clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 MLB draft review: Rays position players

The Rays were focused on hitters early in this month's draft

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Joe McCarthy homers in Omaha
Joe McCarthy homers in Omaha
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

With the draft in the books, it is time to wrap things up and summarize what took place. I searched everywhere for information on these players, from scouting reports to video to whether they plan on signing.

I started with the position players because they seemed to highlight the Rays' draft, and I hope to not take as long to do the pitchers.


2. Chris Betts, Woodrow Wilson H.S. (California), Bats Left, Throws Right, 6'1 215, 18.22 Y.O. (committed to Tennessee)

Betts was a consensus top-30 player in this draft, yet the Rays were able to get him with the No. 52 pick. Whether it was because of a rumored price tag or his defense, the Rays got a steal if they can sign him. He's big and raw behind the plate, but he has a strong arm and has the work ethic to do what it takes to stick at catcher. Even if he can't, he has two potential plus tools in his bat and power. With a solid plate approach, he is a viable player even if he slides down the defensive spectrum.

I would expect that he signs, or the Rays would not have drafted him so high. When he does, he will be behind the plate for the Gulf Coast League Rays. video
FanGraphs video
Perfect Game video
Betts tackles batter charging mound

Baseball America also has video if you go to their draft rankings page.

9. Danny De la Calle, Florida State, Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'3 220, 22.70 Y.O.

De la Calle was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, handed out to the best college catcher. That is a tribute to his defense, because he batted just .251 with a .297 on-base percentage in his senior season for the Seminoles. He threw out 32 percent of attempted basestealers and is known for his strong work behind the plate and handling a pitching staff. Baseball America noted that he is bilingual, which could be an asset communicating with some of the young pitchers he will be working with.

16. Joe Davis, Bowie H.S. (Texas), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'0 220, 18.58 Y.O. (committed to Houston)

If the Rays sign Davis, they believe in his bat. He won the home run derby at the 2014 Area Code Games with his potential plus power, but he might have to tone down his swing facing better pitching, as he often sells out with an upper-cut swing to generate that power. With an average arm and poor athleticism, whether he can catch is very much in doubt. If he can't, he would have to move to first base.

He was a top-five round talent according to BA, so there is probably a reason he fell this far.

27. Joey Bart, Buford H.S. (Georgia), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'3 230, 18.46 Y.O. (committed to Georgia Tech)

Have you noticed anything about the size of the catchers the Rays drafted?

Bart is another bat-first catcher whose future behind the plate is very much in doubt. He has a better arm than Davis, but he isn't particularly athletic. His bat and power tools could both be above average thanks to his bat speed, but like Davis, he was drafted much lower than expected. He is likely to attend Georgia Tech.

First Base

25. Devin Davis, Valencia H.S. (California), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'3 215, 18.29 Y.O. (committed to Loyola Marymount)

Davis has present strength, and he will need that power as a first-base only prospect. At showcases over the last year, he has posted some impressive TrackMan data, and he has put on some of the more impressive batting-practice displays. Perfect Game once described him as a right-handed hitting Jonathan Singleton which is a good reason to sign him, which the Rays apparently have.

29. Shane Potter, La Costa Canyon, H.S. (California), Bats Left, Throws Left, 6'5 215, 18.37 Y.O. (committed to San Diego State)

Potter once tried out for USA Baseball's U14 team. Per the Rays, he batted .271 as a senior, and that seems a bit underwhelming. He has the power one would expect from a player with his size, but PG notes that his approach can lead to swings and misses.

38. Steven Sensley, Louisiana State - Eunice, Bats Left, Throws Left, 6'2 220, 19.73 Y.O.

Committed to play next season for Louisiana-Lafayette, Sensley probably is not an easy sign in the 38th round. His 21 home runs were third in NJCAA Division 2 play, just two years after the Twins drafted him in the 33rd round. He plays some outfield, so there must be some athleticism there. It looks like he will be a tough sign.

Second Base

3. Brandon Lowe, Maryland, Bats Left, Throws Right, 5'10 178, 20.90 Y.O.

Lowe has been an extremely productive hitter in his two seasons with the Terps. He batted .338 with 72 walks and 53 strikeouts. He improved from one home run to nine in his sophomore season, but he is supposed to be more of a doubles hitter than a home run guy in the future. With a torn ACL a couple years ago and broken ankle near the end of this spring, he will be limited to being an adequate-at-best second baseman. He has not signed yet, but I can't see it becoming a problem.

7. Jake Cronenworth, Michigan, Bats Left, Throws Right, 6'1 170, 21.36 Y.O.

Cronenworth was listed as a pitcher in every draft preview, so naturally, the Rays are sending him out as a position player. He was a two-way star for the Wolverines where he played first base and second base. That may be to him fresh, though, because the Rays already have him playing shortstop. Like Lowe, he has more walks than strikeouts and batted .312 over three seasons. He doesn't offer much power, but he did set career highs in doubles and home runs as a junior.

If he can play shortstop, Cronenworth has some interesting flexibility, and he always has pitching as a fallback. Baseball Prospectus has already seen him in action as a professional ($).

