The MLB draft lottery played out on the national stage during the Winter Meetings held last week and the Tampa Bay Rays were the beneficiary of the new draft rules.
Despite finishing the season with the 4th best record in all of baseball at 99 wins, the Rays were able to leapfrog several teams with worse records due to the draft’s new convoluted rules that punishes teams with high payrolls and rewards those teams that made the postseason but failed to progress very far.
Thus, thanks to their low payroll and quick playoff exit, the Rays received the 18th overall selection for the 2024 draft.
The Rays will have three more selections among the first 100 picks:
- 59th overall selection (second round)
- 69th overall selection (the top selection in competitive balance round B)
- 97th overall selection (third round)
This is the first time in franchise history that the Rays will pick at 18th overall and this is earliest selection the team has had in the draft since taking LHP Matthew Liberatore 16th overall in 2018.
During the most previous draft the Rays had the 19th overall selection, which they used on SS Brayden Taylor out of Texas Christian University. Taylor made his pro debut later on in the Summer and performed well out of the gate, hitting .242/.361/.516 with 5 HR over 108 plate apperances, registering a 142 wRC+; Taylor finished the season with Single-A Charleston.
Baseball America ranked Taylor as the Rays 6th best prospect following the season and projects him to potentially be an everyday infielder in the big leagues within the next two to three years. As for the upcoming draft, in Baseball America’s latest mock up, they have the Rays selecting Brody Brecht, a hurler out of the University of Iowa.
Some notable former #18 selections include current big leaguers Corey Seager and Sonny Gray, a former Cy Young in R.A. Dickey, and former Rays color commentator Joe Magrane.
The 2024 MLB draft will be held from July 9th through July 11th during the week of the All-Star game,