Rays hope to get 'ball rolling' on signing draftees

Rays hope to get 'ball rolling' on signing draftees

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays hope to have several of their draftees at Tropicana Field in the coming week to sign contracts and join the organization.

"We're very hopeful," Rays scouting director Rob Metzler said. "My phone has been off the hook talking to players and families to get the ball rolling on this stuff, and hopefully we'll be able to get the ball rolling."

The Draft saw the Rays go with a very balanced approach, selecting three first basemen, three catchers, three third basemen, three shortstops, four outfielders and 21 pitchers (15 right-handed, six left-handed). It also saw Tampa Bay pick Nathaniel Lowe from Mississippi State in the 13th round, the brother of the Rays' first-round pick Joshua Lowe.

Metzler said that there was nothing predetermined about either. No matter the position, Metzler, who's in his first year as the scouting director, made it clear that his team picked the best available player on its board. As a result, choosing the older brother of its first-round pick was a "happy coincidence."

"Nathaniel was the best player on our board when we came to pick in the 13th round," said Metzler, who added that there was extra comfort having a familiarity with the family.

When it comes to actually signing players, Metzler said they'll evaluate talent before signability, though that's also a factor. He said he was hesitant to make any proclamations about who would sign and when, but was happy with how the draft went as a whole.

"We were able to add another collection of talented players," Metzler said, "many of whom will get an opportunity to play in our system."

Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.