Baseball Prospectus video

17. Brett Sullivan, Pacific, Bats Left, Throws Right, 6'1 180, 21.26 Y.O.

Pacific was a pretty lousy team in 2014, but not because of Sullivan and his older brother Tyler leading the offense. Brett led the team with seven home runs, but he was probably better as a sophomore. As a junior, he batted .275 with a .314 on-base percentage, but in 2014, he owned a .357/.404/.536 slash line. The Rays probably hope he can get back to that form.

Pacific video

35. Blake Butera, Boston College, Bats Right, Throws Right, 5'9 168, 22.81 Y.O.

I went in assuming that Blake was related to the fringe major league catcher Drew Butera, but if that's the case, no one seems to know. To no one's surprise, this senior has already signed. Butera seems to be the prototypical scrappy second baseman. He's small, has no power, puts the ball in play, can walk a bit and is pretty efficient stealing bases.

Third Base

21. Matt Dacey, Richmond, Bats Left, Throws Right, 6'2 205, 21.17 Y.O.

Dacey's power is among the best in the college ranks. He led the Atlantic 10 with home runs in back-to-back seasons after starting his career as a teammate of Cronenworth at Michigan. Although he is a small conference player, Dacey was invited to last year's college home run derby at TD Ameritrade Grand Canyon, and he had a nice showing in the Northwoods League last summer, hitting six homers in 49 games.

I've yet to see any evidence that Dacey has signed, but his Cape Cod League team seems to be operating under the assumption his amateur career is over.

Home run derby video


30. Kyle Teaf, South Florida, Bats Left, Throws Right, 5'9 180, 22.17 Y.O.

The Rays probably expected Kyle Teaf to play professional baseball after his senior season, but he is not going to do so.


1. Garrett Whitley, Niskayuna H.S. (New York), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'0 199, 18.22 Y.O. (committed to Wake Forest)

I don't know if there is anything new to say about Whitley at this point. Here is some information about him from draft night. He still hasn't graduated high school, so the Rays are probably waiting on that to sign him.

5. Joe McCarthy, Virginia, Bats Left, Throws Left, 6'3 215, 21.27 Y.O.

I have here in this post a list of 22 names that were made known to Major League Baseball as being members of the Rays' 2015 draft class. By all accounts, McCarthy should not be one of them.

McCarthy underwent back surgery prior to the start of the season and missed roughly half of Virginia's games before returning and not really being the same player he was in the past. If healthy the entire season, he would probably be a Day 1 pick. At his best, he has a chance for above average hit and power tools, with the hit being more likely. He is a very patient hitter with enough athleticism to play in the outfield.

Once the College World Series is done, I would expect McCarthy to sign. video

12. David Olmedo-Barrera, Cal State Fullerton, Bats Left, Throws Right, 6'1 170, 20.94 Y.O.

Olmedo-Barrera was drafted in the 40th round out of high school, so in that regard, his time with the Titans improved his stock considerably. He may be listed as an outfielder, but he acted as Cal State Fullerton's designated hitter. He definitely had the bat to do so, hitting 10 of the team's 20 home runs this season. He also led the team in steals with 14, so if he signs, it will be interesting to see where the Rays put him on the diamond.

18. Landon Cray, Seattle, Bats Left, Throws Left, 5'9 170, 21.35 Y.O.

Cray is the nephew of Paul Sorrento, which is certainly interesting. He is the first player to be drafted from Seattle since 1980, and he was easily its best hitter and led the team with his .324 average, .412 on-base percentage and .478 slugging percentage. He already signed, so soon, there may be actual information about him opposed to what I have attempted to put together.

28. Desmond Chumley, Longview H.S. (Texas), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'0 190, 18.13 Y.O. (committed to Weatherford)

Chumley has opted to play baseball at Weatherford rather than play quarterback at Central Arkansas. Apparently signing is a possibility, but I'd always assume that a player drafted this late is going to college.

34. Ryan Caldwell, Ezell Harding Christian School (Tennessee), Bats Switch, Throws Right, 6'2 180, 19.43 Y.O. (committed to Walters State C.C.)

Caldwell is committed to the same school Brent Honeywell attended. He has plus to plus-plus speed and played football and basketball as well.

Music video featuring Caldwell with Gary Sheffield

37. Kewby Meyer, Nevada, Bats Left, Throws Left, 6'1 190, 22.59 Y.O.

At one point, Meyer was one of the top 12-year-olds in the country, along with Bryce Harper.

Nevada was one of four teams in the country to average eight or more runs per game, and Meyer was a key cog. He puts the ball in play and led the Wolf Pack in doubles with 23. His lowest batting average for a season was .302.

Meyer signed and is on Princeton's roster.

39. Tyler Rand, Langham Creek H.S. (Texas), Bats Right, Throws Right, 6'0 180, 18.99 Y.O. (committed to Texas)

Rand's Twitter account seems to indicate he's a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. Texas believes he is a center fielder and leadoff hitter.

40. Kahiau Winchester, 'Iolani H.S. (Hawaii), Bats Left, Throws Right, 5'10 185, 19.18 Y.O. (committed to Hawaii)

Winchester played in the Little League World Series in 2008, and per the Rays, is their sixth pick out of Hawaii in team history.