Rays pleased with 2017 Draft outcome

June 15th, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG -- Coming away with Brendan McKay in the first round of Major League Baseball's 2017 June Draft set the tone for the Rays.

Two days of selecting players followed McKay's selection on Monday, and everything seemed like icing on the cake after grabbing McKay.

Even Rays manager Kevin Cash weighed in on McKay's selection, and the possibilities that might arise with him.

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"I think it's an exciting pick," Cash said. "I've got enough information from our entire scouting department. They're very, very excited to get him and some of the other guys we've drafted here over the last day or two. But McKay, the pitching and hitting aspect of it, it's going to be fun to kind of watch how that unfolds over this season, next season and how he progresses."

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The Rays rounded out the first day with solid picks. With their compensation A pick (31st overall), the Rays selected Oregon State right-hander Drew Rasmussen, then followed that selection with Michael Mercado (40th overall), a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Westview (Calif.) High School.

The Rays then began Day 2 by selecting a player they didn't think would be there, taking Florida State shortstop Taylor Walls with the 79th pick. And they had a nice surprise with Kentucky right-hander Justin Lewis still available when they made their 11th-round pick to begin Day 3.

"I think it was a really positive outcome overall," said Rob Metzler, Rays director of amateur scouting. "And I think we were able to add talent at the top. The board fell in a way that we were very comfortable with. We were very prepared for the options that were presented to us, and I think we made decisions that we're excited about and really played out throughout the Draft.

"Yesterday we were able to add two good infielders that we like quite a bit, and some arms we liked. And we followed that up today right out of the chute with Justin Lewis in the 11th round. That was an exciting pick."

Third baseman Allen Smoot of the University of San Francisco became the Rays' final selection when they picked him in the 40th round (1,189th overall).

Of the 41 players the Rays selected, 36 were college players. Twenty-four of those were pitchers, with 18 right-handers and six lefties.

"Yes, that probably is a little surprising," Metzler said. "But it was just a function of the way our draft played out."

Metzler said the Rays were optimistic about being able to sign their top-10 picks prior to the July 7 signing deadline.