Rays Draft Report Card

Analyzing Tampa Bay's 2008 draft




QUICK TAKE
With the last No. 1 overall pick they should have for a while, the Rays went for Tim Beckham over catcher Buster Posey. They also invested heavily in the polished Lobstein, then focused on projectable arms and athletes.
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: SS Tim Beckham (1), the No. 1 overall pick, slumped early but batted .275 in the final month and the Rays believe he'll be a five-tool player. They're also enthused about the lefty bats of C Jake Jefferies (3), 1B Mike Sheridan (5) and OF Anthony Scelfo (8).  >>  BEST POWER HITTER: OF Jason Corder has plenty of raw power that was sometimes masked by Long Beach State's Blair Field. Tampa Bay envisions Beckham developing 20-homer power.  >>  FASTEST RUNNER: OFs Ty Morrison (4) and Bryan Bryles (12) have plus-plus speed. Bryles was part of an Arkansas high school state champion 400-meter relay team.  >>  BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Unlike B.J. Upton, the last shortstop the Rays took with an early first-round pick, Beckham should be able to stay at the position. He has fluid actions, plenty of range and a strong arm.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: Tampa Bay selected just two pitchers in the first eight rounds and mostly took projectable high schoolers. RHP Matt Gorgen (16) has the best present heater, sitting at 90-92 mph. He could be passed by one of the younger arms, perhaps LHP Kyle Lobstein (2), who's 6-foot-3, 185 pounds and occasionally hits 92 mph. He signed for $1.5 million.  >>  BEST SECONDARY PITCH: RHP Shane Dyer's (6) knuckle-curve. Lobstein and RHP Jason McEachern (13) also have good curveballs, and LHP Josh Satow (25) owns a deceptive changeup.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: Gorgen went 1-1, 1.96 with 13 saves and a 35-5 K-BB ratio in 23 innings at short-season Hudson Valley. Opponents hit just .093 against him.  >>  BEST ATHLETE: In terms of pure athleticism, it's Morrison and Bryles, and Bryles also was highly regarded as a pitcher whose fastball peaked in the low 90s. In terms of all-around baseball skills, it's Beckham, who should have four plus tools and solid-average speed when he's a finished product. Scelfo played quarterback at Tulane.  >>  MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: The Rays also signed Beckham's brother, 2B/3B Jeremy (17). The Cardinals signed Gorgen's twin brother Scott as a fourth-rounder. When Scelfo first arrived on campus, his uncle Chris was Tulane's football coach and his father Frank was the offensive coordinator.  >>  CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Beckham and Lobstein should move fast for high schoolers. Gorgen may not need much time to get ready for big league bullpen duty.  >>  BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: McEachern or Gorgen. McEachern was throwing just 82-84 mph in the summer before his high school senior year, but he's now up to 88-92 mph and there's more projection remaining with his body and delivery.  >>  THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The only players the Rays didn't sign among their first 28 picks were lefty power-hitting 1B Brandon Meredith (15) and 6-foot-5 LHP Ryan Carpenter (21). Meredith is attending San Diego State, while Carpenter is at Gonzaga.