With the No. 29 pick in the draft, the Rays selected first baseman Xavier Isaac from East Forsyth High School in North Carolina. He’s committed to play for the Florida Gators.
We have our first giant surprise of the first round. The Rays draft high school first baseman Xavier Isaac with the No. 29 overall pick. He ranked No. 92 on the BA 500, equal to a mid-third round pick.— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) July 18, 2022
His tools according to Baseball America ($), which include a descriptor of “monstrous raw power and bat speed”:
Hit: 45. Power: 65. Run: 30. Field: 40. Arm: 50.
As Kyle Glaser said in the embedded tweet, he was ranked No. 92 by Baseball America. While they ultimately put a 65 grade on his power, they noted his raw power for some would rate much higher:
He hits towering home runs to all fields in batting practice—to the point where scouts don’t seem to hesitate when grading him out with 80 raw power.
Baseball America rated his power as the second best among high-school hitters in the class, behind only Elijah Green, the No. 5 pick in the draft.
His tools according to MLB.com:
Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 40
MLB.com ranked him as the No. 113 player in the class and also noted his power:
Isaac’s massive 6-foot-4, 240-pound frame packs plenty of strength and bat speed that give him close to top-of-the-scale raw power from the left side of the plate.
This is the earliest the Rays have drafted a first baseman since Brendan McKay in 2017. If you don’t want to count McKay for obvious reasons, it would be Casey Gillaspie with the No. 20 pick in 2014. The pick was panned by some, including The Athletic’s Keith Law ($):
If a power-over-hit first baseman doesn’t hit enough to get to the power, you have nothing. I don’t get this in the first round.
Xavier Isaac is a pure power prospect, adding to the boom-or-bust nature of the pick. Isaac is already enrolled in classes at the University of Florida.