With the 53rd overall selection in the second round of the 2016 MLB draft, the Tampa Bay Rays have drafted Ryan Boldt, an outfielder out of Nebraska.
Boldt just concluded his junior year, and saw more power than flash on base numbers in that final year heading into this draft. In 2016 he slashed .288/.344/.416. That promise of power is what could round out his game, but whether it materializes remains to be seen.
He has the hit, run, and glove tools to be a quality outfielder, and while valued in this range on the draft board, he gives the Rays nice value with what could have been a late first rounder in the second.
Here's the fun part -- this same outfielder was a target for the Rays in the 2013 draft, eventually being drafted by the Red Sox in the 22nd round due to a senior year knee injury (meniscus tear); here's Scott's write up from that year:
CF Ryan Boldt, Minnesota H.S. (L/R- committed to Nebraska)
Best tool: Boldt is an athlete and a really good defender in center field.
Analysis: Boldt's spring was brief. His season started late because that's the reality of playing in Minnesota, and it ended prematurely due to knee surgery. Teams will have to rely on the looks they got over the summer when he was playing for Team USA. There, they saw an athlete who can steal bases and cover a lot of ground in the oufield, and a player who's somewhat raw at the plate. He's not going to be a power hitter, and a team will have to work to make adjustments to his swing so he can square up balls consistently.
Stock: Once thought of as a potential top 20 pick, Boldt will probably fall into the second round now and get a team to offer him a bonus over slot.
The hit tool progressed in his first two years in college (including a .344 AVG sophomore year), which may have been enough to satisfy the Rays that he is a worthwhile selection. Given injury history, it would not be a surprise if Boldt signs for less than his $1.125M bonus pool allotment, which also helps the Rays spread the wealth in the first ten rounds.
And while his power did not fully developed in college, his mental game reportedly has -- paired with physicality and athleticism in center field, he may not even need the power to have a major league projection.
You can follow Ryan Boldt on twitter here.