Rays Draft Report Card
Analyzing Tampa Bay's 2008 draft
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.
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.
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.