Draft options still at five
The Rays say they are still considering five players for the No. 1 pick in the annual draft next Thursday.
And they say there isn't that much difference between them.
The five - in the order scouting director R.J. Harrison listed them, for what that's worth - are Florida State catcher Buster Posey, Georgia prep shortstop Tim Beckham, California prep catcher Kyle Skipworth, University of San Diego lefty Brian Matusz and Vanderbilt 3B Pedro Alvarez.
As opposed to last year, when the Rays were locked in from the start on LHP David Price as the top pick, Harrison said none of the five have established themselves as the obvious choice, and any of them could be because they are so close.
"I think so,'' Harrison said. “I think I told you guys before the spring even started, that’s the way I saw it going in and that’s the way we still see it. Last year we had a pretty good idea who we were taking in the fall. It was just a matter of something weird not happening to (Price). But this group, this year, I think it’s pretty evenly balanced. I can make a case for every one of those five guys, honestly.”
Executive VP Andrew Friedman later said three of the five are "more realistic,'' though he declined to name them. Posey and Beckham are widely considered to be in that group; the third is probably Alvarez, who is ranked as the top overall prospect by Baseball America, though Matusz would be an interesting option.
Beckham's dad, Jimmy, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday that they expect to be taken either first by the Rays or second by the Pirates.
"I've built quite a conversational relationship with the Pirates, and we feel the Pirates would not be a bad place for him," Jimmy Beckham said. "Either way, though, he'll be happy. We feel good about Tampa and Pittsburgh."