Kiley McDaniel took his first stabat a mock draft for 2015, in which the Rays have a valuable pick at No. 13 overall. By comparison, the lauded shortstop prospect Trea Turner, who Tampa Bay flipped to the Nationals for Steven Souza, was drafted in the same position last summer.
In his first write up, McDaniel has some telling information from his sources:
I've heard the Rays are leaning towards college players, particularly if prep bats go in front of them, as I have in this scenario. Their scouting director was there the two nights ago with me to see Stephenson and I've been told they would take him here if he makes it.
First of all, hell yes. The "Stephenson" in question here is Georgia prep catcher Tyler Stephenson, who tossed his bat higher than imaginable for all the scouts watching him.
Cleaner version of the Stephenson bat flip but still NSFW https://t.co/dwcDwZTa9A
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) May 7, 2015
He's exactly the exciting sort of player to be drawn to early in the draft, as the Rays will be, but this first spin has McDaniel pairing the catcher with the Phillies at No. 10. He'd have to pass Philadelphia AND Cincinnati at No. 11 for the Rays to take him though.
Image via the Arkansas Traveler.
Accordingly, the second choice for the Rays here is Arkansas center fielder Andrew Benintendi:
Benintendi has lot of helium into this range; if you line up his tools, they're basically the same as Daz Cameron, Benintendi is three years older and he demolished the SEC this year (.386/.488/.729, 15 homers in 166 AB). He has some attention in the top ten, but this is a reasonable place for him to land and this jives with what Tampa seems to be looking for this year.
Even though I'm skeptical of the club's history with college bats, I'm excited this year thanks to the Rays' excellent draft position. I have a lot more faith with the club getting their pick in the teens, should they go college bat again in 2015.
Also per McDaniel, should the Rays be thinking pitching:
I've also heard the Rays on Missouri State RHP Jon Harris at this pick (he'll go in the next few picks) and West Alabama RHP Tanner Rainey in the 2nd.