The 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur (Rule 4) Draft is considered by some to be one of the “strongest and deepest” in years. And it just so happens that the Rays own one of the biggest pool of draft picks in draft history, with 12 of the top 89 picks.
While the Rays will certainly reap a large bounty of good players. It is unclear what the talent will look like when the Rays make their first pick at number 24. Well, according to Keith Law, the answer is “very good.”
Law appeared on ESPN.com’s “Baseball Today” podcast yesterday and at one point discussed what the Yankees might do with pick number 51 considering they gave up their top pick for Rafael Soriano *giggle*…
“This is a loaded draft. This is a deep draft. There are a lot of guys putting out high price tags this year because they recognize it might be the last year of an unfettered bonus system in the MLB draft…A couple of signability guys are going to fall. I can promise you. I can probably name ten guys who I really like as first-rounders that are going to fall because of bonus demands. Five of them will still be there [at pick #51]”
Law believes that at least five first-rounders will fall out of the first-round because of bonus demands. The Rays have three first-round picks (24,31,32). But they also have three more supplemental-round picks (38,41,42) before the Yankees make their first selection at number 51.
So the Rays can potentially draft as many as seven players with first-round talent. But will the Rays be willing to draft those players if their contract demands are deemed too high? We have heard that the Rays have been budgeting for this draft for a while. But that doesn’t mean they unlimited resources.
When the draft does eventually come around, the biggest storyline may be the sheer number of picks. But the more important story will be who the Rays are willing to use those picks on.