It’s difficult to foresee how the 2020 draft will play out when you’re drafting toward the end of the first round.
The Rays have shown that they will be prepared if somebody falls into their laps that wasn’t expected. The Rays picked up Baseball America’s #2 draft prospect with the 16th pick of the 2018 draft when other teams just ahead of them didn’t really scout him as he was expected to be long gone.
If another opportunity arises I expect the Rays to be ready to pounce, but in this mock draft I will go with players that are plausibly available with at the time of each selection.
The Rays have the following draft picks next week:
24, Round 1
37 Competitive Balance Round A (via Cardinals)
57 Round 2
96 Round 3
126 Round 4
156 Round 5
Here are my picks for those slots.
Number 24: RHP JT Ginn, Mississippi State University
JT Ginn is a draft eligible sophomore who was selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2018 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but didn’t sign.
Ginn’s freshman season was strong. He posted a 3.36 ERA with 103 strikeouts (11.54 K/9) and 18 walks (2.02 BB/9) over 80.1 innings. Ginn looked to be on track to improving his draft stock, but after his first start in 2020 Ginn had Tommy John surgery.
Ginn has a fastball that has reached up to 99, but more typically works in the 95-97 range and has one of the best breaking balls in the class with a putaway slider in the mid to high 80s. During his freshman year he quelled the relief concerns as he was able to maintain the stuff deep into outings.
Surgery has it’s risks as we’ve seen in Brent Honeywell Jr.’s recovery. Nothing is guaranteed, but this looks like a situation where the Rays can get a talent that shouldn’t fall this far. It reminds me of the situation with Walker Buehler ahead of the 2015 draft where the Dodgers were able to snap him up with the 24th pick with the expectation he was going to have surgery (he did in August 2015).
There is some concern that his status as a draft eligible sophomore could make him more difficult to sign, but it’s hard to see him in a better position next year. With a slot bonus of $2,831,300 it shouldn’t be too difficult to reach an agreement.
Number 37: 3B Jordan Walker Decatur (GA) High School
Jordan Walker is a 6’5” third baseman out of Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia. He currently has solid bat to ball skills along with some pop, but due to the size could grow into even more.
There are some concerns if adds too much mass he could be forced to first base, but could be athletic enough to play in the outfield.
Eric Langenhagen at FanGraphs compares him physically Jayson Werth and Cameron Maybin ranking him 44th on his draft board. MLB.com ranks him 33rd and Baseball America ranks him 34th on their boards.
Of all my selections this might be the one that’s gone before the Rays make their selection.
Number 57: SS Anthony Servideo, University of Mississippi
Due to 2019 second round Grae Kessinger holding down shortstop Anthony Servideo has played all over the field with most of his time spent in right field, center field, and second base. Nevertheless, Servideo is considered the best defensive shortstop in the class. A defense first middle infielder checks a lot of boxes for the Rays.
Servideo is a plus runner that showed added power this spring with the addition of a leg kick. In 59 plate appearances this spring he hit .390/.575/.695 with five homers after combining for four homers in his first two seasons at Ole Miss.
Number 96: RHP Nick Frasso, Loyola Maramount University
Nick Frasso has been used as a starter and reliever during his time at Loyola Maramount University. in 116.7 innings he’s struck out 147 (11.39 K/9) and walked 34 (2.63 BB/9) while posting a 2.71 ERA. The 6’5” 200 pounder has the frame to add more mass as a professional.
Baseball America says, “His 92-95 mph fastball plays up with both a high spin rate and plus extension, and his high-spin slider gives him a second potential plus offering, although it is inconsistent.”
This is the kind of profile I would expect the Rays to target.
He is ranked 107th by Baseball America, 120th by FanGraphs, and 99th by MLB.com.
Number 126: SS Shay Whitcomb, UC San Diego
Shay Whitcomb is a fringy defender at short. For all the emphasis on defense the Rays have been apt to show they have been willing to us shifts to play to the strengths on players and haven’t met a second baseman they haven’t liked.
Whitcomb made himself known in the Cape Cod League last year where he hit .303 with 8 homers in 109 at bats. According to Baseball America he posted “sizzling exit velocities.”
Baseball America ranks him 151st and the only one of the three published lists to have him ranked.
Number 156: RHP Koen Moreno, Panther Creek (Cary, NC) High School
Koen Moreno is a slightly build 6’2” 170 pound right handed pitcher out of Panther Creek High School in Cary, North Carolina. He should see some added velocity as he adds strength as he matures. This is a projection bet.
Currently Moreno sits in the low 90s hitting as high as 94. He can spin a curveball and a solid changeup.
Moreno could have really used a spring to show improved stuff on the mound, but could be a casualty of the shortened draft.