The annual MLB Draft is fast approaching and the 30 organizations around the game have announced who they’ll have representing their team during the first day of the draft.
For the Tampa Bay Rays, they will have former outfielder B.J. Upton, and current scout Lou Wieben in their booth.
Upton last played professionally during the 2017 season, in the minor league system of the San Francisco Giants.
Upton was the 2nd overall selection in the 2002 draft, taken by the Rays. He quickly rose through the system and made his Major League debut in 2004 at the ripe old age of 19. However, due to multiple issues regarding his attitude, as well as his defensive skills in the infield, he would be held in the minor leagues during the 2005 season, and limited to 50 games with Tampa Bay in 2006.
Finally, in 2007, he was given the starting center field job and took off with it as he broke out offensively and put up .300/.386/.508 with 24 HR, accruing 4.5 fWAR.
Upton wouldn’t reach that level of offensive production again, but he was still a very good player while with the Rays.
During the 2008 postseason, Upton demolished opposing pitchers and came close to etching his name in the record books. He finished the Rays 2008 playoff run, hitting .288/.333/.652 with 7 HR over 72 plate appearances.
Upton eventually left the Rays for free agency following the 2012 season. He signed a large contract with the Atlanta Braves, but struggled mightily and was ultimately traded to the San Diego Pades. San Diego flipped Upton to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016. The Blue Jays released Upton before the start of the 2017 season and he hasn’t played in the majors since.
The Draft will begin live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Monday, June 3 at 7 p.m. (ET). Prior to the start of the Draft, MLB Network will air a Draft preview show, also simulcast on MLB.com, at 6 p.m. (ET). The Draft will have 40 rounds, and a club may pass on its selection in any round and not forfeit its right to participate in other rounds. The 2019 Draft will span three days, as it has since 2009. For day one on June 3, the first 41 selections, through Competitive Balance Round A, will air exclusively on MLB Network and MLB.com.