Going into the draft the Rays obviously wanted to satisfy a craving for power hitting. High school power more specifically. With the 17th pick overall the Ray selected Josh Sale, from Bishop Blanchet high school in Seattle. Next with the 31st pick the Rays selected Justin O’Connor from Cowan High School in Muncie. With the 42nd pick the Rays opted, again, for another High School kid, Drew Vettleson from Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale Washington.
Josh Sale features plus power while suiting average about everywhere else. The 6”1 215 pound teenager bats left-handed and is touted by Baseball America to have tremendous power, projecting him to be capable of hitting 30 homerun seasons in the near future. It is right now unclear where Sale will play because of his average arm strength however the Rays have not mentioned any change in position for their young power hitter. Sale was committed to play college ball at Gonzaga however he does not see himself “going to school”. I have a tingling sensation in me that says he will opt for the large signing bonus he will be entitled to.
The Rays second-pick, Justin O’Connor features an electric arm that can deliver speeds close to 95 MPH off the mound. However, he is not a pitcher. O’Connor, 18, was drafted as a catcher by the Rays. Although he has little experience behind the plate, Freidman-the Rays GM- is confident O’Connor will morph into a plus defensive catcher, with his arm being his ultimate means of stopping running games. At eighteen O’Connor has plenty of time to adjust to his new position.
Drew Vettleson posses a rare mind that can use both sides of his body well enough to be able to throw with both his right and lefts arms. He is ambidextrous! However, Vettleson has expressed reluctance of continuing this practise into the next level. Regardless, Vettleson is another 18 year-old who is best suited in the outfield. He showcases average power and good contact numbers at the high school level. Vettleson is signed to play for Oregon State next year, and he may stick to that commitment.
Overall, the Rays conducted a solid draft, opting for cheaper high school talent. Despite this, the Rays were successful as they nabbed the top three of eight high school position players in this year’s draft.
Further analysis to come,
About the Author
Written by Charlie Crabb
Charlie Crabb is currently studying journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Crabb is also a pitcher for an elite baseball travel team known as the Ottawa Knights, who play -with success- in tournaments all over North America. His current goals are to graduate and play ball at a professional level.