The 2016 Draft will take place today through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 77 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,500 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Rays, whose first selection is the 13th overall pick.
In about 50 words
The Rays rely upon the Draft as much as any club in baseball, so they need to be successful. If they don't have a good Draft class, it affects their ability to maintain a competitive club at the Major League level a year or two later.
"For us to maintain success, we need to have a number of picks at the top of the Draft and be successful with those picks," said Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman.
When recently asked about important qualifiers for players the club drafts, Rays director of amateur scouting Rob Metzler spoke of balancing physical attributes with baseball skills in their evaluations.
"If somebody has all the physical attributes -- size, strength, speed -- but they can't hit or command a pitch, then we have to assess whether we can help them with that," Metzler said. "Same if somebody's a highly-skilled player, but they might not have those physical attributes. Are they going to grow? We're looking at what we're going to get, and is that enough to proceed all the way to becoming a valuable Major Leaguer?"
The Rays appear to have their eye on a trio of right-handed college pitchers for their first pick. That group includes Dakota Hudson of Mississippi State, Justin Dunn of Boston College and Cody Sedlock of Illinois. Tampa Bay has also been linked to high school slugger Josh Lowe from Pope (Ga.) High School. However, the Rays have experienced frustration in the past developing prep picks, which bodes well for the prospect of drafting a college pitcher.
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.
Any team going up to 5 percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75 percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75 percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100 percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100 percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.
To sign their first 10 picks, the Rays have been allocated a pool total of $7,643,100, and the value assigned to their first-round pick is $3,098,900. Last year, the Rays were assigned a pool of $6,591,300, and the value assigned to their first-round pick was $2,962,700.
Recent Draft history
Adding pitching is always at the top of the list -- particularly left-handers. Any organization wants to bring in as many pitchers as possible, particularly those with power arms, and the Rays are no different. In addition, players with athleticism are always attractive.
According to Silverman: "Teams that are drafting at the top are using their slots creatively, and they're taking players that they like, but also potentially cutting deals that allow them to deploy the money in the rest of the Draft. There are very steep drop offs at the top of the Draft between the slots. So it provides some of those teams some creativity. And that's why there's a lot of uncertainty at the top of the Draft, because it's not necessarily about evaluation. It's also about the cost."
Johnny Field is establishing himself as a potential member of the Rays' outfield. A fifth-round pick in 2013, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound player from the University of Arizona is showing a variety of tools, including speed and some power. He can play all of the outfield positions. Currently, he's at Triple-A Durham.
Jaime Schultz, a 14th-round pick in the 2013 Draft, is impressing at Triple-A Durham. The hard-throwing right-hander caught everybody's attention during Spring Training with an electric fastball and a quality makeup. Schultz struck out 168 in 135 innings at Double-A Montgomery in 2015. According to MLBPipeline, Schultz is ranked No. 18 on the Rays' 30 Top Prospects list.
In The Show
A first-round pick in 2011, Mikie Mahtook is with the club and could become an everyday fixture in the outfield.
The Rays' recent top picks 2015: Garrett Whitley, OF, Class A Hudson Valley 2014: Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Double-A Montgomery 2013: Nick Ciuffo, C, Class A Advanced Charlotte 2012: Richie Shaffer, 3B, Triple-A Durham 2011: Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Double-A Charlotte
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.