The Tampa Bay Rays have concluded the first ten rounds of the 2021 MLB Draft, and below is a summary of each pick with plenty of stats and facts on each player.
The Rays entered the 2021 draft with one of the smaller player bonus pools in baseball, a consequence of having reached the World Series last season. They were represented at the event in Denver by James Shields.
After a year without baseball, this year’s draft was loaded with high school talent, making it an awkward time to be a team without much to spend. The Rays selections cast a net for high school infielders, loud college bats, and seasoned collegiate pitchers.
Here’s how we are listing each player below:
PLAYER NAME, POSITION, SELECTION
B/T — HT/WT — DATE BORN — SCHOOL
Each of the players drafted in the first ten rounds received a full write up on our site, and that is hyperlinked as well.
CARSON WILLIAMS, SHORTSTOP, ROUND 1 - NO. 28 OVERALL
R/R — 6-2/180 — 6/25/2003 — Torrey Pines (Calif.) HS
- Hit .495/.598/.979 (48-for-97) with 10 2B, 3 2B, 11 HR, 35 RBI and 34 SB in 31 games as a high school senior.
- Named Most Valuable Player of Perfect Game’s World Wood Bat Association World Championship last October.
- Ranked as the No. 29 overall player in this year’s draft by CBS Sports, No. 31 by FanGraphs and No. 41 by both Baseball America and MLB.com.
- Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 4 player in this year’s draft out of the state of California.
- Became the eighth high school infielder selected by the Rays in the first round, first since 3B Josh Lowe (No. 13) in 2016.
- Committed to play college baseball next season at the University of California, Berkeley.
COOPER KINNEY, SECOND BASEMAN, ROUND A - NO. 34 OVERALL
L/R — 6-3/200 — 1/27/2003 — The Baylor Schools (Tenn.)
- Hit .480/.539/.990 (48-for-100) with 19 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR and 50 RBI in 31 games as a high school senior.
- Ranked as the No. 70 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 36 among high school prospects.
- Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 5 player in this year’s draft out of the state of Tennessee.
- Received the Mr. Baseball Award, presented by the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association, which honors the top high school player in each division of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association; named Tennessee’s Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year.
- His father, Mike, was his head coach in high school; led Baylor to Division II Class-AA state championships in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
- Committed to play college baseball next season at the University of South Carolina.
KYLE MANZARDO, FIRST BASEMAN, ROUND 2 - NO. 63 OVERALL
L/R — 6-1/205 — 7/18/2000 — Washington State University
- Hit .365/.437/.640 (72-for-197) with 19 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR and 60 RBI in 47 games (46 starts) as a junior at Washington State.
- Ranked among Pac-12 leaders in avg. (4th), RBI (2nd) and slugging pct. (3rd); named first team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, the first Cougar selected as a first team All-American since Aaron Sele in 1990 and the first position player since John Olerud in 1998.
- Ranked as the No. 80 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 81 overall by MLB.com.
- Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 player in this year’s draft out of the state of Washington.
- Is the highest selection out of Washington State since the Red Sox selected catcher Scott Hatteberg with the No. 43 pick in 1991.
RYAN SPIKES, INFIELDER, ROUND 3 - NO. 100 OVERALL
R/R — 5-9/185 — 3/13/2003 — Parkview (Ga.) HS
- Hit .400/.482/.833 (48-for-120) with 10 2B, 6 3B, 10 HR and 17 SB in 36 games as a senior, setting a single-season school record with 6 3B.
- Ranked as the No. 154 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 196 overall by MLB.com.
- Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 9 player in this year’s draft out of the state of Georgia.
- Led Parkview to the 2021 Georgia High School Association 7A State Championship, going a combined 4-for-6 in the championship series.
- Won a Gold Medal with USA Baseball on the 15U National Team in the 2015 COPABE Pan Am “AA” Championships.
- Is the 4th-highest selection in school history behind Josh Hart (No. 34) in 2013, Matt Olson (No. 47) in 2012 and Jeff Francoeur (No. 23) in 2002.
- Committed to play college baseball next season at the University of Tennessee.
DRU BAKER, OUTFIELDER, ROUND 4 - NO. 130 OVERALL
R/R — 5-11/205 — 3/22/2000 — Texas Tech University
- Hit .343/.406/.484 (73-for-213) with 14 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 32 RBI and 18 SB in 51 games (50 starts) this season at Texas Tech.
- Led the Red Raiders in avg., doubles and stolen bases and recorded seven outfield assists to earn first team All-Conference honors.
- Began his collegiate career as a shortstop and third baseman before moving to the corner outfield for the 2020-21 seasons.
- Ranked as the No. 171 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 190 overall by MLB.com.
- Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 13 player in this year’s draft out of the state of Texas.
- Is the fourth player all-time to be selected by the Rays out of Texas Tech and the first since 2012.
MASON AUER, OUTFIELDER, ROUND 5 - NO. 161 OVERALL
R/R — 6-1/210 — 3/1/2001 — San Jacinto College North
- Hit .373/.525/.627 (76-for-204) with 11 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR and 56 RBI in 64 games with San Jacinto College this season.
