Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rating the Rays' drafts, from the top down

The Rays have the No. 4 selection in Monday's draft, the highest they've picked since taking Tim Beckham first overall in 2008. Overall, it will be their 22nd draft, and while under both ownership groups they've hit on some good picks high (first-rounders Evan Longoria and David Price, Carl Crawford in the second) and low (James Shields in the 16th round, Kevin Kiermaier in the 31st) there also have been some big misses (like the 2011 mess).

Though it may be more fair to judge an entire draft class, most of the focus, and the money, goes to the first pick, so we've endeavored ranking their top choices in each of the 21 drafts, listed with their career wins above replacement or WAR (per baseball-reference.com):

1. 2006 (3rd overall) 3B Evan Longoria 48.1 WAR

Couldn't really have worked out better, a franchise player who's signed long term, and is pretty darn good. Could've had: LHP Clayton Kershaw, RHP Tim Lincecum

2. 2007 (1) LHP David Price 32.0

Dominant, front-of-rotation ace as expected. Only negative was shorter stint with Rays, which wasn't his doing. Could've had: C Matt Wieters, OF Jason Heyward

3. 2002 (2) CF B.J. Upton 16.2

Provided power and speed over nine seasons, then a first-round pick when he left via free agency (Ryne Stanek). Could've had: RHP Zack Greinke, 1B Prince Fielder

4. 2003 (1) OF Delmon Young 2.5

Didn't do much as a Ray, but trade return of Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza led to a pennant, plus even more back. Could've had: 2B Rickie Weeks, OF Nick Markakis

5. 1999 (1) OF Josh Hamilton 28.1

Was right pick, but drug issues made for wrong outcome with Rays. Eventually showed immense talent elsewhere. Could've had: RHP Josh Beckett, LHP Barry Zito

6. 2000 (6) OF Rocco Baldelli 10.2

Had the athleticism and talent to be an All-Star, but unforeseen medical issues curtailed his career. Could've had: 2B Chase Utley, RHP Adam Wainwright

7. 2008 (1) INF Tim Beckham 3.0

Took a while, and he'll never escape Buster Posey shadow, but proving this season he can be a solid big-leaguer. Could've had: C Posey, INF Brett Lawrie

8. 2004 (4) RHP Jeff Niemann 4.1

Injuries shortened career, but when healthy 6-foot-9 starter was pretty good over parts of five seasons. Could've had: RHP Jered Weaver, 2B Dustin Pedroia

9. 1997 (31) RHP Jason Standridge-0.6

Not a good choice as "best athlete" available, but was good enough to pitch in 80 big-league games over seven years. Could've had: LHP Randy Wolf, INF Chone Figgins.

10. 2001 (3) RHP Dewon Brazelton -3.0

Pretty much a total bargain-driven bust given better options, but did win eight games in majors, which says something. Could've had: 1B Mark Teixeira, 3B David Wright

11. 2012 (25) 3B Richie Shaffer 0.2

Made it to majors in late '15, but poor/ '16 showing at Triple-A instead led to dumping in winter trade. Could've had: RHP Lance McCullers, LHP Alex Wood

12. 2011 (24) RHP Taylor Guerrieri NA

Derailed once by Tommy John surgery, came back to reach Triple-A, now sidelined again with new elbow issues. Could've had: OF Jackie Bradley Jr, INF Joe Panik

13. 2014 (20) 1B Casey Gillaspie NA

Good bloodlines with brother Conor in majors, had stellar 2016 getting to Triple-A, struggling now. Could've had: LHP Jordan Montgomery, OF Bradley Zimmer.

14. 2016 (13) 3B/OF Josh Lowe NA

Made solid pro debut impressing with bat, now playing well enough at full-season Class A after moving to outfield. Could've had: Too early to say.

15. 2013 (21) C Nick Ciuffo NA

Slowed by injuries, has developed defensively, not so much yet with the bat, playing at Double-A. Could've had: OF Aaron Judge, LHP Sean Manaea

16. 2015 (13) OF Garrett Whitley NA

Looks like it will be a slow track for N.Y. prep pick, but there's been progress as he plays this year at Class A Bowling Green. Could've had: Too early to tell.

17. 2009 (30) OF LeVon Washington NA

Wasn't signed, wasn't much, maxing out at Class A with Indians. Rays at least got comp pick, C Justin O'Conner. Could've had: 3B Nolan Arenado, 2B Jason Kipnis

18. 1998 (132) 1B Josh Pressley NA

Losing top three picks for free agents Roberto Hernandez, Wilson Alvarez, Dave Martinez bad, worse Pressley never passed Triple-A. Could've had: LHP Javy Lopez.

