The Rays missed out on the opportunity to draft my favorite player on this year's board when high school catcher Tyler Stephenson was drafted two picks aheard of the Rays, but the team was fortunate to find the second highest ranked catcher Chris Betts waiting for them in the second round.
In the video clip above, you can hear Betts discuss his desire to be a leader on the field, and see how his personality might jive with the Rays' way.
Betts is known for a big arm and a bat that should play, but in his senior year of high school, not many scouts saw the arm on display as forearm soreness generally limited the 220 lbs. big man from catching duties. Fortunately, the Rays had been following Betts for years:
The Angels were anticipated to draft Betts at No. 26 earlier in the draft, a local boy filling their interest of a catcher, but shockingly went with college catcher Taylor Ward, who was anticipated on Kiley's board to fall in the 49-87 range. That's still the third highest ranked catcher in a draft without many to offer, but the drop for Betts was dramatic.
Betts was ranked only a few slots down from Stephenson, and anticipated to go in the latter half of the first round. The Rays would have been justified taking him at No. 13 if they so chose. It seems a lot of teams were scared off by an injury concern, as R.J. Harrison noted after the first day's draft interview concluded.
There's not much to be upset about when you can get a first round talent at 52, and given the Rays' priorities for defense, once the arm has healed Betts stands a good chance of becoming a decent receiver. If not? Well he's slow as molasses, but as a lefty who can thump, he could translate to a bat-first position like first base.
He was anticipated to be an expensive signing, all things considered, but the player might not only be motivated to simply get pen to paper and move on to professional rehab, but excited as well.
If you click on Bett's profile, you'll see he's already changed his banner on his profile to his family's reaction when he was drafted. The dude is ready.
And what a talent the Rays could have in Betts. The Rays previously drafted a first-round talent high school catcher in 2013, taking Nick Ciuffo, who has been delayed in his own development by illness, but Betts has the bat that should carry him through.
Betts has his own Youtube channel where you can check out some more of his highlights.
It's worth noting that there's risk in both choices from the Rays on Monday. The team's first choice Whitley has development concerns in that he hasn't faced the highest level of competition, but Betts has development concerns in that one of his best tools has an injury concern, but both were first round talents and the Rays were justified in taking Betts in the second round by getting great value.
That's as much as you can ask for in the draft.