In a frantic last minute flurry, the Tampa Bay Rays signed their last remaining unsigned first round draft picks just moments before the midnight deadline Monday night, completing an epic draft haul that included 11 picks in the drafts top 80 selections.
Top pick Taylor Guerrieri, 1st rounder Mikie Maahtook, and supplemental draft picks Tyler Goeddel and Grayson Garvin all agreed to deals with the club making it 20 of the top 21 picks and 41 of 60 overall signed for Tampa Bay, an unprecedented coup for general manager Andrew Friedman who called the June draft the three most important days in franchise history.
In all, the Rays spent over $11 million dollars on this draft class, including more than $10 million in bonuses to the top 12 selections. Friedman spoke to the St. Petersburg Times' Mark Topkin about the signings last night, expressing his excitement with getting the deals done.
"We're thrilled. We talk a lot about the importance of our farm system for us to have continued success in this division. In our opinion, it's more important for us than it is for any other team in baseball. We feel like we've added a lot of high-impact players to our system. … We feel like we've really strengthened our system and given us a real balance."
Guerrieri is a powerful right-handed pitcher, with a fastball in the mid to upper 90's. He was ranked as high as 10th in the draft going in and fell due to concerns about an off-field issue that the Rays have said they did their homework on and still felt comfortable making the pick. Guerrieri was committed to play baseball at the South Carolina but instead choose to sign with the Rays. The deal comes with a reported $1.6 million dollar signing bonus.
Mahtook, who lit up the college baseball world at LSU, is an outfielder who relies on speed and athleticism. His signing was less of an uncertainty as Guerrieri but he had been contemplating a return to LSU for his senior season before instead choosing to sign with Tampa Bay. Mahtook may be quick to the major leagues as he is already a polished player hailing from the SEC where he hit .383 with 14 homers and lead the division with 29 stolen bases. Mahtooks deal is reportedly worth $1.15 million.
The Rays must really be high on high school infielder Goeddel, as he received one of the largest signing bonuses on the day at $1.5 million, almost double the recommended bonus for his draft position. The 41st overall pick is a graduate of St. Francis High School in California where he played 3B. Goeddel has the speed and frame for a move to the outfield and could project as a centerfielder. He has a slender frame and could add some pounds to help improve his power numbers.
Like Mahtook, Vanderbilt pitcher Grayson Garvin was also considering returning to school for another season after taking his team to the college world series this past summer. The Rays made Garvin the 39th pick in the draft and he eventually chose to sign with the Rays early last evening. There had been some concern over his medical history which may have delayed the deal, and also accounted for a smaller than expected signing bonus. Garvin signed for just $370, 000, while slot for the 59th pick is $614, 700.