ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have signed outfielder Garrett Whitley, their first-round selection from the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and the No. 13 pick overall. He will join the Gulf Coast League Rays.
Whitley, 18, was the sixth high school outfielder taken by the Rays with their first overall selection (Josh Sale, 2010; Delmon Young, 2003; Rocco Baldelli, 2000; Josh Hamilton, 1999; and Paul Wilder, 1996). During his senior season at Niskayuna (N.Y.) High School, Whitley hit .351 with a .479 on-base percentage, three home runs, 13 RBI and 24 runs scored. He also went 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts in 20 games played.
"Garrett has all the tools we look for in a young prospect, both physically and mentally," said Rays Director of Scouting R.J. Harrison. "He has the tools to play center field and hit in the middle of a lineup, and has the potential to impact the game with his legs, bat and glove. On top of that, Garrett is an intelligent young man with a great mental foundation for playing our game. We are very excited to welcome him to the organization and get him started on his professional journey."
Whitley, the first major league draft pick from Niskayuna High School, was the highest high school draft selection from New York state since the Cleveland Indians selected Manny Ramirez in 1991, also with the No. 13 selection.
He was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 7 overall prospect and No. 2 outfielder in this year's draft, and was named the Gatorade New York Baseball Player of the Year.
Entering his senior season, he was named to both the USA TODAY American Family Insurance All-USA Preseason Baseball Team and the Perfect Game First Team Preseason All-American Team. He was named to the All Area Code Team at the most recent Area Code Baseball Games held in Long Beach, Calif.
Whitley maintained a 3.84 grade point average in the classroom, and had signed a national letter of intent to play at Wake Forest University before signing with the Rays.