It might be time for the NFL draft, but baseball’s draft is only a few weeks away. Baseball America put together a first-round mock that included a few Rays picks, here’s what they said:
24. RAYS (Jim): This is the first of Tampa Bay’s record 12 picks in the first two rounds. The Rays can kick off what should be a productive draft with some hometown flavor, taking Alonso HS (Tampa) righthander Jose Fernandez. He’s the top player remaining at this point from BA’s midseason Top 50 list, and he has one of the best fastballs in the draft.
31. RAYS (John): Tampa Bay’s plethora of picks is well-publicized, as is its preference for athleticism. But they’re not blind to the hit tool, either, and with so many picks, they can use a portfolio approach. That’s why I’m taking C.J. Cron here. He’s one of the best college bats in the draft, and he’ll move quickly in an organization that needs to get some big bats to the big leagues pronto.
32. RAYS (Conor): Speaking of not ignoring the hit tool, I really like East HS (Cheyenne, Wyo.) Brandon Nimmo for Tampa Bay’s second straight pick. Nimmo’s high school doesn’t have a team, yet he’s a sure thing to be the highest-drafted player ever out of Wyoming (current record holder William Ewing was an Angels fourth-rounder in 1976). Nimmo is one of the best pure hitters in this year’s high school class. He’s also an above-average athlete who won a state title in the 400-meter dash this year and runs a 6.54-second 60-yard dash.
Who knows if any of those guys will really land with the Rays, but may as well keep their names in mind–just in case.