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Rays take balanced approach to Draft

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays got out of the gate with position players Thursday night during the first night of this year's Draft. Day 2 saw them go for pitching before they went all over the board to finish up the annual event on Saturday.

The Rays had drafted three shortstops, three catchers, three second basemen, three first basemen, three third basemen, four outfielders, 15 right-handed pitchers and six left-handers.

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays got out of the gate with position players Thursday night during the first night of this year's Draft. Day 2 saw them go for pitching before they went all over the board to finish up the annual event on Saturday.

The Rays had drafted three shortstops, three catchers, three second basemen, three first basemen, three third basemen, four outfielders, 15 right-handed pitchers and six left-handers.

Third baseman Joshua Lowe, a prepster from Pope High in Marietta, Ga., was the Rays' first pick (13th overall) of the Draft.

:: Complete 2016 Draft coverage ::

"He has really good physical attributes," Rays scouting director Rob Metzler said. "He's a big, strong athlete. Foot speed and power -- and we think he has good ingredients to progress through our system. Long, long road, but we think he's a good bet to make that journey."

The Rays concluded Day 1 by selecting Ryan Boldt (53rd) and Jake Fraley (77th), outfielders from Nebraska and LSU, respectfully.

"We were very pleased with the outcome [of Thursday] to be able to add Josh Lowe, Ryan Boldt and Jake Fraley," Metzler said. "These are three athletic players that we think can contribute to the organization offensively, defensively. Very, very good athletes."

Rays take another Lowe in Draft

The Rays have struggled over the past several years to develop position players, so going heavy on position players at the top of their Draft addressed that in some fashion.

Pitching is the backbone of the organization, and the Rays got busy restocking their pitching depth on Day 2, using all of their eight selections on pitchers -- one left-hander and seven right-handers.

"We took all pitching [on Day 2]," Metzler said. "It was somewhat random by chance, other than the fact that there were seven pitchers that we really liked when our time came to call players. We were excited. We thought we added some pitchers with starter profiles -- size, good clean arms. We're excited to put them in the system and see what happens."

Selections of note from Day 3 included Brandon Lawson, a right-hander from nearby University of South Florida, and Mississippi State first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, who is the older brother of Joshua Lowe.

Andrew Daschbach, a first baseman from Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, Calf., became the Rays' final selection in the 40th round, ending the Draft on an intriguing note.

Daschbach is a three-sport start and has committed to play baseball at Stanford, which traditionally has been a tough school for Major League Baseball teams to battle for prospects.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays