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Rays go college heavy on Day 2 of Draft

Southpaws from Duke, UCSB lead Tampa Bay's latest finds
@juanctoribio
June 4, 2019

While the Rays were pleased with how the first night of the Draft went on Monday, with shortstop and first-round pick Greg Jones highlighting the selections, their work didn’t stop there. Tampa Bay had eight selections on Tuesday, the second day of the Draft. The Rays took five pitchers and

While the Rays were pleased with how the first night of the Draft went on Monday, with shortstop and first-round pick Greg Jones highlighting the selections, their work didn’t stop there.

Tampa Bay had eight selections on Tuesday, the second day of the Draft. The Rays took five pitchers and three positions players, and seven were collegiate players.

Draft Tracker | Draft Central

Let’s take a look at the players that Tampa Bay selected in rounds 3-10.

Round 3, 99th overall: Shane Sasaki, OF, 18 years old, Lolani HS (Hawaii), $587,400 slot value

Sasaki is a bit of an unknown and isn’t ranked in the MLB Pipeline Top 200 Draft Prospects, but most scouts consider the outfielder the top prospect out of Hawaii. His best tool is his running ability, which comes in with a 55 grade. He hit .565 as a senior in high school and has considerable power considering his slim 6-foot-0, 165-pound frame. Sasaki has until mid-July to decide whether he wants to sign a professional contract or fulfill his commitment to Cal Poly.

Round 4, 128th overall: Graeme Stinson, LHP, 21 years old, Duke University, $442,900 slot value

This is a high-risk, high-reward pick for the Rays. Stinson was considered one of the best pitching prospects entering the 2019 college season, but a hamstring injury ended his season after five starts. Before that, Stinson saw his fastball dip into the mid 80s, which hurt the effectiveness of his slider, considered by many to be one of the best in the Draft class. MLB Pipeline ranked Stinson 70th overall, but if the 6-foot-5, 250-pound hurler is able to get healthy and figure things out again, this could be a tremendous value pick for the Rays.

Round 5, 158th overall: Ben Brecht, LHP, 21 years old, UC Santa Barbara, $330,100 slot value
Multiple scouts project Brecht to be a No. 4-5 starter at the Major League level because of his control and the deception in his delivery. In 2019, Brecht posted a 10-2 record with a 4.10 ERA and struck out 101 over 90 innings. The 6-foot-7 left-hander walked just 18 in 2019, and he allowed just 44 free passes in three seasons at UC Santa Barbara.

Round 6, 188th overall: Colby White, RHP, 20 years old, Mississippi State University, $255,300 slot value
After two seasons at Pearl River Community College, White transferred to Mississippi State and has been an important piece in the bullpen for the Bulldogs, who will play in the NCAA Super Regionals against Stanford starting Saturday. White projects as a late-inning arm and has showcased a fastball that can reach 98 mph. The right-hander has 45 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings and has allowed just 16 hits, posting a 3.28 ERA.

Round 7, 218th overall: Jake Guenther, 1B, 22 years old, Texas Christian University, $200,100 slot value
Guenther played two seasons at Sacramento City College before transferring to TCU for his junior season. In his lone season with the Horned Frogs, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound first baseman was impressive at the plate, posting a .345/.462/.576 slash line with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that Guenther struck out just 29 times and drew 41 walks while swiping 12 bases. He was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

Round 8, 248th overall: Nathan Wiles, RHP, 20 years old, University of Oklahoma, $165,400 slot value
Over his three years at Oklahoma, Wiles has been one of the most consistent and reliable pitchers in the Big 12. He has logged more than 230 innings during his career, and in 2018 he was named to the All-Big 12 second team. He went 8-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 2019 and saw his strikeouts increase to 78 from 67. Most observers expected Wiles to lean toward signing if he got drafted in the first 10 rounds.

Round 9, 278th overall: Evan McKendry, RHP, 21 years old, University of Miami, $150,800 slot value
McKendry was the Opening Day starter for the Hurricanes, but the right-hander struggled a bit once ACC play started in mid-March. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander finished 7-2 with a 4.41 ERA over 67 1/3 innings. He struck out 72 after punching out 114 as a sophomore in 2018.

Round 10, 308th overall: Jonathan Embry, C, 22 years old, Liberty University, $143,000 slot value
After not playing much in 2017, Embry showed off his ability at the plate in '18, when he finished with an .836 OPS. In '19, Embry took another step in the right direction, finishing with an impressive .312/.454/.538 slash line, with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs.

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.