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Rays Tales: Best, worst drafts for Tampa Bay Rays

This draft

Rays top picks

First round

No. 24 (from Red Sox for Crawford)

No. 31 (from Yankees for Soriano)

No. 32 (original pick)

Compensation round

No. 38 (for Soriano)

No. 41 (for Crawford)

No. 42 (for Balfour, who signed w/A's)

No. 52 (for Hawpe, who signed w/Padres)

No. 56 (for Benoit, who signed w/Tigers)

No. 59 (for Choate, who signed w/Marlins)

No. 60 (for Qualls, who signed w/Padres)

Second round

No. 75 (from A's for Balfour)

No. 89 (original pick)

Draft facts

When: Monday-Wednesday

Rounds: Up to 50

Schedule: First and compensation round on Monday starting at 7 p.m.; continues Tuesday-Wednesday at noon.

Coverage: MLB Network, mlb.com, tampabay.com

Number of the day

$11,465,00 Bonus money paid to the 12 picks in last year's draft. The one-year record for any team is $11,927,200 by Washington last year.

Mocked up

The latest projections from the experts:

ESPN's Keith Law

24. LHP Tyler Anderson, Oregon

31. OF Brandon Nimmo, Wyo. HS

32. RHP Tyler Beede, Mass. HS

Baseball America's Jim Callis

24. 2B Kolten Wong, Hawaii

31. OF Brian Goodwin, Miami-Dade CC

32. LHP Henry Owens, Calif. HS

Jonathan Mayo, mlb.com

24. RHP Robert Stephenson, Calif. HS

31. LHP Henry Owens, Calif. HS

32. LHP Chris Reed, Stanford



Rays Rumblings

The Rays didn't submit any changes to their uniforms by the May 31 deadline, so expect the same look (and no Tampa Bay on the road jerseys) in 2012. … USA Today had the Rays among seven pro sports teams as the next candidates for relocation. … 2008 top pick SS Tim Beckham has been criticized, but consider that if he weren't in his fourth pro season (and hitting almost .300 at Double A), he'd be a college junior and a likely top-five pick in this draft. … Former big-leaguer Doug Glanville in his latest espn.com column waxes about OF Sam Fuld becoming basically the face of steroids-free baseball: "Super Sam Fuld has helped us find something again." … The Rays were not among the nine teams reported by the Los Angeles Times to be in violation of MLB's debt-service rules.

Got a minute? Alex Cobb

Must-see TV? A lot of things on the History Channel like American Pickers, Storage Wars, Pawn Stars.

Big-night-out meal? Grilled chicken and mashed potatoes, everywhere.

Band or singer you'd most like to be on stage with? Probably the Eagles.

Worst job? The only other job I've had is being a bat boy (for the Dodgers in spring training while growing up in Vero Beach). And filing in my dad's office; he's a financial adviser.

With your girlfriend Kelly's permission, dream date? Jessica Alba.

Best drafts



Worst drafts



The Rays are very open about how significant this week's draft is to the future of their franchise given the opportunity to enrich their farm system with an unprecedented haul — as a result of their free agent losses — of picks: 10 of the first 60 and 12 of the top 89. After more than a year of preparation, it is time to see what executive VP Andrew Friedman, scouting director R.J. Harrison and their staff do with them, relative to the inherent challenges of the baseball draft, where few players are sure things. While much time will be spent between now and Monday night speculating what might happen, we offer a look back at how the Rays have done previously in their 15 drafts and what history might provide as a guide:

Based on players who made it to the majors, key picks that didn't, and those who got away unsigned and made it elsewhere.

1. 2004

Made it

1. Jeff Niemann, RHP

2. Reid Brignac, SS

3. Wade Davis, RHP

5. Jake McGee, LHP

7. Fernando Perez, OF (traded to Cubs)

8. Rhyne Hughes, 1B (traded to Orioles)

13. Andy Sonnanstine, RHP

Didn't make it

4. Matt Spring, C

6. Ryan Royster, OF

Got away unsigned

29. Daniel McCutchen, RHP

Analysis

To get three pitchers who have been in the rotation (Niemann, Davis, Sonnanstine), a starting — though struggling — shortstop (Brignac) and a potential future closer (McGee) is a tremendous one-year haul. This was the last draft under the old regime, and former scouting director Cam Bonifay said Friday that he remains proud of what they did on several levels: "Quality, depth, number of major-league players, importance to the organization. And with no extra picks."

2. 1999

Made it

1. Josh Hamilton, OF (lost in Rule 5 draft)

2. Carl Crawford, OF

3. Doug Waechter, RHP

5. Seth McClung, RHP (traded to Brewers)

14. Jeff Ridgway, LHP (traded to Braves)

17. Matt Diaz, OF (lost on waivers)

Didn't make it

4. Alex Santos, RHP

Got away unsigned

18. Ryan Raburn, OF

21. Mike Fontenot, INF

Analysis

Crawford's contributions alone are worthy, but think of what could have been had Hamilton's career not been derailed by abuse issues and either Waechter or McClung lived up to his potential. Also, if Diaz had been given a chance.

3. 2006

Big-leaguers

1. Evan Longoria, 3B

2. Josh Butler, RHP (traded to Brewers)

4. Alex Cobb, RHP

10. Desmond Jennings, OF

Didn't make it (yet)

5. Shawn O'Malley, SS

6. Nevin Ashley, C

7. Ryan Reid, RHP

8. Tyree Hayes, RHP

Got away unsigned

13. Mike Minor, LHP

Analysis

Longoria, below, is a superstar and by the end of 2011/start of 2012, Cobb and Jennings could be key players, too. Butler brought Gabe Gross, a key '08 piece. And Ashley may yet make it.

Players who made it to the majors, key picks that didn't, and those who got away unsigned and made it elsewhere.

1. 2001

"Made" it

1. Dewon Brazelton, RHP

2. Jon Switzer, LHP

5. Chris Seddon, LHP

9. Fernando Cortez, INF

18. Jonny Gomes, OF

19. Jason Hammel, RHP

32. Joey Gathright, OF

34. Chad Gaudin, RHP

Got away unsigned

4. David Bush, RHP

Analysis

Armed with the No. 3 pick, they came up virtually empty, taking Brazel­ton rather than Mark Teixeira, Gavin Floyd or Casey Kotchman. Overall, not an impact player in the bunch, and barely legit big-leaguers.

2. 2005

Made it

4. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP

Didn't make it

1. Wade Townsend, RHP

2. Chris Mason, RHP

5. Michael McCormick, 3B

Got away unsigned

3. Bryan Morris, RHP

18. Tommy Hunter, RHP

19. Ike Davis, 1B

25. Clayton Mortensen, RHP

49. Casey Coleman, RHP

Analysis

Hellickson, below, may turn out to be very good, but to get nothing else — when having the No. 8 pick — is pretty bad.

3. 2003

Made it

1. Delmon Young, OF

2. James Houser, LHP (released)

4. Travis Schlichting, RHP (traded to Angels)

12. John Jaso, C

13. Chad Orvella, RHP

Got away unsigned

3. Andrew Miller, LHP

9. Billy Buckner, LHP

19. Josh Geer, RHP

30. Adam Ottavino, RHP

36. Wade LeBlanc, LHP

37. Kris Medlen, RHP

Analysis

Young over Rickie Weeks could still be debated, and to have the No. 1 pick and otherwise have only Jaso to show for it — and two seasons of Josh Paul's wit, after being acquired for Schlichting — isn't much.

Rays Tales: Best, worst drafts for Tampa Bay Rays 06/04/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 5, 2011 6:47pm]
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