The Tampa Bay Rays have selected Mississippi State outfielder Colton Ledbetter with the No. 55 overall selection in the 2023 MLB Draft.
And this selection is a steal for the Rays in the second round, with CBS Sports ranking Ledbetter the No. 28 prospect in the game (ahead of Rays first round selection Taylor):
Ledbetter was one of the players we identified as a potential riser back in the spring. We noted then that if he held his own at an SEC program (after spending the previous two years at Samford) he would “move up preference lists in short order.” Check and check after Ledbetter nearly matched last year’s OPS overall. We do feel obligated to note that his performance in conference play wasn’t as sparkling as the previous sentence makes it sound. He struck out more than he walked (albeit barely) and his OPS was just .865, the fifth-best mark among qualifying Bulldogs. We suspect his athleticism, feel for the barrel, and mature approach will still land him in the first.
The Tampa Bay Rays have selected OF Colton Ledbetter. Outstanding athlete who showed well this spring in CF. Explosive operation at the plate with easy plus bat speed. Hit .320 with 12 2B, 12 HR, and 17 stolen bases. Hits the ball in the air w/authority. pic.twitter.com/Q4rCWaD39U— Peter Flaherty III (@PeterGFlaherty) July 10, 2023
Ledbetter is 6’2” and 202 pounds, batting and throwing lefty. Transferring to the SEC gave him more exposure and opportunities in his third collegiate season, and for those nitpicking, FanGraphs had notes on his approach:
He’s a tad vulnerable to up-and-away fastballs, but otherwise he is tough to beat in the strike zone, making adjustments to offspeed stuff in the middle of at-bats and striking hard contact to all fields.
Other sites had a second round expectation, FanGraphs ranked Ledbetter No. 45 (calling him a, “bankable, quick-moving bat”) and MLB Pipeline No. 49; nevertheless, Ledbetter (like Brayden Taylor) was one of seven players who attended the MLB Draft in person in Seattle as MLB continues to approximate other professional sports in developing the draft into a live event.