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2018 MLB draft: Tampa Bay Rays select OF/RHP Tanner Dodson with the No. 71 pick

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The Rays close their Day 1 picks with a college two-way player.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

With the No. 71 pick in the draft, the Rays selected right-handed pitcher Tanner Dodson from Cal.

Dodson was listed as a pitcher on the tracker, but he is a two-way player for the Golden Bears. Baseball America states that “(s)couts prefer Dodson on the mound,” and MLB.com agrees, saying he’s “almost certainly going to be drafted to pitch.”

However, the Rays have reportedly not made that determination yet.

While scouts may prefer him on the mound, it’s important to note that he was the Cape Cod League batting champion. Last summer, he batted .365, and BA ranked him as the No. 8 prospect in the league. He led the league in average, on-base percentage and OPS and also pitched in relief.

BA ranked him as the No. 62 player in the class. ESPN’s Keith Law had him at No. 83, FanGraphs ranked him as the 59th-best prospect, and MLB.com placed him 89th. All of the reports indicate he’s probably better on the mound, but the Rays want to see what he can offer both ways as a professional.

On the mound, he has worked exclusively as a reliever as a junior after struggling as a starter in his first two seasons on campus. Will he stay a reliever? Law ($) says yes because of his delivery, but he throws enough pitches to start. In the bullpen, his fastball has touched the high-90s, and his slider is a potential plus pitch.

As a hitter, he’s a high-contact switch hitter. In his Cal career, he’s a .310 hitter with a .373 on-base percentage. However, he doesn’t hit for much power. He hit just one home run this season and has four in his career. At 6’2 and 180, he could probably add some strength and power, but BA attributes the lack of pop to “an unconventional setup at the plate.” ($)