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Rays sign Alika Williams, shortstop from Arizona State taken 37th in draft

Also, Steinbrenner High and Florida State product CJ Van Eyk finalizes his deal with the Blue Jays.
 
Arizona State infielder Alika Williams during an NCAA baseball game against Notre Dame on Feb. 17, 2019, in Phoenix.
Arizona State infielder Alika Williams during an NCAA baseball game against Notre Dame on Feb. 17, 2019, in Phoenix. [ RICK SCUTERI | Associated Press (2019) ]
Published June 19, 2020|Updated June 19, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are confident Arizona State shortstop Alika Williams is more than just a good defender.

On Thursday, they invested $1,850,000 in finding out, signing the No. 37 overall pick in last week’s draft. The deal was slightly below the $1,999,300 slot value.

Williams was rated the best defensive infielder among collegians in the draft by Baseball America but feels he can be an all-around player in the majors. He hit .300 with five homers, 81 RBIs and a .783 OPS in 129 career games for the Sun Devils, with 55 walks compared to 49 strikeouts.

Williams, taken in the competitive balance round with a pick acquired from St. Louis, is the second Rays draft pick to sign this week, joining fifth-rounder Jeff Hakanson, a UCF reliever out of Jesuit High School. The Rays expect to get all six of their picks signed by the Aug. 1 deadline.

Also Thursday, Steinbrenner High and Florida State pitcher CJ Van Eyk signed with the Blue Jays, who took him in the second round, 42nd overall. Van Eyk got $1.8 million, slightly over the $1,771,100 slot value.