The Rays signed a cluster of top draft picks this week, welcoming several of their highly regarded prospects to Tampa Bay. JJ Goss put pen to paper on Friday night in his second visit to Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay selected Goss with their second pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, No. 36 overall. The organization signed him to a $2,045,000 signing bonus, the same number as the slot value assigned to the 36th pick.
Goss, 18, will forgo his commitment to Texas A&M University in order to sign with the Rays.
Goss first visited the Rays’ home stadium for the Perfect Game National Showcase, an event that highlights several premier prospects in amateur baseball. The right-handed pitcher said that the showcase was his first chance to pitch in a major league stadium.
“It was just crazy,” Goss said on Friday night. “Being able to pitch on a professional mound was amazing.”
The Rays picked Goss out of Cypress Ranch, a public school just outside of Houston. In addition to playing for his high school team, Goss pitches at the Hunter Pence Baseball Academy. The academy, founded by Rangers outfielder and designated hitter Hunter Pence, offers lessons and camps for amateur baseball players in the Houston area.
The academy hosted Goss, his family and his friends for the first night of the MLB amateur draft. Goss said it was helpful to have a good support group with him on draft day.
“It was nerve-wracking seeing all the names come off the board,” Goss said. “Finally getting the call and knowing that I’m going to go day one was life-changing.”
Goss received the call from the Rays just minutes before his name was announced on televised draft coverage. The teenager said that he was waiting all day for the phone call.
“It kept me thinking and worrying,” Goss said. “Once I got picked it was just like a relief. It felt good.”
The Texan brings a four-pitch repertoire to the Rays organization. In addition to a fastball that sits 92-95 mph, Goss throws a slider, curveball and changeup. He said that he turns to his slider as an out pitch. Goss said he is excited to officially join the Rays organization.
“I’m going to bring my best every time I get the opportunity to throw.