It is still entirely too early too early to speculate who the Tampa Bay Rays will take with the number four pick of the MLB draft with any certainty. However Baseball America has taken the time to publish their first mock draft covering the top ten picks and have the Rays selecting RHP J.B. Bukauskas out of the University of North Carolina.
Bukauskas has sizzled with a plus fastball, 70-grade slider and improved changeup that he threw effectively and frequently against Virginia. “I’m not worried about the changeup,” one evaluator said. “He had it in high school, we’ve seen it. It’s the command and delivery you want to see, and those are better too.”
The 2017 MLB draft pool is stocked with an abundance of college pitching towards the top. There are very few college bats at the top of the draft at this time.
He throws two very good pitches that have been graded in the 60-70 range in a fastball and slider. He also has a changeup that should keep him in the rotation should he be able to handle the innings.
The knock on Bukauskas has always been his size. He is listed at 6’0” and 195 pounds according to MLB.com.
Other targets the Rays could go after.
The Rays are also mentioned as heavily scouting North Carolina high school outfielder Austin Beck. This mock draft has him going to Atlanta with the fifth overall pick.
Beck, who has returned from a torn ACL to show premium tools, with potential 70 power, speed and defense with a plus arm. Beck has had a couple of “Roy Hobbs” performances where he’s made the game look ridiculously easy, and the Rays are in heavy at No. 4 as well.
Should he still be available at No. 4, the Rays may also have interest in 1B/LHP Brendan McKay.