Welcome to draft day. If you missed either of the first two parts, here's one, and here's two. We finally get to the Rays pick at 25 as well as some of their toughest competition in the AL, including Texas and New York. We hope you enjoyed this series of posts and will join us in an open draft thread tonight.
23. St. Louis Cardinals select RHP Pierce Johnson (Missouri State): With the Cardinals selecting the raw, athletic Davis at #19, it would make sense for them to opt for a safer choice here. Missouri State righty Pierce Johnson has a few injury concerns, but he hasn't had any major arm trouble (broken hand, dislocated knee, forearm soreness). His stuff is first-round quality across the board, and he ranked among the nation's leaders in K/9 this spring. His clean, repeatable mechanics should allow him to continue to improve his command and control. -Imperialism3224. Boston Red Sox select SS Gavin Cecchini (Barbe HS, LA): I'd imagine the Red Sox would be thrilled if Cecchini slipped to their spot. While the new CBA will keep bonus's to players like him down, the Red Sox should be able to limit spending elsewhere to sign him. The younger brother of Red Sox top prospect Garin Cecchini, Gavin profiles as a defensive minded SS who will steal bases. He lacks impact bat speed that may prevent him from becoming a top of the order hitter, but his defense should carry him through the minors. -mr. maniac
25. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays pick next. They could go several ways. Corey Seager would be a nice HS bat at this spot. Victor Roache has big-time upside. Ty Hensley is very reminiscent of Taylor Guerrieri. I have to imagine the Rays go high upside here and probably lean towards a HS player. With that said, Naquin is a fine pick too. -mr. maniac
After the Rays dedicated much of their banner 2011 class to bats, they look for a high upside lefty this time around with Hunter Virant. His curveball and changeup both have the potential to be above average, and they're already pretty good for a high school arm. His present velocity is below average in the high 80's, but at 6'3 and 172 pounds, he'll likely add to that as he gets stronger. His mechanics are pretty solid, and he has above average athleticism. While some consider him to be a tough sign, a first round bonus should be able to lock him up. There are a lot of directions the Rays could go here, and they could have interest in a couple of catchers late in the first round. -SGrauer
My vote would go for Hensley, he is the guy I most consistently hear tied to Rays. Tanner Rahier would be my 2nd choice. -John Gregg
My vote is also for Hensley here. -JCMitchell
25. Tampa Bay Rays select RHP Ty Hensley (Edmond Sante Fe HS, OK)
26. Arizona Diamondbacks select SS Corey Seager (Northwest Carrabus HS, NC): The younger brother of major leaguer Kyle Seager, Corey Seager played shortstop in highschool, but will likely move to third in the pros. At 6'4" 195 pounds, he's likely to add power as he fills in, but he already shows potential to be a plus defender at the hot corner, giving him plenty of margin to work with in terms of body type. -Whelk
27. Milwaukee Brewers (via Detroit) select SS Addison Russell (Pace HS, FL): Russell is the kind of high-risk, high-reward player teams with multiple picks can gamble on, and he gives Milwaukee a premium athlete up the middle. He got in better shape this spring to give himself a chance to stick at shortstop, but he might have to move to third base later in his career. Even if he does, he has potential plus-plus power to profile at the hot corner. He has great bat speed, but his hit tool is incredibly raw, and the organization that drafts him is going to have to exercise extreme patience with him. -John Gregg pick, SGrauer commentary
28. Milwaukee Brewers select OF Tyler Naquin (Texas A&M): With back to back picks, I'm anticipating Milwaukee goes for one high school player and one college guy, and that really leaves Tyler Naquin as an appealing college outfielder late in the first. While he's a bit of a tweener between CF and a corner spot, he should have a pretty high floor thanks to his great hit tool, great arm and intangibles. Milwaukee's organizational depth is lacking to say the least when it comes to bats, and with Russell and Naquin now on hand, they can rebuild that side of the farm system a bit. It's easy to make the case for a second high school player here because the team could be in for some lean years without Prince Fielder and perhaps Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. -SGrauer
29. Texas Rangers select CF Lewis Brinson (Coral Springs HS, FL): The Texas Rangers will likely take the best available player with the most upside and that could be Brinson who has more upside than anyone left on the board. He is a plus defender with plus speed and actually beat Buxton in the Underarmor Games HR derby. He has a commitment to the University of Florida so he might be a tough sign but that should not scare the Rangers away. I could see high-upside prep players going here. -JCMitchell
30. New York Yankees select C Stryker Trahan (Acadiana HS, LA): Despite their deep pockets, the Yankees haven't handed out as many over-slot bonuses as other high-payroll teams. They've made picks that have raised some eyebrows, like Cito Culver in 2009, so it's tough to say who they might be in on. Trahan is a catcher who will likely have to move off the position, but the Yankees have shown dedication to developing similar players behind the plate. He has a pro body and can put on a show in batting practice, though he hasn't translated it fully to games. His combination of plus raw power, a plus arm, and even some good athleticism make him a potential first-rounder. -Imperialism32
31. Boston Red Sox (via Philadelphia) select LHP Matt Smoral (Solon HS, OH): Smoral is a serious signability risk, but the Red Sox certainly haven't shied away from picks like that in recent years. If not for injuries this spring, he could've been a top 10 pick, and he could certainly be long gone at this point if another team is comfortable with his injury history that includes foot and back problems. The 6'8 lefty has plus fastball velocity and the ability to command it already, and his slider gives him a second plus pitch. Like most high school pitchers, he didn't need a changeup as an amateur and will need to develop one. -SGrauer
Who would you like to see the Rays draft?