In the tenth round of the 2022 MLB Draft, the Rays have selected University of Hawaii RHP Cade Halemanu at No. 314 overall.
Halemanu ranked in a similar position on the Baseball America draft board, at No. 375 in 2021 and No. 387 in 2022, both of which project an early Day 3 selection, but the Rays moved early to secure Hawaii’s ace at the end of Day 2.
The Rays select Halemanu without a guarantee of his signature, due to a final year of college eligibility remaining, but see a traditional starting pitcher’s build.
His late rise among draft classes was due to a surging fastball, that leapt into the 92-96 mph range last year. Here’s the report from Baseball America:
A fourth-year player this spring, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound righthander has continued to improve his stuff, this time sharpening breaking balls that were previously below average. He’s now flashing an average slider and curveball to go with a fastball that averages 92-93 mph and has been up to 97 this spring. Some scouts believe he has an above-average changeup on top of that, giving him a sneaky solid four-pitch mix. He’ll need to sharpen his command after his walk rate spiked this spring. He posted a 4.69 ERA over 15 starts and 71 innings, with 71 strikeouts (21.6 K%) and 41 walks (12.5 BB%). He should have plenty of interest after the 10th round or could be a money saving senior sign before then.
Like the scouts referenced, the Rays also see major league potential in Halemanu’s change.
University of Hawaii RHP Cade Halemanu sat 92-95 T96 against Cal State Fullerton.— Ben Brewster (@TreadAthletics) May 6, 2021
8.2IP 6H 1ER 0BB 10K.
He was sitting 88-91 when he joined Tread in April and worked with Performance Coach @TurnerGivens on getting his arm to match his plane of rotation. pic.twitter.com/kYyZBbfaJ8
Prior to his Rays selection, Halemanu had committed to transfer to the Oregon Ducks. Halemanu holds a career 3.86 ERA (158.2-IP, 68-ER) in 42 apps (27 starts) over four seasons at Hawaii, having been used in relief to start his collegiate career from 2019-20.
Halemanu is the the third player drafted out of the Univ. of Hawaii in club history, joining Tyler Brashears in 2015 and Lenny Linsky in 2011.