swing.
He's got a plus arm with a lightning-quick release, not quite effortless but really just too easy for a guy with limited catching experience, and his receiving is solid. The fact that he now plays a premium position makes questions about his bat a little less concerning, and if he does fulfill his offensive potential he could be a star because of where he now plays.
On the flip side we'll give credit to the excellent scouting process that went in to making these picks
First off, credit goes out to Rays' Scouting Director R.J. Harrison for putting together one of the best units in the business. While Andrew Friedman receives a lot of the credit - and rightfully so - for the team's success, Harrison has final say in the War Room. He's been with the organization since its inception and is overseeing his fifth draft.
The scout that had a big hand in the picks of Sale and Vettleson is Washington area representative Paul Kirsch. I'd imagine he's had a very busy year. Kirsch has been the signing scout for players such as Jason Hammel, Jeff Ridgeway, Jared Sandberg, Dustin Biell, and Ty Morrison.
The selection of Justin O'Conner was no doubt influenced by Indiana scout James Bonnici. He's the man who brought us Andy Sonnanstine and Nevin Ashley.
Tim Huff and Jeff Cornell are the Rays' national crosscheckers, with Ken Stauffer assuming the duties in the Midwest, Fred Repke on the West coast and Kevin Elfering on the East coast. Repke has been especially valuable to the organization. He has an impressive track record dating back to his Expos days and has been leaned on heavily. His notable Tampa Bay signings include James Shields, Evan Longoria, and Jake McGee. Another impressive sheet is that of Elfering, who can boast the signings Elijah Dukes, Wade Davis, Shawn Riggans, and Doug Waechter.
As MLB Drafts go, today was about as exciting as they come. I can't wait to see which direction the Rays head with they're three remaining picks.