If you missed the first part of our draft preview, check out some up-the-middle position players the Rays could target in the draft.
We'll continue our preview of the draft with some pitchers. With this group of players, you aren't going to see high-octane fastballs or big breaking balls. You're going to see higher floors, changeups and good control -- safer picks, if you will. These traits tend to lend themselves to the college ranks, but that's not always the case.
This is not a route that the Rays frequently take in the first round, if at all. Looking through their first-round history, it's hard to pick anyone that really fits this description. Still, they are reportedly interested in one of these players with the No. 13 pick, and there is more than one round in the draft.
LHP Braxton Garrett, Alabama H.S. (18 Y.O. 6'3 190- committed to Vanderbilt)
Best attribute: Garrett's curveball is at the top of the class.
Analysis: Garrett has been rising this spring thanks to improved velocity that now sees him sit in the low-90s and a nice showing at the National High School Invitational hosted by USA Baseball. As draft season got underway, Baseball America ranked him No. 35 in the class at the start of draft season, but he's now comfortably in the top 15 of all rankings. He controls all of his pitches, including a changeup that's potentially above average, well.
Stock: Baseball America's third mock draft of the spring had the Rays selecting Garrett. If he's still available with the No. 13 pick, I would assume he's one of the players they're choosing from. Vanderbilt commits are sometimes hard to sign, but he should go high enough in the draft to go pro.
LHP Cole Irvin, Oregon (22 Y.O. 6'4 190)
Best attribute: Irvin has always thrown a lot of strikes.
Analysis: Irvin was one of the best freshman pitchers in the country in 2013 before missing 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. His 2015 campaign was inconsistent as he worked his way back, and he appeared to be at full strength in 2016. His 8.0 K/9 was a career high, and he maintained the low walk rate he's always shown. His fastball has crept back into the low-90s since his return, and his breaking ball and changeup can both be above average pitches.
Stock: Irvin looks like a mid-Day 2 pick when the league drafts rounds three through 10 on Friday. He has already been drafted twice.
LHP Jesus Luzardo, Florida H.S. (18 Y.O. 6'1 205- committed to Miami)
Best attribute: Luzardo has a couple offspeed pitches that could be above average.
Analysis: A team drafting Luzardo will be taking a risk because he had Tommy John surgery in March. Pre-injury, he was one of the most advanced high school arms in the draft. He was throwing harder in the spring, but even if he's unable to find that above average-to-plus velocity again, he showed good command of the pitch that helps it play up. Reports indicate he throws a pair of breaking balls.
Stock: The Rays have shown in the past that surgery will not deter them from taking a player they like (see Jesse Hahn.) If they want to grab Lazardo, it would be with their second pick.
RHP Troy Rallings, Washington (22 Y.O. 6'2 205)
Best attribute: Rallings was second in the country in ERA in 2016.
Analysis: Rallings was one of the most effective relievers in college baseball this season, posting an ERA of just 0.89 and saving 16 games for the Huskies. In 61 innings, he struck out 60 batters for a career-best strikeout rate and yielded just 32 hits and 12 walks. He stuff, though, does not seem to match the stats. He uses an average fastball and breaking ball combo.
Stock: After his senior season, Rallings is the kind of player a team drafts late on Day 2 to save some money for other picks.
LHP JoJo Romero, Yavapai J.C. (19 Y.O. 5'11 190)
Best attribute: Romero has a deep, four-pitch arsenal.
Analysis: Yavapai has a track record of producing big leaguers, including former Ray Kirby Yates, and more notably, current big leaguers Ken Giles and Kole Calhoun. Romero pitched well for the powerhouse program after spending one season at Nevada. His fastball has just average velocity, but he can locate it low in the zone. His changeup has improved this season, and whether or not he can start depends on the quality of his breaking ball.
Stock: Romero is a mid-Day 2 pick. I can't find anything that indicates he'll be particularly easy or difficult to sign.
RHP Logan Shore, Florida (21 Y.O. 6'1 210)
Best attribute: Shore uses his plus changeup effectively against lefties and righties alike.
Analysis: While teammate A.J. Puk may be the favorite to be drafted No. 1 on Thursday, Shore has outperformed him in all three seasons they've spent with the Gators. In the nation's best conference, he gets it done with pitchability and throwing strikes. His fastball's velocity may be just average, but with his advanced command, it plays up. His slider is inconsistent but could be an average pitch.
Stock: Shore doesn't have a high ceiling, but college pitchers with his track record can be second-round picks.