Rays Pick In Uncommon Territory

As John Manuel alluded to earlier, the Rays are in uncommon territory. After "earning" the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft by finishing with the worst record in the game last year, the Rays have made an impressive turnaround this season.

So if it seems a little bit unusual that the team with the first pick in the draft has one of the best records in baseball, you’re right. Since 1989, only two teams have had as good a record as the Rays on the day heading into the draft. The last team with a better winning percentage than the Rays’ .597 mark was the 2001 Twins, who at 37-18 had a .673 winning percentage, then used their top pick to take a franchise catcher, Joe Mauer.

DRAFT DAY RECORDS
YEAR TEAM W-L PCT
2008 Rays 35-24 .597
2007 Devil Rays 26-32 .448
2006 Royals 14-41 .255
2005 Diamondbacks 31-27 .534
2004 Padres 31-25 .554
2003 Devil Rays 21-34 .382
2002 Pirates 26-31 .456
2001 Twins 37-18 .673
2000 Marlins 26-31 .456
1999 Devil Rays 23-29 .442
1998 Phillies 26-28 .481
1997 Tigers 26-28 .481
1996 Pirates 23-33 .411
1995 Angels 20-13 .606
1994 Mets 25-26 .558
1993 Mariners 26-27 .491
1992 Astros 21-28 .429
1991 Yankees 21-25  .457
1990 Braves 19-28 .404
1989 Orioles 30-22  .577

The only other team with a better record heading into draft day was the 1995 Angels, though they had only played 33 games after the season was delayed from the players’ strike in 1994. They ended up with a pretty good player that year, nabbing Nebraska outfielder Darin Erstad with the top pick.

Adding Tim Beckham to what already ranks as the game’s best farm system—including last year’s No. 1 overall pick, David Price—the Rays are positioned to dominate our organizational rankings for years to come.

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