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Rays' second pick Lobstein has plenty of potential

ST. PETERSBURG — With most of the attention on who they'd take with the first pick, the Rays spent a lot of time preparing for their second. And scouting director R.J. Harrison said they were "ecstatic" and "extremely fortunate" that left-handed pitcher Kyle Lobstein of Coconino High in Flagstaff, Ariz., was still there when they made the 47th overall selection.

"He's extremely projectable," Harrison said. "He has a major-league body (6 feet 3, 200 pounds), delivery and arm action. The stuff is good now, and we think there is more to come. He's one of those young pitchers that we think is really, really going to come and get better by leaps and bounds."

Lobstein, 6-2 with a 1.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 42 innings, said he feels the same way.

"I definitely still have a lot of room to develop," he said. "There's a lot of ceiling there."

Baseball America ranked Lobstein 45th overall and with the "best command" of all prep pitchers but said his stock dropped from top prospect status when his velocity dropped to the 87-88 mph range and topped out at 90 mph.

Lobstein, who also plays centerfield, has a scholarship offer from Arizona but said he is excited about joining the rising Rays organization and willing to listen, though Baseball America suggests it could take a bonus of at least $1-million.

"I obviously feel comfortable with the organization," he said. "It's pretty much going to come down to the figure."

GOOD LOOKERS: The Rays drafted two collegians with keen eyes — UC-Davis catcher Jake Jefferies and William & Mary first baseman Mike Sheridan each struck out only 11 times this season.

"They both really have a history of that," Harrison said. "And when you see them in person, they have that kind of swing. And they both use the whole field."

MONEY MATTERS: There were reports and rumors of high dollar demands by several players the Rays considered for the top pick, such as Buster Posey supposedly seeking a $12-million package and Pedro Alvarez (and adviser Scott Boras) wanting more than $8-million.

But Friedman said the issue was "zero factor" in their decision to take Tim Beckham over Posey and others.

"We're confident that whoever we would have taken, with the size of the check we were going to go to the table with, we'd be able to sign," he said.

MISCELLANY: Harrison said overall the Rays were "very tickled with the players we ended up with today." … Fourth-rounder Ty Morrison was Oregon's top prep prospect. … Beckham sounded embarrassed when asked about being photographed in an "old" Rays hat: "I have a new one. I just put on the wrong hat." … Harrison said the Rays "absolutely" will draft through all 50 rounds today.

Rays' second pick Lobstein has plenty of potential 06/05/08 [Last modified: Friday, June 6, 2008 7:39pm]
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