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First things first: A look at Rays’ top draft picks

Selecting Paul Wilder in 1996 was a bad start, but they’ve had some hits, with Evan Longoria the biggest.
Paul Wilder was the Rays' first Round 1 pick in 1996, but never made it to the majors.
Paul Wilder was the Rays' first Round 1 pick in 1996, but never made it to the majors. [ Times (2001) ]
Published Jun. 13, 2020
Updated Jun. 13, 2020

The Rays have now participated in 25 drafts. Here is a look at their top picks in each one, with MLB stats and baseball-reference.com career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) where applicable:

OF Paul Wilder (1996): 29th pick; didn’t reach majors

RHP Jason Standridge (1997): 31st pick; 3-9, 5.50; -0.7 WAR

1B Josh Pressley (1998): 132nd pick; didn’t reach majors

OF Josh Hamilton (1999): 1st pick; .290, 200 HRs; 28.3 WAR

The Devil Rays' No. 1 draft pick, Rocco Baldelli, prepares to bunt during one of his first batting practices.
The Devil Rays' No. 1 draft pick, Rocco Baldelli, prepares to bunt during one of his first batting practices. [ Times (2000) ]

OF Rocco Baldelli (2000): 6th pick; .278, 60 HRs; 10.2 WAR

RHP Dewon Brazelton (2001): 3rd pick; 8-25, 6.38; -3.1 WAR

Related: How Rays found the answers and comfort to draft Nick Bitsko

SS B.J. Upton (2002): 2nd pick;.243, 164 HRs; 16.5 WAR

OF Delmon Young (2003): 1st pick; .283. 109 HRs; 2.4 WAR

Manager Lou Piniella welcomes first-round draft pick Jeff Niemann to the Trop in 2004.
Manager Lou Piniella welcomes first-round draft pick Jeff Niemann to the Trop in 2004. [ Times (2004) ]

RHP Jeff Niemann (2004): 4th pick, 40-26, 4.08; 4.2 WAR

RHP Wade Townsend (2005): 8th pick; didn’t reach majors

3B Evan Longoria (2006): 3rd pick; .267, 297 HRs; 56.0 WAR

LHP David Price (2007): 1st pick; 150-80, 3.31; 39.7 WAR

Shortstop Tim Beckham talks with the media at Tropicana Field in 2008 after being selected by the Rays first overall in the draft.
Shortstop Tim Beckham talks with the media at Tropicana Field in 2008 after being selected by the Rays first overall in the draft. [ Times (2008) ]

SS Tim Beckham (2008): 1st pick; .249, 63 HRs; 3.5

2B Levon Washington (2009): 30th pick; didn’t sign

RF Josh Sale (2010): 17th pick; didn’t reach majors

RHP Taylor Guerrieri (2011): 24th pick; 0-0, 5.50; 0.2 WAR

Tampa Bay Rays first-round draft pick Richie Shaffer talks with the media in 2012.
Tampa Bay Rays first-round draft pick Richie Shaffer talks with the media in 2012. [ Times (2012) ]

3B Richie Shaffer (2012): 25th pick; .213, 5 HRs; 0.0 WAR

C Nick Ciuffo (2013): 21st pick; .186, 1 HR; -0.3 WAR

1B Casey Gillaspie (2014): 20th pick; didn’t reach majors

OF Garrett Whitley (2015): 13th pick; played at Class A

Tampa Bay Rays top draft pick Josh Lowe on the field before the start of 2016 game at the Trop.
Tampa Bay Rays top draft pick Josh Lowe on the field before the start of 2016 game at the Trop. [ Times (2016) ]

3B Josh Lowe (2016): 13th pick; played at Double-A

1B/LHP Brendan McKay (2017): 4th pick; 2-4, 5.14; -0.1 WAR

LHP Matt Liberatore (2018): 16th pick; traded from Class A

Related: Doug Waechter knows exactly what Rays draftee Jeff Hakanson is feeling

SS Greg Jones (2019): 22nd pick; played at Class A

RHP Nick Bitsko (2020): 24th pick; expected to sign