Rob Metzler, the recently minted Rays Director of Scouting, took over in a transition from R.J. Harrison this season, and was at the helm when the Rays selected one high school player (Joshua Lowe - 13th overall pick) and two college players (Ryan Boldt - 53rd and Jake Fraley - 77th) in the first two rounds of the 2016 MLB Draft.
"We are very pleased with the outcome today," said Metzler, "Josh Lowe, Ryan Boldt and Jake Fraley are three athletic players we think can contribute to the organization offensively and defensively. Very very good athletes."
Athleticism continues to be a Rays priority in prospects under Metzler, which is logical given the transition. Here are some further quotes from Metzler on Day One.
On 3B/RHP Josh Lowe (13th pick), and if he will start as a position player:
"We liked his really good physical attributes. Big strong athlete. Foot speed and power. We think he has good ingredients to progress through our system. Long, long road, but we think this is a good bet to make that journey."
"We view him as a position player. We are going to give third base a try and go from there. He has really good athletic ability and we think he has a good chance to be a defensive asset at some position on the field."
On the scouting process with Lowe:
"I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with Josh this spring. It's not possible with all the players on the board and all the options, but just the way the spring worked out, I spent a lot of time at Pope High School this year. We had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with Josh between multiple workouts.
"We were able to prepare very well. I had that opportunity, but I would give most of the credit to our scouting staff, Milt Hill in the area and Kevin Elfering, the regional man, really put us in position on this player and the entirety of the scouting staff spent a lot of time. I felt like we had a really good process."
For more on Metzler's priority on teamwork, read here.
On selecting OF Ryan Boldt (53rd pick) and OF Jake Fraley (77th pick):
"Ryan Boldt is the center fielder at the University of Nebraska. He is someone we have scouted for a significant time since he was in high school up in Minnesota and he is a physical, athletic outfielder. He can run, he can hit and he has power potential. We like his attributes."
"Jake Fraley is another athletic left-handed hitting center fielder. He has very good contact skills. Good bat, good defensive player. Good outcome for us. We are excited about all three. Ryan Boldt and Jake Fraley, welcome. We are excited to have you in the organization."
On the biggest differences between being at the high school level vs. college level:
"I think youth always provides opportunity, but we just try to take the best talent that's available. It's great that [Lowe] is a young, athletic man, but it's about the best talent. We feel that he has good mental ingredients, along with the physical ingredients."
Metlzer also noted that the other draftees are "in different stages of their development."
"They have played in high levels. Ryan Boldt has played in the Big Ten and the Cape Cod League and Jake Fraley has played in the SEC and the Cape Cod League. We have seen them play at a higher level of competition. They are all talented, just in different stages of their development."