The Rays owned the No. 13 and 52 picks in the first and second round of the 2015 MLB Draft, and presumably found great value at each slot. Going with 6'2" high school players at each choice, the Rays picked up CF Garrett Whitley out of upstate New York, and Long Beach, California native C Chris Betts; each were born three days apart in March of 1997.
Here's Rob Manfred announcing the Rays' first round draft pick:
Whitley does not seem to have a signability concern, telling the reporters on the line he was "ready to move into his pro career" on the conference call. Toward the end of the call, he said he models his game after Mike Trout:
Whitley was particularly complimentary of his relationship with the Rays area scout, a former coach of his from showcase ball named Tim Alexander, and on the air called the Rays "the best team in baseball." That's some big talk from a Boston born, New York bred athlete.
Tabbed in the 9-17 range on Kiley's board, nabbing the high ceiling Whitley in the middle of that range is perfectly reasonable. For his part, scouring director R.J. Harrison was thrilled to have Whitley still available at 13. In the Rays Radio interview, Harrison raved about Whitley's laundry list of tools, and his ability to adjust to better competition.
The Rays seemed intent on going Center Fielder with their first choice, with rumors swirling the Rays were negotiating with the expensive Daz Cameron. He would fall out of the first round, due to his price, and was eventually swooped up by the Astros, who have money to spend after failing to sign their first round choice last year.
Whitley was the third highest ranked CF on the big board, behind a player the Rays were linked to earlier in the Spring (college CF Andrew Bentintendi, drafted at No. 7), and the aforementioned Cameron.
For those interested, GM Matt Silverman also chimed in on the draft choice, mostly deferring criticism of the player being drafted out of the North East, where he likely hasn't faced stiff competition, but toward the end you can hear reasoning on why the Rays didn't target a pitcher who could rise high in the suddenly depleted depth.
Per Rays Radio, Whitley becomes the highest-drafted HS player from New York state. since Manny Ramirez—who was also taken 13th overall - in 1991. They also make the connection to Rocco Baldelli as a North East outfielder once committed to Wake Forest who took the leap and signed with the Rays.
You can also hear Ian's take/excitement on drafting Garrett Whitley from an New York area ESPN interview this morning. Toward the end, he also geeks on New York local product Jamie Schultz.