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Hidden gems could lie in latter rounds

Hidden gems could lie in latter rounds

ST. PETERSBURG -- While the first two days of the First-Year Player Draft are complete, the Rays will likely select other players of significance in the final day.

Plenty of players who will contribute to the Rays, or other Major League teams, will be selected by the Rays in the final day of the Draft. If you don't believe it, look at the Rays current 25-man roster and you'll soon discover that plenty of good players can be selected in the late rounds.

After Days 1 and 2, the Draft will resume with exclusive coverage on MLB.com on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds, beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET.

MLB.com's coverage will include a live pick-by-pick audio stream, expert commentary and the exclusive Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring statistics, scouting reports and video highlights.

James Shields, the Rays No. 1 starter, was a 16th round selection in the 2000 Draft out of Hart High School in the Los Angeles area. But Shields is hardly the only Rays player to be selected in the later rounds.

Here's a look at the others: Randy Choate, 5th round (1997), Yankees; Jason Isringhausen, 44th (1991), Mets; Lance Cormier, 4th (2002), Diamondbacks; Brian Shouse, 13th (1990), Pirates; Joe Nelson, 4th (1996), Braves; Andy Sonnanstine, 13th (2004), Rays; Joe Dillon, 7th (1997), Royals; Ben Zobrist, 6th (2004) Astros; Matt Joyce, 12th (2005), Tigers; and Gabe Kapler, 57th (1995), Tigers.

Fans will not only be able to follow along every minute of the way online, but they'll be able to interact directly with Draft-eligible players and MLB.com Draft experts, among others.

The Draft Tracker will also feature the addition of Twitter, and the participation of "tweeters" such as MLB.com Draft expert @JonathanMayoB3, who will also be serving as on-air talent for all three days of the Draft; and reporter @LisaWinstonMLB, who will be writing the up-to-the-minute coverage for MLB.com.

In addition, MLB.com has created a Twitter account devoted to the Draft, where you can stay updated on every piece of info as it becomes available (@MLBDraft).

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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