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History shows Rays are savvy picking after the fifth round

From staff aces to Gold Glovers to emotional sparkplugs, here are 10 of Tampa Bay’s best late gets.
Kevin Kiermaier has earned three Gold Gloves (and one Platinum), and a $50 million contract since being taken with a 31st-round pick.
Kevin Kiermaier has earned three Gold Gloves (and one Platinum), and a $50 million contract since being taken with a 31st-round pick. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jun. 5, 2020|Updated Jun. 5, 2020

This year’s MLB draft will be pared down to just five rounds. That’s bad news for the Rays, who have had ample success drafting players from the sixth round on.

Here are 10 of the best players they got:

RHP James Shields (2000)

James Shields
James Shields [ JAMES BORCHUCK | Tampa Bay Times ]

Round/pick: 16/466

WAR (Wins Above Replacement): 31.0

Key Rays starter for seven seasons, All-Star, has the team’s only World Series win.

OF Kevin Kiermaier (2010)

Kevin Kiermaier
Kevin Kiermaier [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Round/pick: 31/941

WAR: 25.7

Earned three Gold Gloves (and one Platinum), and a $50 million contract.

OF Desmond Jennings (2006)

Desmond Jennings
Desmond Jennings [ VRAGOVIC, WILL | Tampa Bay Times ]

Round/pick: 10/289

WAR: 13.5

Rare power/speed combo highlighted career ended early by injuries.

Related: Why MLB’s pared-down draft could leave Rays short-handed

RHP Jason Hammel (2002)

Jason Hammel
Jason Hammel [ BORCHUCK, JAMES | St. Petersburg Times ]

Round/pick: 10/284

WAR: 12.8

So-so start with Rays led to solid 13-year career, and World Series ring with Cubs.

C John Jaso (2003)

John Jaso
John Jaso [ VRAGOVIC, WILL | Tampa Bay Times ]

Round/pick: 12/338

WAR: 10.8

Had two stints with Rays during a 9-year career limited by concussions.

C Stephen Vogt (2007)

Stephen Vogt
Stephen Vogt [ EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Tampa Bay Times ]
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Round/pick: 12/365

WAR: 7.9

Rays gave up on his defense too early as he became an All-Star elsewhere.

RHP Dan Wheeler (1996)

Dan Wheeler
Dan Wheeler [ CASSELLA, BRIAN | St. Petersburg Times ]

Round/pick: 34/1024

WAR: 7.8

Started with Rays, though made bigger impact when traded back in 2007.

LHP Joe Kennedy (1998)

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy [ STEVE NESIUS | AP ]

Round/pick: 8/262

WAR: 7.4

Began career as starter on three bad Rays teams before traded; died at age 28.

LHP Matt Moore (2007)

Matt Moore
Matt Moore [ VRAGOVIC, WILL | Tampa Bay Times ]

Round/pick: 8/245

WAR: 5.1

Playoff win, All-Star pick, 17-win season offset by career-changing surgery.

C Toby Hall (1997)

Toby Hall
Toby Hall [ RONDOU, MICHAEL | St. Petersburg Times ]

Round/pick: 9/294

WAR: 4.7

Spent parts of seven seasons with Rays, still franchise leader in games caught.

Five others of note

Jonny Gomes
Jonny Gomes [ BORCHUCK, JAMES | St. Petersburg Times ]

OF Jonny Gomes (2001)

18th round/529th pick, 3.5 WAR

RHP Jake Faria, (2011)

10th round/330th pick, 0.7 WAR

RHP Andy Sonnanstine (2004)

13th round/375th pick, 0.4 WAR

1B Nate Lowe (2016)

13th round/390th pick, 0.4 WAR

RHP Austin Pruitt (2013)

9th round/278th pick, -1.0 WAR