Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays tales: History of No. 1 picks

You'll never get this one

This is something of a trick question, but who was the most recent player drafted by the Rays to play in the majors? LHP Will Smith, who didn't sign when drafted by the Rays in the 40th round in 2007, then was taken and signed the next year by the Angels, and traded to the Royals, for whom he made his big-league debut in May. The Rays have three big-leaguers of their own from earlier in that draft, C/OF Stephen Vogt (12th round), LHP Matt Moore (eighth), left, and three-time All-Star LHP David Price (first overall).

But starting with the 2008 draft, the Rays are the only team that hasn't had a player it selected get to the big leagues. Part has to do with going from picking at the top of the draft to the bottom as the team did better, part with philosophies — developmentally, philosophically and financially. More than 150 players from the 2008-09-10 drafts have played in the majors for other teams.

On schedule

With the Astros going to the AL in 2013 to even both leagues at 15, there's a need not only for interleague play throughout the season, but more total. The Rays will have 20 interleague games next year, up from 18, and spread over eight series instead of six. MLB is trying to make it so all teams in the same division play the same interleague schedule, but it couldn't quite get there due to some "natural" rivalries. So next year, with the AL East paired with the NL West, the Rays will play four games (two two-game sets) against their rival Marlins (down from six), three-game series against four of the NL West teams (at the Dodgers, for the first time, and Rockies; home vs. the Giants and Padres) and, for the schedule to work, four games (home-and-home two-game sets) against the Diamondbacks. When the AL East is paired with the NL East, the Rays would go back to six games vs. the Marlins.

Tebow-ed

From their seats in the audience, 3B Evan Longoria and RHP James Shields felt the Rays got shortchanged at the ESPYs when then-Broncos QB Tim Tebow's 80-yard TD pass that beat the Steelers in the playoffs was voted "Best Moment" over the dramatics of Game 162. "We should have won," Longoria said. "Not to take away from that moment, but it was something that's been done before — it's a touchdown pass thrown in overtime to win a football game. … But what we did and what happened that last day of the season last year will never happen probably in our lifetimes, probably in my children's lifetimes." Added manager Joe Maddon: "I thought to myself, 'How could that beat us?' ''

Rays rumblings

The 2013 schedule draft has the Rays opening at home vs. Baltimore. … SS Hak-Ju Lee is the only Ray on ESPN's Keith Law's midseason list of top 50 prospects, dropped from 12th to 33rd. … For RHP James Shields, a Lakers fan, highlights at the ESPYs included meeting Steve Nash; for wife Ryane, seeing Bruce Jenner, since she watches the Kardashian shows. … A Tropicana Field autograph signing by RF/2B Ben Zobrist and his wife, Julianna, in celebration of her new Say it Now CD was moved from Tuesday to Aug. 4; for $5 you get the CD and the signatures.

Got a minute? James Shields

What are you scared of?

Spiders. Any spider creature.

Favorite TV show?

Entourage.

Karaoke song if you had to?

Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine.

Late-night snack?

Ice cream, Blue Bell vanilla.

Celebrity crush?

I'd have to say Mila Kunis.

     
   
Comments
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