- Ranked among NJCAA Region XIV leaders in hits (2nd), homers (4th), RBI (3rd), walks (66, 1st) and stolen bases (34, 1st).
- Spent one season at San Jacinto and led the team to the Junior College World Series; named to the All-Tournament Team after batting .400 (10-for25) with 3 2B, 2 HR and 5 RBI; played for Missouri State University in the shortened 2020 season before transferring to San Jacinto.
- Ranked as the No. 452 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 43 out of the state of Texas.
- Previously selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 39th round of the 2019 Amateur Draft.
- Committed to transfer for next season to the University of Oregon.
MASON MONTGOMERY, LEFT-HANDED PITCHER, ROUND 6 - NO. 191 OVERALL
L/L — 6-2/195 — 6/17/2000 — Texas Tech University
- Went 5-3 with a 3.82 ERA (63.2-IP, 27-ER) and 84 SO in 14 apps (13 starts) this season at Texas Tech.
- Was the winning pitcher when the Red Raiders advanced to the Super Regionals for the fifth time in school history.
- Ranked as the No. 306 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 24 out of the state of Texas.
- Previously selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 39th round of the 2018 Amateur Draft.
- Became the first pitcher ever selected by the Rays out of Texas Tech, and the fifth player overall and second this draft.
LOGAN WORKMAN, RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER, ROUND 7 - NO. 221 OVERALL
R/R — 6-4/215 — 12/6/1998 — Lee University
- Went 8-1 with a 1.81 ERA (79.2-IP, 16-ER) with 110 SO, 27 BB, .168 opp avg. (47-for-280) in 12 apps (all starts) in his redshirt junior season.
- Went 20-5 with a 2.13 ERA (198.1-IP, 47-ER) in 53 career apps (24 starts), setting a Lee University record for career ERA (min. 150 IP).
- Ranked as the No. 218 overall player in this year’s draft by MLB.com; earned second team All-American honors by the Division II Conference
- Commissioners Association and third team All-American recognition by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assocation and American Baseball Coaches Association; named first team All-Gulf South and won the conference’s Pitcher of the Week honors three times this season.
- Became the first player selected out of Lee University since 2016 and is the second all-time to be drafted from the program by the Rays.
PATRICK WICKLANDER, LEFT-HANDED PITCHER, ROUND 8 - NO. 251 OVERALL
R/L — 6-1/205 — 12/31/1999 — University of Arkansas
Rays 8th rounder is an inspiration pic.twitter.com/QNJ1yjSRGy— Danny Russell (@d_russ) July 12, 2021
- Went 7-1 with a 2.09 ERA (77.2-IP, 18-ER) and 85 SO in 18 apps (13 starts) this season, moving into a starting role for conference games.
- Named second team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, one of three Razorbacks to be honored.
- Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in May 2020; estimates he lost between 25-30 pounds in the 2-3 weeks prior to the diagnosis.
- Ranked as the No. 273 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 220 overall by MLB.com.
- Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 5 player in this year’s draft out of the state of Arkansas.
- Became the second player ever selected by the Rays out of the University of Arkansas, following Ryne Stanek (No. 29) in 2013.
ALEX AYALA JR., LEFT-HANDED PITCHER, ROUND 9 - NO. 281 OVERALL
R/L — 6-1/195 — 11/26/2001 — Florida SouthWestern State College
- Named Suncoast Conference Pitcher of the Year this season, going 8-3 with a 3.53 ERA (63.2-IP, 25-ER) in 15 apps (13 starts) as a freshman.
- Ranked by Baseball America as the No. 62 player in this year’s draft out of the state of Florida.
- Allowed 5 hits (or fewer) in 12 of his 13 star; named first team All-Conference and first team All-State by the FCSAA.
- Recorded a team-high 84 ; held opponents to a .190 avg. (44-for-232) in his only season at Florida SouthWestern State College.
- Did not allow a earned run and recorded 34 SO during his pandemic-shortened senior season at Brito Miami Private School in 2020.
AUSTIN VERNON, RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER, ROUND 10 - NO. 311 OVERALL
R/R — 6-8/265 — 2/8/1999 — North Carolina Central University
- Went 5-4 with a 2.55 ERA (70.2-IP, 20-ER) and 109 SO in 12 apps (all starts) this season, earning first team All-MEAC honors.
- Led the conference in strikeouts while setting a single-season school record; ranked 2nd in the conference with a 2.55 ERA.
- In a 10-0 win at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on May 7 vs. Delaware State, pitched NC Central’s first no-hitter since the baseball program was reinstated in 2007; tied the program’s single-game record with 13 SO in a 10-4 win at the DBAP on May 13 vs. Florida A&M.
- Pitched for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League following each of his 2019 and 2021 seasons at NC Central.
- Missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season while recovering from an arm injury that required surgery.
- Ranked as the No. 283 overall player in this year’s draft by Baseball America and No. 22 out of the state of North Carolina.
- His older brother, Andrew, was selected by the Brewers in the 28th round of 2016 Amateur Draft, the first player taken in NCCU history.