After a successful Monday night that saw the Rays select five players, they continue the draft Tuesday with eight more picks. Check back throughout the day for updates.
3-92. SS Ford Proctor, Rice
Proctor has been Rice’s shortstop since the second game of his freshman season. He immediately moved now-Rays infielder Tristan Gray to second base and has been Rice’s starter at shortstop ever since. He’s blossomed at the plate as a junior, hitting .346/.434/.514 with seven home runs as of mid-May.
MLB.com ranked him as the 123rd-best prospect in the class. It rated his hit tool as 55 on the 20-80 scale and noted it’s questionable whether he stays at shortstop.
It’s the second straight draft the Rays have started Day 2 with a college shortstop. They took Taylor Walls from Florida State in the third round last year.
Rays going with Rice SS Ford Proctor. LHH who has done nothing but hit in his college career, came into some more power this season, solid overall prospect— Brian Sakowski (@B_Sakowski_PG) June 5, 2018
Paul Janish, a former MLB infielder and current assistant coach for Rice University, believes @RaysBaseball 3rd-rounder Ford Proctor can be a Brock Holt-type player in the Majors - and he thinks Tampa Bay is a perfect fit for Proctor. pic.twitter.com/rgSGCF6Vmy— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) June 5, 2018
4-120. OF Grant Witherspoon, Tulane
BA had him pegged as the 163rd-best prospect heading into the draft:
As a productive lefthanded-hitting center fielder who can play all three outfield spots, he projects as a likely fourth outfielder who provides defensive value. In center field, Witherspoon is an above-average defender thanks to good reads and routes to go with average speed. Offensively, he’s a streaky hitter, but when locked in, he can mash.
MLB.com ranked him as the 107th-best prospect in the class and rated his run, defense, and arm as all above average.
5-150. RHP Taj Bradley, Redan High School
Bradley is the first player born in 2001 selected in MLB draft history.
That makes him extremely young for the class, which certainly helps his case. It’s remarkable because Nolan Gorman — who was just drafted last night — was the first player born in 2000 in MLB draft history. Bradley is committed to South Carolina, but he was drafted in the range that leads me to believe he will sign with the Rays.
Bradley oozes upside in part because of his youth, as well as his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, physicality and athleticism. One of the more raw pitchers in the class, Bradley has played a lot of outfield but is newer to the mound, where he has a higher upside in pro ball. He throws in the low 90s and gets up to 93 mph at times, but his curveball is presently below-average and certainly a work in progress.
He wasn’t too far behind on MLB.com, ranking as the No. 172 player:
Bradley pitches at 88-91 mph and reaches 93 with sink on his fastball, and his quick arm and athletic frame promise more velocity to come. He’ll show flashes of a quality 12-to-6 curveball at times, though it sometimes loses power and shape. He’s working on a changeup and needs to create more velocity separation from his heater.
Scouted #Rays 5th rd pick Redan (HS) RHP Taj Bradley in late April. Good stuff. FB was up to 95.Avg bore, natural plane. Emerging 12-6 breaker with plus potential. Ch was a work in progress but showed a willingness to throw it. Athletic build, broad shoulders. Room to grow.— Chris Blessing (@C_Blessing) June 5, 2018
6-180. RHP Miller Hogan, Saint Louis
Hogan was teammates with second-round pick Tanner Dodson in the Cape Cod League.
What you see is what you get with Hogan, as he doesn’t have much projection left, but hitters don’t really get a good look at him as he mixes pitches with the aplomb of a veteran.
The report notes that while he doesn’t throw hard, his sinker is a quality pitch, and he mixes in several secondary offerings to keep batters off balance. In his junior season, he walked just 12 batters in 102 2⁄3 innings.
There goes @SLUBaseball ace Miller Hogan in the 6th round to the #Rays. Stellar performer for three years, 10-1 K-BB rate, and he’s got stuff too, nice four-pitch arsenal and velo ticked up this year. Good pick in the sixth.— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) June 5, 2018
7-210. RHP Joe Ryan, Stanislaus State
Ryan is the first player the Rays have drafted not ranked on BA’s top 500. However, it did rank him as the No. 31 prospect in northern California. He’s also their first college senior this year.
The righty finished his career at Stanislaus State, but he pitched at Cal State Northridge for three years before transferring. In 98 1⁄3 innings this season, he struck out 127 and walked 13, so he was doing something right at the Division II level.
In 2017, BA ranked him as the 45th-best prospect in southern California, right behind Andrew Quezada, who was chosen by the Rays in the 20th round. Ryan was the Giants’ 39th-round pick in 2014.
BA also ranked him as the fifth-best draft prospect in the Big West Conference last year and noted he had the best fastball in that league.
8-240. C Michael Berglund, Midland College?
Berglund is listed from Midland College, but he appears to have actually played at Cisco College, which I’m assuming are different schools.
After a successful freshman campaign at Texas Tech in 2017, Berglund transferred to a junior college, making him eligible for the 2018 draft.
He hit .307 with a .369 on-base percentage and .391 slugging percentage for the Red Raiders and was expected to be the starting catcher for one of the top teams in the country.
At Cisco, Berglund hit .387/.490/.670 with 11 home runs.
He’s a left-handed hitting catcher, which you don’t see often.
Rays 8th rounder Michael Berglund was 73rd on our Texas list. One of better JUCO Cs in the country with some defensive versatility.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 5, 2018
9-270. RHP Nick Lee, Louisiana
If every team went by BA’s rankings, Lee would have been off the board several rounds ago as its No. 184 player ($):
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound righthander has an above-average 92-96 mph fastball, an above-average changeup and a below-average slider. His rock-and-fire delivery involves some effort, as he yanks his head through his delivery, but his arm is fast and he throws just enough strikes with his fringe-average control to make it all work.
BA says he was the Ragin’ Cajuns’ Saturday starter, and MLB.com says he was their Friday starter. Either way, he moved to the bullpen during the season.
In 2016, he was the Sun Belt freshman of the year with a 3.31 ERA and 75 strikeouts with 27 walks in 87 innings. However, his ERA has been over 5.00 in each of the last two seasons. MLB.com reports he had an (unspecified) injury in 2017, and he did only pitch 65 innings that year.
The @RaysBaseball might be my favorite draft so far. Nick Lee is much greater than a ninth-round talent. Was up to 94-95 for me earlier this year with a wipeout changeup. Attacks hitters from a tough angle. https://t.co/H7SxMVTUpK— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) June 5, 2018
10-300. RHP Alan Strong, UNLV
The Rays ended the day by taking Strong, a senior from UNLV. He led the UNLV staff with 90 innings and had 86 strikeouts, 22 walks, and a 3.90 ERA.
He was the No. 7 prospect in Nevada, according to BA.