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Rays select Jake Fraley 77th overall

The Rays tabbed the speedy outfielder as their final pick on day one.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

With the 77th pick in the draft, the Rays selected center fielder Jake Fraley. Fraley, a three-year starter at LSU, posted a career .327/.397/.460 slash line for the Tigers. He stole 59 bases over his career, and walked nearly as much as he struck out.

He's played the last two summers in the prestigious Cape Cod league. After struggling to a .617 OPS in 2014, he rebounded somewhat in 2015, raising his draft stock.

Fraley was featured in Minor League Ball's draft preview:

"Fraley is a left-handed hitter and thrower, born May 22 (sic), 1995. Listed at 6-0, 190, he's a bit younger than the typical junior, having played most of the spring at age 20. His best tool is running speed, 60-grade in physical terms but with instincts and aggression that play it up, especially as a baserunner. His arm is mediocre but is good enough for center field given his ability to run balls down. 

Questions for Fraley revolve around hitting. He makes ready contact and shows a good feel for the strike zone, profiling him well as a leadoff type when combined with his speed. However, although there's some wiry strength in his athletic body, his swing doesn't produce much over-the-fence power and may never do so. This makes it imperative for him to bring his on-base skills forward at the pro level.

If Fraley hits enough, he runs and fields sufficiently well to be a regular center fielder for some clubs. If the bat remains problematic he would be more of a fourth or fifth outfielder, relying on his speed, glove, and on-base ability for employment."

Ranks on draft boards:

Baseball America: 52 89
Baseball Prospectus: 100 video

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Fraley wasn't drafted out of high school but has been known to MLB teams for some time. Fangraphs ranked him as their 22nd draft prospect in this class all the way back in April 2015.

"22. Jake Fraley, CF, LSU: Fraley is the slowest of the three regular LSU outfielders and still may be a pro center fielder due to his above average to plus speed. He’s 6’0/183 with an advanced lefty bat and above average raw power that he’s learning to integrate into his game."

Jake's brother is also projected to be drafted, perhaps in the top ten rounds. You can read more about the Fraley brothers here.