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Rays Tales: A look at the 30th overall pick and the Tampa Bay Rays' draft history

Rays Rumblings

If former Ray Edwin Jackson keeps pitching well and isn't voted an All-Star by the players, does manager Joe Maddon name him to the AL team? … ESPN's Peter Gammons says Rockies closer Huston Street "makes sense" for the Rays. … As it's set up now, Jason Hammel won't pitch against his old mates when the Rays visit Colorado June 16-18. … Evan Longoria finished second (though a distant second) to Albert Pujols in a Sports Illustrated poll of execs and scouts asked what active players they'd pick to start a franchise. … Maddon is ranked eighth (up from 21st) among major-league managers by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo; Tony La Russa is first. … Longoria said the Twitter account in his name is a fake.

Got a minute? Randy Choate

Best meal you can make? I make a mean Hamburger Helper, the lasagna one.

Karaoke song, if you had to? Chasing Cars, by Snow Patrol. When I'm playing SingStar, that's the one I go with.

Guilty pleasure at the mall? Sony, Apple, Bose. I've got to get my gadgets.

Band you'd most want to be on stage with? George Strait.

Dream date? (Immediate answer) Jennifer Aniston.

Not picking until 30th in this week's draft is something different for the Rays. They haven't picked this low since their first two drafts, in 1996-97, when current executive VP Andrew Friedman was still in college and current stars Evan Longoria and David Price were in middle school. But then stumbling through one of the worst decades in pro sports provided some benefit: for 10 consecutive years, the Rays picked in the top eight, four times first overall. Picking 30th isn't really bad, because it means they were really good the year before, as teams pick in inverse order of record (with some changes due to free agent compensation). "I hope we're picking down there every year," scouting director R.J. Harrison said, "because it means we're doing something right." Plus, there have been some 30th picks — which until the Rays and D'backs started picking in '96 were either sandwich or second-round selections — that made pretty good names for themselves. Here's a look at the past and at how the Rays have done:

The five best 30s

1. Mike Schmidt, 1971 Phillies

Made the majors the next September and stuck around for 18 seasons, 548 home runs and a Hall of Fame induction.

2. David Wells, 1982 Blue Jays

Pitched 21 seasons in the majors with nine teams, won 239 games, with nine seasons of 15 or more, plus 10 more in postseason.

3. Jerry Reuss, 1967 Cardinals

Pitched 22 seasons in the majors with eight teams, compiling a 220-191 record and ranking in the top five in ERA five times.

4. Travis Fryman, 1987 Tigers

Made five AL All-Star teams in 13-year career, averaged 21 homers and 98 RBIs over full seasons.

5. Chris Sabo, 1983 Reds

Only played parts of nine seasons but collected an NL rookie of the year award, three All-Star appearances, two top-20 MVP finishes. And don't forget the glasses.

Also worth mentioning …

• Nineteen of the No. 30 picks never played in the majors, though that includes the three most recent. Among the others who did, some of the more interesting picks: Terry Forster (1970, by White Sox), Moose Haas (1974, Brewers) and Brian Jordan (1988, Cardinals).

• There are three No. 30 picks currently playing in the majors: Jack Cust (1997, by D'backs), Noah Lowry (2001, Giants), Mitch Maier (2003, Royals). Tyler Greene (2005, Cardinals) was recently sent down.

Rays the stakes

The Rays have never had the 30th pick. They chose 29th in their first draft in 1996 and took OF Paul Wilder, who never played in the majors, and they chose 31st in 1997 and took RHP Jason Standridge, who pitched briefly, and not very well, in the majors. But there are some connections. Russ Johnson, the 30th pick in 1994, played for the Rays in 2000-02 after being acquired in a trade from Houston. Nick Bierbrodt, the 30th pick in 1996, pitched for them in 2001-03, after being acquired in a trade from Arizona. Also, LHP J.P. Howell was the 31st pick in the 2004 draft by Kansas City.

Rays first selections

Year No. Player, pos Games*

1996 29 Paul Wilder, OF 0

1997 31 Jason Standridge, RHP 21

1998 132 Josh Pressley, 1B 0

1999 1 Josh Hamilton, OF 0

2000 6 Rocco Baldelli, OF 447

2001 3 Dewon Brazelton, RHP 54

2002 2 B.J. Upton, SS 417

2003 1 Delmon Young, OF 192

2004 4 Jeff Niemann, RHP 16

2005 8 Wade Townsend, RHP 0

2006 3 Evan Longoria, 3B 174

2007 1 David Price, LHP 7

2008 1 Tim Beckham, SS 0

* Games played for Rays (through Friday)

Current Rays — by round

1: Pat Burrell*, Matt Garza, Gabe Gross, Scott Kazmir*, Evan Longoria, Jeff Niemann, Carlos Peña, David Price, B.J. Upton; S: J.P. Howell; 2: Reid Brignac, Carl Crawford; 4: Lance Cormier, Joe Nelson; 5: Randy Choate; 6: Ben Zobrist, Troy Percival*; 7: Joe Dillon, Fernando Perez*; 12: Matt Joyce; 13: Jason Bartlett*, Chad Bradford,* Brian Shouse,* Andy Sonnanstine; 16: James Shields; 24: Shawn Riggans*; 34: Dan Wheeler; 44: Jason Isringhausen; 57: Gabe Kapler; Not subject to draft — Willy Aybar, Grant Balfour, Michel Hernandez, Akinori Iwamura*, Dioner Navarro

S — sandwich pick (between first and second round) * on DL

Rays Tales: A look at the 30th overall pick and the Tampa Bay Rays' draft history 06/06/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 6, 2009 7:29pm]
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