Tampa Bay Rays 2021 MLB Draft Report Card

To see all of our 2021 draft report cards as they’re released, plus new scouting reports, analysis & more for the 2022 draft, visit our MLB Draft Tracker.

Best Pure Hitter: The Rays targeted hit-first position players through the first several rounds of the draft so have many candidates for this category. Second baseman Cooper Kinney (1s) and first baseman Kyle Manzardo (2) both have high-quality bats that warranted selecting them high despite limited defensive profiles, while shortstops Carson Williams (1) and Ryan Spikes (3) warrant a mention as well.

Best Power Hitter: First baseman Bobby Seymour (13) was always praised for his impressive raw power while at Wake Forest, and he finally fully tapped into that during his fourth season in 2021, hitting 21 home runs over 47 games. He has easy plus raw power and added two homers in a brief, eight-game stint in Rookie ball during his pro debut.

Fastest Runner: Spikes and outfielder Dru Baker (4) are both at least above-average runners with the former getting plus times underway and the latter knowing how to use his speed in a functional manner on the diamond. Baker stole 18 bases in 20 attempts (90%) during the spring with Texas Tech and then went 6-for-6 in his pro debut in the Florida Complex League. Outfielder Mason Auer (5) is also a strong runner, with long strides that will let him cover plenty of ground defensively.

Best Defensive Player: Williams is an impressive athlete with more than enough arm strength to stick on the left side of the infield, and the Rays are high on his defensive ability at the position with additional reps. He fields the ball cleanly and gets the ball out of his hand rapidly and with accuracy, but at times he’s reliant on his arm strength and will need to make refinements with his footwork.

Best Fastball: Righthanders Logan Workman (7) and Austin Vernon (10) both have fastballs with impressive velocity and movement profiles. Workman sits in the mid 90s and has reached 98 mph while Vernon sits a bit lower but has also touched 98 mph at his peak. Lefthander Mason Montgomery (6) also stands out for his fastball movement and gets into the mid-90s—he would be a tick behind the first two arms for this category, but not far.

Best Secondary Pitch: The Rays love Montgomery’s changeup and think it has the potential to be a plus offering when paired with a fastball that has solid vertical hop. Workman’s slider would be another pitch to consider for this category.

Best Pro Debut: Each of the Rays’ top four hitters in the class had strong debuts with the bat in the Florida Complex League. Manzardo stands out among the group after hitting .349/.440/.605 with four walks and six strikeouts. On the pitching side, it’s hard to not like what Montgomery did—he struck out 20 batters and walked just one over 10.2 innings and posted a 0.84 ERA after allowing a single earned run.

Best Athlete: Williams’ athleticism stands out among this group and could be enough for him to make the adjustments necessary to stick up the middle while also offering an exciting blend of power and speed.

Most Intriguing Background: Williams and Manzardo are both the sons of baseball coaches, while Spikes is the product of a Georgia talent pipeline at Parkview High School that produced Jeff Francoeur, Matt Olson and Josh Hart.

Closest To The Majors: Manzardo has the track record as a hitter to move quickly and Vernon and lefthander Patrick Wicklander (8) could move quickly through the system on the pitching side.

Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): The Rays have a pair of intriguing arms signed after the draft. Righthander Kyle Whitten signed out of Virginia and posted a 4.70 ERA over four years with the Cavaliers, but took a step forward in his strike throwing during his pro debut. Righthander Cameron Leonard has a long track record of throwing strikes with UC San Diego, and after converting to a starting role during the spring, moved back to the bullpen in his pro debut where he was effective—posting a 1.64 ERA over 11 innings in rookie ball.

The One Who Got Away: Tampa Bay signed each of its 21 draft picks.

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