Major League Baseball’s Rule 4 draft is next Monday and the Rays have 6 of the top 98 picks. Jon Heyman weighs in with his mock first-round…
17. Tampa Bay Rays
A.J. Cole, RHP, Oviedo HS (Fla.)
Big high school arm has fallen maybe a little. The Rays like young arms with upside.
31. Tampa Bay Rays
Delino DeShields Jr., OF, Woodward Academy (Ga.)
Perhaps the best speed in the draft along with LeVon Washington (who they failed to sign last year and is back in), DeShields definitely has the breeding as the son of former big leaguer Delino DeShields. “I’d take him with a top 10 pick,” says one scout. Though others aren’t as convinced about his hitting. The Rays like high school players and speed, so he fits the Rays preferences for young players with upside.
Cole is a name we are hearing a lot for the 17th pick. Maybe they are on to something. Or maybe nobody wants to come up with an original idea.
Here is Keith Law’s scouting report on Cole (with video)…
AJ Cole is one of the most projectable pitchers of the top high school arms in this year’s draft, lacking the now stuff of Jameson Taillon or Karsten Whitson but offering the potential of bigger velocities and a better breaking ball down the road because of his frame and the way his arm works.
As for DeShields, this is the first time we have heard his name associated with the Rays, but he does fit the mold that the front office likes.
Here is Law’s scouting report on DeShields…
Delino DeShields Jr. looks little like his father physically but has inherited a good amount of his dad’s baseball talent. DeShields (the younger) is built like a running back and committed to LSU to fill that role, and if he were taller than his listed 5-foot-8, I imagine he’d be a consensus first-round pick. He has an incredibly simple, quiet swing, very short to the ball, with power from his upper-body strength; he has the swing path to hit for some power but his finish is restricted and he may not get to it when swinging wood. He’s one of the fastest runners in this draft, on part with Cal State Fullerton’s Gary Brown, and should be a plus defender in center with an average arm. The major knocks on DeShields are his height and build, both unusual for a position player, and his dedication to baseball, as I’ve heard from several scouts that earlier in the spring, he would mail in at bats or entire games and didn’t give observers any impression that he wanted to play baseball rather than football.