Did the Rays win the MLB Draft? This analyst thinks so

The USF baseball team opens the season Friday at home vs. North Carolina. A lot of the focus will be on Bulls left-handed ace Shane McClanahan, projected as a top-10 draft pick. Provided by USF Athletics from the first official preseason practice, Jan. 26, 2018.
The USF baseball team opens the season Friday at home vs. North Carolina. A lot of the focus will be on Bulls left-handed ace Shane McClanahan, projected as a top-10 draft pick. Provided by USF Athletics from the first official preseason practice, Jan. 26, 2018.
Published June 7 2018
Updated June 7 2018

The Rays blew it in 2011, when they had 10 picks before the start of the second round of the MLB Draft and have only Blake Snell to show for it.

This week they had three first-round picks and a bonus pool of $12.4 million. And apparently, they did not blow it.

In fact, according to Jim Callis, an MLB.com draft analyst and former executive editor of Baseball America, no team had a better draft than Tampa Bay.

"Based on initial impressions, Tampa Bay amassed a better group of talent this week than any club did," Callis writes in this MLB.com draft analysis titled "These 5 teams had the best drafts."

Here's a sampling of Callis' takes on Rays picks:

No. 1 pick, Arizona high school left-hander Matthew Liberatore: "Quality stuff, advanced feel for a teenager and projectability, as well as a combination that led some evaluators to consider him the best pitcher available.

RELATED: Watch Matthew Liberatore

USF left-hander Shane McClanahan: "looked like a top-10-overall choice before a late-season fade dropped him all the way to No. 31 despite a fastball that reaches 100 mph and one of the better changeups in the Draft."

Indiana high school outfielder Nick Schnell (No. 32): "Potential for solid-or-better tools across the board."

“(Tampa Bay) concluded the first day of the Draft with offensive-minded Florida Atlantic middle infielder Tyler Frank (second round) and California right-hander Tanner Dodson (supplemental second), who has a fastball that hits 97 mph, flashes a plus slider and also won the Cape Cod League batting title with a .365 average last summer.” — Jim Callis

Callis also lauded the Rays for some "interesting interesting gambles on the third day" who could have gone much earlier if not for poor springs: San Diego left-hander Nick Sprengel (15th) and California Baptist righty Justin Montgomery (17th).

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