Why the Rays drafted a pitcher who threw only 2 innings this season

Lefty Joe Gobillot didn’t get much of an opportunity at Vanderbilt, but the Rays remember him from his Texas high school days.
Joe Gobillot starred in high school but didn't get much opportunity with Vanderbilt. [Twitter]
Joe Gobillot starred in high school but didn't get much opportunity with Vanderbilt. [Twitter]
Published June 6, 2019|Updated June 6, 2019

DETROIT — Many of the 30 players the Rays took in Wednesday’s third and final day of the MLB draft had obvious statistics and credentials that made their selection somewhat obvious.

And then there was lefthander Joe Gobillot, who they took in the 16th round after he threw all of two innings this season for Vanderbilt, and with no injury issues.

Related: RELATED: Full list of Rays 2019 draft picks

Turns out the Rays had been interested when he was a high schooler in the Houston area, and feel the talent is still there even if he didn’t get the chance to show it as a redshirt freshman for the typically well-armed Commodores.

“We scouted him in high school … and we thought quite highly of him there,’’ Rays scouting director Rob Metzler said. “Vanderbilt, ton of respect for their program, they just have a lot of depth and a number of tremendous arms. He just hasn’t had the opportunity to pitch as much as others. We’re optimistic about getting him the fold, but we think he has a chance to really develop with the opportunity to pitch more than he was able to at Vanderbilt.’’

Overall, the Rays took 21 college pitchers with their 42 picks, though Metzler insisted that was more circumstantial than strategic.

“How the draft played out,’’ he said. “We were happy to take the best player available when we did but by no means a new Rays strategy that we’re going heavy on drafting college pitching.’’

Related: RELATED: Rays snap 4-game skid behind strong Charlie Morton outing

Overall, Metzler was predictably pleased, noting their haul also included a premium high school pitcher, J.J. Goss at No. 36; several middle of the diamond players and a couple of potentially big bats.

Among other selections of note in rounds 11-40:

Shortstop Ben Troike, known for his defense and contact hitting style at Illinois; outfielder Garrett Hiott, who played at nearby Eckerd College; pitcher Trevor Brigden, from Canada’s Okanahan College. Metzler said there was “no specifics to share” yet on signing the top picks.

Goss is likely to sign, but with nothing yet finalized his college offer from Texas A&M remains an option.