A few days ago we ran a post on the 2006 Major League Baseball amateur draft. Needless to say the baseball draft receives far less attention than than say the NFL draft. As a result, their are very few mock drafts to be found. Quite frankly we are not big fans of mock drafts, especially if your team is picking #23 (as the Bucs did recently). Too many things can happen in the first 22 picks. In all the mock NFL drafts, I don’t think a single one got the Bucs pick correct and only a couple said the they would pick an offensive lineman. Well, with the Devil Rays picking third, the predictions are likely to be a bit more accurate.
The consensus seems to indicate that the Rays will take a pitcher. More specifically, they are leaning towards a college pitcher, which the “experts” say is the deepest part of the draft. The Rays’ brass have indicated that they will not draft for need at the Major League level, but rather, they will take the “best player available”. Every mock we have been able to locate has Tampa taking University of Houston right hander Brad Lincoln. This includes SI.com, milb.com, and Prospect Insider. Word on the street (by street we mean the information superhighway) is that Lincoln is not ideal size for a righty, but that he has the best stuff in the draft. There are a couple of other pitchers that have more potential, but the belief is that Lincoln has already filled out his frame and won’t get any bigger or stronger. An interesting side note on Lincoln is that he would probably be a high draft pick as a first baseman if he wasn’t such a good pitcher. Some have suggested that he could DH on days he does not pitch.
Apparently Tampa has narrowed their list to 5 potential picks. This list includes Lincoln, LHP Andrew Miller, 2B/3B Evan Longoria, RHP Tim Lincecum, and RHP Brandon Morrow.
One thing that could complicate the pick for the Devil Rays is a former draft pick. Andrew Miller who was the 3rd round pick of the Rays in 2003, but never signed, is expected to be the top by the Kansas City Royals. However, signability, which often effects status in the MLB draft could lead the Royals to take Lincoln as their second choice. If that is the case, the Rockies would likely take Miller with the 2nd pick who are said to be less worried about financial matters and that would leave the Devil Rays with Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives. What was that? Ohhhhh. Our bad, it would be 2b/3b Evan Longoria from Long Beach State, the top rated hitter in the draft.
At this point we have to assume that Lincoln will be available and will be picked by the Rays. One nice thing about Lincoln and the belief that he has already reached potential, is that he would be the quickest player to the majors. When could we expect to see Lincoln in a Devil Rays uniform. Our guess would be 2007 Spring Training and then sometime late in 2007 for his regular season call-up assuming he doesn’t need shoulder surgery like the team’s last two first round picks.