Rays Draft Report Card

We analyze the Rays 2009 draft class




QUICK TAKE
It's hard to have a great draft without signing your top two draft picks, but that's what happened to Tampa Bay this year. The Rays still got intriguing bats and athletes, and hope to have a few pitching finds from the likes of Shuman, James and Quate.
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: 1B Jeff Malm (5) has done two things consistently in his baseball career: win and hit. He has a good swing and feel for the strike zone and should get better as he strengthens his immature body. >> BEST POWER HITTER: C Luke Bailey (4) had a tough spring, including Tommy John surgery, but that shouldn't keep him from tapping into his plus raw power. He's got a bit more pop than OF Todd Glaesman (3). >> FASTEST RUNNER: OF Chris Murrill (35) earns 70 grades on the 20-80 scale from the Rays and has built his game around his speed. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Bailey will be an asset defensively if his arm returns strong from elbow surgery. Glaesman may stick in center field and would be a premium defender in right. OF Cody Rogers (7) has athletic ability and plus speed that could make him a plus center fielder.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: RHP Scott Shuman (19) walked 57 in 75 career innings at Auburn, but the Rays got him throwing more strikes while sitting in the 93-95 mph range. He struck out 29 and walked nine at Rookie-level Princeton. LHP Kevin James (9), who signed for $625,000, sits at 90-91 mph and has a projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame. With its life, it could surpass Shuman's. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: RHP Zach Quate (14) developed a plus slider this year from a loose, lower three-quarters slot. It helped him post a 1.09 ERA at Appalachian State this spring and a 0.35 ERA at short-season Hudson Valley as a pro.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: Quate, who commands his average fastball with good life, had a 34-4 strikeout-walk ratio in 26 innings for the Renegades while saving 13 games. Murrill hit .306/.360/.363 with 29 stolen bases at Hudson Valley, where SS/2B Tyler Bortnick (16) batted .300/.386/.470 with 24 steals. >> BEST ATHLETE: Rogers, a plus runner with some explosiveness, gets the nod over Glaesman, who was a fellow Texas A&M signee. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: RHP Marcus Proctor (30) has his mother's last name; his father is ex-big leaguer Marcus Jensen, who managed Oakland's Rookie-level Arizona League team. Unsigned SS Kalani Brackenridge (44) has a brother Tyron who plays defensive back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. SS Dan Rhault (26) has overcome a childhood bout with leukemia, which has been in remission for 15 years. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Quate, especially if he commands his stuff. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Quate and Shuman. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The Rays were optimistic they'd get OF LeVon Washington (1) done and knew SS Kenny Diekroeger (2), a Stanford signee, would be a challenge. They considered both first-round talents and wound up losing both, with Washington choosing Chipola (Fla.) JC and a shot at the 2010 draft.