With No. 1 pick, Rays sit atop 2007 Draft
Tampa Bay has top choice for third time in club history
ST. PETERSBURG -- Since participating in their inaugural First-Year Player Draft in 1996, the Devil Rays have twice had the first overall pick.
In 1999, they used the pick to select Josh Hamilton, and in 2003 they used it to select Delmon Young; both outfielders are now Major League rookies.
The Rays again have the first overall pick this year, and all eyes will be on them when that first name is called.
MLB.com will broadcast every pick of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 7-8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. Day 1 coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. Video coverage of the remaining rounds on Day 1 will air at MLB.com, with live interviews and analysis from Orlando by Casey Stern, Jonathan Mayo and Perfect Game USA's Dave Rawnsley.
Day 2 of the Draft will get under way at 11:30 a.m. ET and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com with analysis from Mayo and Perfect Game USA's Allan Simpson.
Also again this year, fans can follow every pick with MLB.com's live Draft Tracker, a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player, featuring biographical data, statistics, scouting reports and rare scouting video.
Vanderbilt left-hander David Price is considered the overwhelming favorite to be selected first.
Price has a nice body of work, but most impressive could be the performance he put forth for as the ace of the USA Baseball National Team's Gold Medal Winning squad that competed at the FISU World University Championships in Cuba last summer. Price finished 5-1 with a 0.20 ERA in eight starts with 61 strikeouts and only seven walks in 44 innings.
Will Price be right for Tampa Bay? The Rays say they will not make their first selection based on the player they believe is closest to reaching the Major Leagues. Instead, the Rays believe whichever player they take needs to get into the organization's farm system to get comfortable before making the leap to the Major Leagues.
While the Rays draft first, they will have to wait to make their second choice. After the rest of the first-round selections are made, the Rays will have to wait through 35 sandwich picks, which makes the team's second pick the equivalent of a third-round selection.
Rays last three first-round picks
2004: RHP Jeff Neimann: Neimann has struggled with injuries, but is now at Triple-A Durham and appears on the fast track to reach Tropicana Field. He has three quality pitches, he throws strikes and he's working on a changeup and a splitter. If healthy, he could dominate.
2005: RHP Wade Townsend: Townsend spent the 2006 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery that was performed on Nov. 21, 2005. He is now pitching for Class A Columbus. Prior to his surgery, he had a good fastball, which is expected to come back.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Rising fast: Reid Brignac, a shortstop, was the Rays' Minor League Player of the Year in 2006 after combining to hit .321 with 24 home runs and 99 RBIs at Class A Visalia and Montgomery. He is earmarked to be the team's shortstop of the future, a player known for his bat but one who has come a long way with the glove.
Cinderella Story: Andy Sonnanstine, a right-handed pitcher taken in the 13th round of the 2004 Draft, was named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2006 after setting a Minor League single-season record with 15 wins. What he lacks in physical gifts he more than makes up for with mound savvy and pinpoint control. He is currently pitching at Durham.
In the show: The Rays have had no players reach the Major Leagues from their past three drafts.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.