Rays pick two pitchers to end draft's first day
ST. PETERSBURG - Thursday proved to be an unforgettable day for Cameron Varga.
In the afternoon, the 6-foot-3 right-hander threw a 15-strikeout no-hitter for Cincinnati Christian Academy in the semifinals of the Ohio high school state playoffs.
A few hours later, the Rays chose him in the second round with the No. 60 overall pick. You can read more about his fifth no-hitter of the spring here, from the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Varga was mlb.com's No. 47 overall prospect in the draft. His fastball touches 95 mph with a good curveball to complement it. He's old for a high school player - he turns 20 in August - and he had arm problems last summer, but he hasn't allowed a run all season.
"This guy's got good stuff," scouting director R.J. Harrison said.
Varga initially committed to Florida as a shortstop but has signed with North Carolina as a pitcher.
The Rays went with an under-the-radar pick at No. 72, their final pick of the draft - right-hander Brent Honeywell from Walters State Community College in Tennessee. The 6-foot-2 Honeywell can hit 95 mph with his fastball and also throws a screwball.
He was a high school All-America player in Georgia and turned 19 in March. Honeywell was 10-3 in his first junior college season with a 2.81 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings.
Honeywell was not among mlb.com's top 200 draft prospects, and Baseball America ranked him No. 195. When the Rays first scouted him, Harrison said they were afraid he was his screwball was a gimmick.
"When we saw the delivery and the arm action and the way the ball came out of his hand, he wasn't a gimmick guy," Harrison said.