19. 1996 (29) OF Paul Wilder NA

Took a swing at big-time power with first ever pick, but it was all in BP as Wilder never got past Class A. Could've had: SS Jimmy Rollins, OF Milton Bradley

20. 2010 (17) OF Josh Sale NA

Combo of bad play (not getting past Class A), bad behavior (two suspensions), led to spring 2015 release. Could've had: OF Christian Yelich, RHP Noah Syndergaard

21. 2005 (8) RHP Wade Townsend NA

Cost-saving decision cost dearly; he got only to Double-A, several big-time impact options were available. Could've had: OF Andrew McCutchen, OF Jay Bruce

Current Rays by draft round

1 - SS Tim Beckham (first overall, 2008), INF Rickie Weeks (2nd, 2003, by Brewers), 3B Evan Longoria (3rd, 2006); OF Colby Rasmus (28th, 2005, Cardinals), RHP Ryne Stanek (29th, 2013), RHP Jake Odorizzi (32nd, 2008, by Brewers); INF Daniel Robertson (34th, 2012, by A's), RHP Brad Boxberger* (43rd , 2009, by Reds), RHP Tommy Hunter (54th, 2007, by Rangers)

2 - INF Brad Miller* (2011, by Mariners)

3 - OF Steven Souza Jr. (2007, Nats), RHP Matt Andriese (2011, by Padres),

4 - RHP Alex Cobb (2006), C Derek Norris (2007, by Nationals)

5 - RHP Chris Archer (2006, by Indians), INF Taylor Featherston (2011, by Rockies), OF Mallex Smith (2012, Padres)

8- OF/DH Corey Dickerson (2010, by Rockies)

9 - RHP Austin Pruitt (2013)

10 - OF Peter Bourjos (2005, Angels), RHP Danny Farquhar (2008, Blue Jays)

11 - RHP Nathan Eovaldi* (2008, Dodgers)

15 - RHP Chase Whitley (2010, Yankees)18 - SS Matt Duffy* (2012, Giants)

22 - 1B Logan Morrison (2005, Marlins)

30 - RHP Shawn Tolleson* (2010, Dodgers)

31 - LHP Xavier Cedeno* (2004, Rockies), CF Kevin Kiermaier* (2010)

34 - RHP Ryan Garton (2012)

Not subject to draft: INF Michael Martinez; C Wilson Ramos*, Jesus Sucre; P Jose Alvarado, Alex Colome, Jumbo Diaz*, Kevin Gadea*, Diego Moreno*, Erasmo Ramirez

* - on DL

Draft rumblings

Baseball America's latest mock draft has the Rays taking Louisville 1B/LHP Brendan McKay, after the Twins takes Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright, the Reds California prep RHP Hunter Greene, the Padres N.C. prep LHP MacKenzie Gore. ... MLB.com has the same order, but then an update saying the Twins could take McKay, which would shuffle plenty. ... ESPN and CBSSports.com also have the Rays taking McKay.

Rays rumblings

Given the home run controversies of just the last week, seems time for MLB or Fox Sports Sun to invest in a Trop catwalk cam. ... Principal owner Stuart Sternberg said he'd consider doing a doubleheader like Saturday's annually, though he's "not optimistic" it will line up logistically. ... Teams are actively compiling background info on closer Alex Colome and others in the event the Rays look to be July sellers. ... The DL move with Rickie Weeks seems like a last-ditch attempt to get him back to spring form, because 49 strikeouts in 97 at-bats isn't helping. ... OF/DH Corey Dickerson's best hope for the All-Star Game is to be voted in by the players, but it wasn't a good sign when mlb.com polled 30 players for underrated candidates and he didn't get a single mention. ... In opting to acquire fringe utility players like Michael Martinez and Taylor Featherson, Rays management passed on promoting promising prospects such as Willy Adames and Patrick Leonard on the premise that they're better off staying and playing daily at Triple-A. Not all would agree. ... Not surprised there was a blow-up between a Red Sox player and the Boston media; was a little surprised it was David Price, who knew what he was getting in to.

Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected] and (727) 893-8801. Follow a href="https://twitter.com/TBTimes_Rays?lang=en">@TBTimes_Rays>

     
   
Comments
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos is no longer just part of a bullpen day, he's the No. 4 starter and who goes to the mound at 1:10 p.m. against Phil Hughes to try to help Tampa Bay attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins.Catcher Wilson Ramos g...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Published: 04/21/18