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MLB Draft 2022: Tampa Bay Rays select RHP Sean Harney in eighth round

Kentucky’s senior swingman has been a closer in the SEC, as well as a late season anchor in the rotation.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 04 Texas Christian at Kentucky Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays selected University of Kentucky closer-turned-starter Sean Harney with the No. 254 overall selection in the eighth round of the draft.

A fifth-year senior, Sean Harney has a story Rays fans are familiar with over the last couple years: a reliever on the rise who converted to starting.

Harney pitched three seasons for UMass before transferring to UK, and began the 2021 season as a closer but moved into the starting rotation after injuries to the pitching staff. The move made him the first player in school history with at least 6 saves and 6 starts in a single season.

2022 was more of the same. This time around he was 5-4 with a 2.62 ERA (65.1 IP, 19 ER) in 16 apps with 5 starts. As this was his final collegiate season, Harney can get started with the Rays immediately.

Harney’s selection comes ahead of prospects drafted later by the Rays that were nationally ranked and recognized, which speaks to the quality the Rays recognize overall in Harney.

Despite his primary use as a reliever, including 2 saves in 2022, Harney was a key piece of the Kentucky late season rotation in 2022:

Harney’s primary weapon is a plus slider that could carry him well in the Rays system.