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2011 Draft: Can the Rays Measure Up to Draft Expectations?

The Rays are preparing for what Andrew Friedman has referred to as the most important day in the history of the Rays franchise:

DRB: The organization obviously values draft picks very highly. You're going to have a bounty of picks within the top 100 of the 2011 draft (R.J. Harrison has to be drooling). How much of an edge do you feel that gives you over other teams?

AF: June 6, 7 and 8 will be among the most important days in the history of this franchise. Because young players are so important to us, we have a chance in this year's draft to impact our future in a way that's unprecedented. It's a tremendous opportunity and R.J. and his staff have already been working overtime to capitalize on it.

Many GM's have been able to look forward to the draft with a bevy of draft picks and many have walked away with very little to show for it. A total of 19 teams have entered the draft with 5 or more first round (including compensation draft picks). The 1986 California Angels were the first team to have five first round picks and the 1997 Montreal Expos had 8. The Rays will exceed the Expos and will have 10 first round picks between pick #24 and pick #60. As I prepared the data, I found it interesting that for a "distribution of talent" system such as the major league draft, it appears as if most of the teams that garnered multiple picks had winning records the year prior to the draft. The teams drafting had a cumulative winning percentage of .523 the year prior to their draft and a cumulative winning percentage of .518 the year of their draft.

The slideshow presented below details the teams that had 5 or more first round picks, who they lost to acquire the picks, and the player including position and status (high school, college, etc.). A second interesting item which crept up while compiling the slideshow is just how difficult it may be to meet the fans expectations for this draft. But if any organization can not only meet but exceed expectations it would be the Rays and Andrew Friedman. A few draft specific links are included after the jump.

Rays Roundup Draft Preparation by Steve Slowinski
Top 15 Hitting Prospects by Imperialism
2011 Mock Draft by (gives projected player and who most similar to comparison)