Paul Singman of The Hardball Times takes a gander at the Rays deep farm system. He attributes the depth to “many high draft picks and good scouting.” And then he proceeds to profile a fourth round pick (Jeremy Hellickson) and tenth round pick (Desmond Jennings). Good scouting? Yep. Two of the team’s “many high draft picks”? Umm, no. In fact, it is only the good scouting in later rounds that has allowed the Rays to go uncriticized for missing so horribly on high picks like Tim Beckham. [The Young Rays]


  • The Rays are one of 11 kazillion million teams interested in reliever Brian Fuentes…Doesn’t really qualify as “under the radar” does it? [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • Usually we talk in terms of opening day payrolls, but Maury Brown provides us with the End-of-Year payrolls. [Fangraphs]
  • Rays Prospects has been profiling the Rays top hitting prospects. [Rays Prospects]
  • Are the Bucs better off without Earnest Graham? [Joe Bucs Fan]




  1. Tom says:

    "Rays to go uncriticized for missing so horribly on high picks like Tim Beckham." [The Young Rays]

    Way to dwell on the negative, Cork. The Rays are not criticized for missing so horribly on high picks because their record on high picks is actually quite good. Price was 2nd in the Cy Young Voting, Longoria and Young were Top 10 in the MVP Voting, and Hamilton was the MVP. Niemann and Upton were also both solid contributors and Baldelli looked like he was going to have a solid career until the injuries hit. The only failures they have had are Townsend and Brazelton. The jury is still out on Beckham.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Not dwelling on anything. The point of the story was the current state of the Rays farm system and the guys you mention are not currently in the minors.

      Besides, my point was simply that if any other team had missed so badly with Beckham, there would be a lot more criticism and a lot more stories. But the Rays do get (a well-deserved) benefit of the doubt. And because they have done so well in other aspects, they have been given a pass for Beckham.

      And yes, the jury is still out on Beckham to a degree. But nobody thinks Beckham has top-pick talent anymore. The Rays are just hoping he can make it to the big leagues now. And that is not good for a position prospect. If you go back and look at players taken in the top-5 or 10, position prospects almost always make it to the big leagues. It is the pitching prospects that have a high rate of failure. Not all highly drafted hitters become all-stars, but they almost all make it to the majors.

  2. Don says:

    Its not so bad they picked Beckham....the "best athlete in the draft"....but they PASSED on Posey... the best baseball player in the draft.....Big difference in building with young players..
    Remember this Paul Singman prediction:
    Jennings: .280 ba, 35+ stolen bases, solid defense...Hum...doubt it...
    Heres a Rays prediction..."we are building for a better future"
    but probably for the Red Sox, Detroit, San D, Yankees ect.

  3. Joe says:

    Tom, here's the problem. Since the Rays never make deadline trades to acquire players or fish for bigger free agents, the draft and especially high end premium draft picks become even more scrutinized. And with more of an organizational need at the Catcher position, it just zings to this day the deficiencies with Beckham.

    I will go one further and I will sure to be criticized, I don't think the Rays get ANY benefit of the doubt. They LIVE for the draft, much more than what a "top end" major league operation should. Do I think they should dabble more in trades and free agency? Sure, but that is their philosophy. It's my neverending anger that the Rays simply just live for the draft and pray that their instruction and development leads to better attrition rates through the minors than that of their competitors. And I contend over a long haul, and not a short sample, that is a DETRIMENT, and not a good thing.

    • Tom says:

      My point was that overall the Rays have done well with high draft picks. The productive picks outweigh the unproductive picks.

      While they do not sign high end free agents, they have had success with lower level free agents: Pena, Benoit, and Iwamura and have also traded well getting key contributors such as Soriano, Garza, Joyce, Bartlett, and Rodriguez. They utilize all options to improve the team except big money free agents.

    • Sarah says:

      Joe, I don't understand whether you have some philosophical aversion to the Rays' approach, or if you think their approach hasn't worked out for them. Either way, however, I have to disagree with you.

      No doubt if the Rays income justified a $150 million payroll they'd rely less on the draft and look for high priced free agents. But they don't have that kind of revenue, so they choose a less expensive approach. Why on earth does this make you angry? The only thing they've done in the past few years that makes me angry is spend $16 million on Pat Burrell.

      For every disappointing high draft pick the Rays have chosen, we can probably name 2 very expensive and even more disappointing free agents signed by a team in NY, Chicago, or Los Angeles. I can't see that throwing money at free agents is ultimately a better long term strategy than relying on draft and player development.


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