With the MLB Draft only a few hours away, all the final mock drafts for the major analysts are out. Here are the projected first-round draft picks for the Tampa Bay Rays, including links to each full mock draft:
Keith Law: C.J. Cron, Brandon Nimmo, and Johnny Eierman
Kevin Goldstein: Josh Bell, Dan Vogelbach, and Brandon Nimmo
Jim Callis: Chris Reed, Henry Owens, and Blake Swihart
As for the Josh Bell pick, Goldstein has this to say:
Thoughts on what the Rays will do with their picks have gone from aggressive to “crazy aggressive.” They don’t have the cash to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees in the free agency market, so this year’s plethora of picks is their chance to find cost-controlled superstars. Bell is the best high school bat in the draft, and the Rays are looking more and more like they’ll do what it takes to sign the best player they can find with nearly every pick.
Josh Bell is, without a doubt, the best hitter available in this year’s draft, but he’s recently expressed that he would like to go to college in favor of signing with a team. His agent if Scott Boras, though, so it’s unclear if this desire is sincere or a mere attempt to drive his price higher.
The Rays have 10 first-round picks tonight, and while they have made it clear that they have a large budget to accommodate these picks, this is the first time anyone has suggested they have the money to pursue Bell. If this rumor from Goldstein is true, it could make this an absolutely huge night for the Rays.
But of course, odds are that the draft tonight will end up looking nothing like what most analysts are currently predicting. Only time will tell, and thankfully we don’t have too much longer to wait.