Tampa Bay has $12,415,600 to spend on its draft picks this year, and after landing Liberatore with the No. 16 pick, the Rays will have to use every dollar.
I thought the Rays did very well with their picks on Monday. Liberatore was perhaps the best high school pitcher in the draft, and they were able to select him halfway through the first round. He will likely expect to be paid as a top pick and more than MLB’s recommended $3,603,500 for the pick.
Normally teams have to get thrifty with their picks after drafting a player expecting a big bonus, but I didn’t get that feeling from the Rays. Although he struggled down the stretch, McClanahan was viewed as one of the top players in the draft just a couple months ago. Because of his control problems and prior Tommy John surgery, he comes with risks, but he has a lot of upside too.
Going by the draft boards from sites like Baseball America and MLB.com, the Rays didn’t really reach for any of their picks either. At least a couple teams drafted players ranked in the hundreds with their Day 1 picks, but the Rays didn’t. Maybe they have to go “off the board” Tuesday.
How to watch Day 2 of the draft
When: Tuesday, June 5, 12:30 p.m. (preview show) 1 p.m. (draft)
Here are some of the best players left on MLB.com’s draft board:
High school pitchers
19. Cole Wilcox: With great stuff and the ability to throw strikes, it’s a surprise Wilcox wasn’t drafted. He has mechanical concerns, but he was considered to be tough to sign. He may be going to Georgia.
23. Kumar Rocker: Like Wilcox, Rocker not being drafted on the first day strongly hints he’s going to college. He’s committed to Vanderbilt.
43. Adam Kloffenstein: Kloffenstein was expected to be tough to sign away from TCU.
41. Tristan Beck: Beck missed his sophomore season at Stanford with a back injury. He’s been solid but inconsistent this season in his return.
48. Blaine Knight: Knight has been effective for Arkansas, a top team in the toughest conference in the country. He only weighs 170 pounds, but his fastball has touched the high-90s.
60. Konnor Pilkington: At Mississippi State, Pilkington has a solid track record of performance and posted the best walk rate of his career in 2018.
High school hitters
40. OF Mike Siani: Siani is an athletic player and great defender. The Pennsylvania product is committed to Virginia.
55. SS Nander De Sedas: De Sedas has great tools, but he didn’t have a great spring, causing his stock to drop. He’s committed to Florida State.
82. OF Ryder Green: Teams looking for power potential will take a close look at Green, who is committed to Vanderbilt.
51. OF Tristan Pompey: Pompey is the younger brother of Dalton Pompey in the Blue Jays organization. His OPS at Kentucky has been 1.005 in each of the last two seasons.
65. OF Zach Watson: LSU’s center fielder is a draft-eligible sophomore. He’s a good defender with nice speed and has a little power potential.
75. OF Kyle Isbel: Isbel has played infield and outfield, and the Rays obviously appreciate versatility. After hitting seven home runs his first two seasons at UNLV, he hit 14 in 2018.