CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Rays add depth in field

Rays add depth in field

With the 2009 season and Arizona Fall League (where several 2009 draftees got their first taste of pro ball) in the books, we take a look at the early results of each club's '09 Draft class: how their top picks did; late-round picks that fared well; which picks are likely to move up the ladder quickest; and which picks clubs were unable to sign.

After having the top overall Draft pick in 2007 (left-hander David Price) and '08 (shortstop Tim Beckham), the Rays had the 30th overall pick in '09 thanks to making it to the Fall Classic last year.


NL East
ATL | FLA | NYM | PHI | WAS

AL East
BAL | BOS | NYY | TB | TOR

NL Central
CHC | CIN | HOU | MIL | PIT | STL

AL Central
CWS | CLE | DET | KC | MIN

NL West
ARI | COL | LAD | SD | SF

AL West
LAA | OAK | SEA | TEX

The defending American League used their first 2009 selection on LeVon Washington, an athletic middle infielder/center fielder from Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla. Although he was on Tampa Bay's radar for two years, the club was unable to sign Washington or second-round pick Kenny Diekroeger. In the end, the Rays didn't sign a player in the Top 100.

But the Rays have used their Draft picks wisely in recent years and have a lot of big league and almost-ready-for-prime-time talent to show for it, so there is a lot of hope for the Class of 2009. Being deep in pitching, they went for young position players early on to give that area some depth and balance. Six of their first seven picks were hitters, and their first seven selections came either from the high school or junior college ranks.

The Rays signed seven of their first 10 picks and 32 players overall, with what turned out to be an even split of 16 between pitchers and hitters.

Top five picks

3. Todd Glaesmann, OF: Drafted at No. 108 overall, Glaesmann is a fine athlete out of high school in Waco, Texas, who was slowed as a senior due to an ankle injury suffered playing football. He hit .278 in 15 games in the Gulf Coast League. A center fielder with the arm for right, he also has power potential.

4. Luke Bailey, C: The backstop would have likely gone much higher in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft had he not undergone Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. The Rays signed the Georgia high school defensive whiz and will help him through his rehab awaiting his pro debut because of that upside of defense and power.

5. Jeff Malm, 1B: The Las Vegas high school product hit .240 in seven games after signing late and is a pure hitter with power potential.

6. Devin Fuller, RHP: The first pitcher and the first junior college signee, Fuller headed to short-season Hudson Valley, where he posted a 2.92 ERA and struck out 31 batters in 49 1/3 innings, limiting New York-Penn League hitters to a .239 average.

7. Cody Rogers, OF: Rogers, drafted out of junior college in Texas, had arguably the best debut of any of the Rays' draftees, earning short-season Princeton's Player of the Year honors as he hit .303 with six homers, 37 RBIs and 14 steals playing all three outfield spots. The left-handed hitter has solid tools across the board and could be a quick riser in this young class.

Best of the rest

Outfielder Brett Nommensen (eighth round) out of Eastern Illinois was the first four-year college draftee and hit .258 with one homer, 26 RBIs and 15 steals at Hudson Valley. ... Left-hander Kevin James (ninth round) was a late signee who appeared in just one game after inking out of high school in Wisconsin. ... Right-hander Zach Quate (14th round), signed out of Appalachian State, where he posted a 1.09 ERA, continued to dominate in his pro debut, collecting 13 saves at Hudson Valley with a microscopic 0.35 ERA and 34 strikeouts versus four walks in 26 innings over 18 games. He limited hitters to a .170 average with a plus slider and command. ... Second baseman Tyler Bortnick (16th round) out of Coastal Carolina hit .300 at Hudson Valley and his 24 steals ranks fourth in the system despite playing just a half-season. He added four homers and 26 RBIs. ... Right-hander Scott Shuman (19th round) out of Auburn had an 0.82 ERA at Princeton, striking out 29 in 22 innings and limiting hitters to a .222 average with a fastball in the low-mid 90s. ... First baseman Ryan Wiegand (25th round) out of Gonzaga led the organization in average, hitting .324 with 19 doubles, five homers and 35 RBIs at Princeton. ... Speedy outfielder Christopher Murrill (35th round), ranked a 70 runner on the scout scale, swiped 29 bases, third in the system, while hitting .306 at Hudson Valley. The Nicholls State product could move quickly, no pun intended.

Fast risers

With the emphasis on high school position players early on, few of the Rays' top picks should project for the bigs any time soon. But if we had to pick one, we'd go with Rogers, the Player of the Year at short-season Princeton, taken out of junior college in Texas. Also keep an eye on later-round college pitchers Quate and Shuman and Murrill.

Unsigned

Though the Rays did sign 32 of their 50 picks, and seven of their first 10, they were unable to sign their top two picks. Washington was unable to come to terms with the club and instead seemed headed to Florida, where he'd committed, but was academically ineligible. Instead, he will play this year at Chipola Junior College, one of the top junior college programs in terms of producing prospects in the past few years, and re-enter the draft in 2010. With his surgically repaired right shoulder healed, a good year could see Washington move up the ranks in that first round. Diekroeger, however, will not be back in the Draft for three years, as he headed to his dad's alma mater, Stanford, to play college ball. The third pick from the top 10 to remain unsigned, Michigan prep shortstop Derek Dennis, went to the University of Michigan after batting .438 in high school.

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

{}
{}