The draft may not be as fun for Rays fans to follow this year without 11 picks in the top 80, as they had last season, but it is just two weeks away. This means the mock drafts have started rolling in, and while they're hardly accurate for picks as late as the Rays (25th), they can give an idea as to which players the team might be looking at. Here's a quick look at some various mocks:
BaseballAmerica (Jim Callis):
25. RAYS: After having a record 12 selections in the first two rounds in 2011, Tampa Bay will have to make its picks count now with no extra choices and a relatively small $3.8 million bonus pool for the top 10 rounds. The Rays develop high school pitchers as well as anyone, and Ty Hensley could give them another potential frontline starter.
Projected Pick: TY HENSLEY.
ESPN (Keith Law):
Tampa Bay Rays - Carson Kelly, 3B, Westview H.S. (Portland, Ore.)
Kelly is a two-way prospect who has strong hands but a noisy lower half. He's the best player available for the Rays, a team with a history of drafting top talent from the Pacific Northwest, such as 2011 supplemental first-rounders Jeff Ames and Blake Snell.
Minor League Ball (John Sickels, from late April):
25) Tampa Bay Rays (John): There are all kinds of scenarios that make sense here. I'll look for a premium tool and pick the fastest man in the draft, prep outfielder D.J. Davis, who has made enough progress with the rest of his game this year to push into first round consideration. D.J. Davis, OF, Mississippi HS. (previous: Trahan)
Again, take these with a grain of salt. Keith Law's May 2011 mock draft had the Rays taking Joe Ross, Levi Michael, and Brandon Nimmo. Jim Callis' had Jose Fernandez, Kolten Wong, and Blake Swihart. And John Sickels projected Robert Stephenson, Jorge Lopez, and Levi Michael. You might note that none of those players are in the Rays system.