Rays select SS Brayden Taylor in First Round of 2023 MLB First-Year Player Draft; Add SS Adrian Santana and OF Colton Ledbetter to conclude night one

July 10th, 2023

PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Tampa Bay Rays selected shortstop Brayden Taylor from Texas Christian University with the No. 19 pick in the first round of the 2023 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

In Competitive Balance Round A, the Rays selected shortstop Adrian Santana with the No. 31 overall pick and selected outfielder Colton Ledbetter in the second round (No. 55).

Taylor, 21, hit .308/.430/.631 with 15 doubles, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 77 runs and 14 steals in 58 games during his junior season in 2023, earning First Team All-Big 12 and Third Team Baseball America All-American honors. His 23 home runs and 77 runs scored both tied single-season program records, while his 48 career homers broke Royce Huffman’s program record of 44 HR, set in 1999. Taylor was named the 2023 Big 12 Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after going 8-for-16 (.500) with four doubles and three home runs, leading the Horned Frogs to their fourth Big 12 Championship in program history and first College World Series appearance since 2017. As a sophomore in 2022, Taylor hit .314/.454/.576 with 14 doubles, one triple, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 55 runs and 10 steals across 59 games, earning Second Team All-Big 12 honors. He played for the 2022 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team following the season. During his freshman season, he appeared in 58 games, hitting .324/.445/.572 with 11 doubles, four triples, 12 HR, 53 RBI, 54 runs and 15 steals, earning Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year, First Team Perfect Game Freshman All-American and First Team D1Baseball Freshman All-American honors. Following his freshman campaign, he was named a 2021 Cape Cod League All-Star as a member of the Falmouth Commodores. Taylor was ranked as the No. 14 player in this year’s draft by MLB.com, No 15. by Baseball America and No. 24 by FanGraphs.

Santana, a switch-hitting shortstop from Doral Academy (FL), hit .364/.442/.758 with 33 RBI, 18 steals and 11 homers as a senior this past season. He earned 6A-16 District Player of the Year honors and was named the Miami Herald’s Miami-Dade County Player of the Year for Classes 7A-5A for the second straight season. As a junior in 2022, he went .433/.522/.822 with 19 extra-base hits, including four home runs, 26 RBI and 20 walks compared to 15 strikeouts. He was named to the 2022 Perfect Game All-American Classic following the season. The 17-year-old is the first Doral alumnus to be selected in the First-Year Player Draft since Lency Delgado in 2018 (Chicago White Sox) and is currently committed to the University of Miami. Santana was ranked as the No. 38 prospect in this year's draft by MLB.com and No. 39 by Baseball America.

Santana's older brother, Christian, was selected in the 15th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers before going on to pitch at Florida International University.

Ledbetter, 21, hit .320/.452/.574 with 12 doubles, one triple, 12 HR, 52 RBI, 16 steals and 47 walks against 36 strikeouts over 53 games as a junior for Mississippi State, earning ACBA/Rawlings Second Team All-South Region honors. Prior to joining the Bulldogs in Starkville, Ledbetter spent his first two collegiate seasons at Samford University. As a sophomore in 2022, he hit .317 with 16 HR, 57 RBIs, 51 runs, a.407 on-base percentage, a.640 slugging percentage, a 1.047 OPS and a team-leading 67 hits. Following his sophomore season, he was named MVP and earned top prospect honors in the summer New England Collegiate League, batting .365/.464/.574 with 10 doubles, one triple, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 43 runs and 11 steals across 44 games for the Newport Gulls. As a freshman in 2021, he played in 31 games (12 starts) and hit .271 with eight doubles, one triple and 5 RBI.