06/08/11 8:27 PM ET
A haul of a Draft is a huge success
By Anthony Chiang / MLB.com
But Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison and his staff still weren't ready for what occurred Monday, as the three-day 2011 First-Year Player Draft commenced, because it turned out better than they expected.
"That even made us have to make some tougher simulated decisions," Harrison said on Tuesday.
After making 10 selections on Day 1, the Rays made 50 more over the next two days to pick up a total of 60 prospects, which is the most by a Major League team since the Draft was restricted to 50 rounds in 1998. Of the 60 picks, Tampa Bay took 28 pitchers, four first basemen, two second basemen, seven shortstops, four third basemen, eight catchers and seven outfielders.
"I thought it went great," Harrison said. "The biggest thing we accomplished was exactly what we set out to accomplish: to add a lot of really good prospects.
"It was a unique opportunity with all those extra picks to add a lot of, what we think are, good prospects."
On a historic first day of the Draft, the Rays made seven picks in a 22-minute span that began with the selection of shortstop Brandon Martin, who is from Santiago High School (Calif.), in the compensation round. Tampa Bay capped off the stretch by using its final pick on Monday to draft 17-year-old outfielder James Harris.
However, Day 1 began for Tampa Bay by taking right-handed pitcher Taylor Guerrieri with the 24th overall pick. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound 18-year-old is from Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., and has committed to play at South Carolina. Harrison expects to visit Tampa Bay's first pick next week.
Guerrieri was one of 18 high schoolers taken by the Rays in this year's Draft, as Tampa Bay also selected 42 players from the college ranks.
Other notable Day 1 selections for Tampa Bay include outfielder Mikie Mahtook from LSU, shortstop Jake Hager from Sierra Vista High School (Nev.) and Tyler Goeddel from St. Francis High School (Calif.).
"We've had contact with [our top picks]," Harrison said. "I'm going to go into the Carolinas some time next week. We're all really anxious. You want to get them out playing, but sometimes it just takes a little bit more time than the ideal situation."
After the first day, Harrison said he was "really happy" with the Rays' initial 10 picks, and that tone didn't change two days and 50 picks later. Tampa Bay concluded the Draft by using 13 of its final 20 selections on pitchers.
The next step for the Rays' front office is to sign the players.
"There's a lot of [picks] that we feel confident about and very close [to signing]," Harrison said. "Now that the picking is done, now the work starts."
Anthony Chiang is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.