Thanks to the departures of Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, Brad Hawpe and Chad Qualls, Tampa Bay has a ridiculous 12 picks in the first two rounds of the 2011 MLB draft. That's a record.
They also have three picks from 24-32, meaning they stand to pick up more talent than just about any team in recent draft memory.
Unfortunately, that means they also stand to shell out more money than most teams would in an entire draft, all in two rounds.
Still, the position they are in is an enviable one for multiple reasons. Not only are they going to add enough talent to their farm system to likely leap-frog the Royals back into the No. 1 spot, but they're also going to benefit from one of the deepest drafts in major league history.
With 10 of the first 60 picks, the Rays could stand to add numerous high-upside outfielders (Josh Bell, Brandon Nimmo, Derek Fisher, etc), some potential front-of-the-rotation pitchers (Jose Fernandez, Robert Stephenson, Adam McCreery, etc), and even some middle-of-the-lineup bats (Ricky Oropesa, Jason Esposito, Alex Dickerson, etc).
The Rays will also have their pick of some of the most talented athletes in recent memory. They'll most certainly have their eye on Shawon Dunston Jr., one of the fastest runners in the draft, and an exciting player in the mold of Delino DeShields Jr., a top-10 pick last year.
And they'll certainly keep an eye on the wide array of toolsy shortstops that includes Tyler Greene, Phil Evans, Christian Lopes and Javier Baez. The Rays love toolsy infielders, as their misguided selection of 2008 No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham proved.
With the draft still three months away, it's easy to select the Rays as one of the event's big winners.
I've already posted five versions of my mock draft (the most recent can be found here), and with the college and high school seasons heating up, it's time for a new version, starting with an old familiar pick at No. 1.
In addition, each active link will take you to my scouting report of each player over at ProDraftCentral.com.
1) PIT- Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
2) SEA- Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA
3) ARI- Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia
4) BAL- Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt
5) KC- Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner-Edgerton HS (CA)
6) WAS- Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas
7) ARI- George Springer, OF, Connecticut
8) CLE- Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, South Carolina
9) CHC- Matt Purke, LHP, Texas Christian
10) SD- Andrew Susac, C, Oregon State (compensation for Karsten Whitson)
11) HOU- Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow HS (OK)
12) MIL- Daniel Norris, RHP, Science Hill HS (TN)
13) NYM- Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde Academy (FL)
14) FLA- Henry Owens, LHP, Edison HS (CA)
15) MIL- Matt Barnes, RHP, Connecticut (compensation for Dylan Covey)
16) LAD- Dillon Howard, RHP, Searcy HS (AR)
17) LAA- Dillon Maples, RHP, Pinecrest HS (NC)
18) OAK- Josh Bell, OF, Jesuit College Prep (TX)
19) BOS- Alex Meyer, RHP, Kentucky
20) COL- Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso HS (OK)
21) TOR- Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech
22) STL- John Stilson, RHP, Texas A&M
23) WAS- Preston Tucker, 1B, Florida (compensation for Adam Dunn)
24) TB- Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Spring Valley HS (SC) (compensation for Carl Crawford)
25) SD- Mikie Mahtook, OF, Lousiana State
26) BOS- Nicky Delmonico, C, Farragut HS (TN) (compensation for Adrian Beltre)
27) CIN- Charlie Tilson, OF, New Trier HS (IL)
28) ATL- Dante Bichette Jr., 3B, Orangewood Christian HS (CA)
29) SF- Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA
30) MIN- Kyle Winkler, RHP, Texas Christian
31) TB- Jose Fernandez, RHP, Alonso HS (FL) (compensation for Rafael Soriano)
32) TB- Javier Baez, 3B/SS, Arlington Country Day HS (FL)
33) TEX- C.J. Cron, C, Utah (compensation for Cliff Lee)
Last year the Pirates spent a record $11.9 million in the draft. With three first-round picks, and seven supplemental first-rounders, how much money will the Rays spend in the 2011 MLB Draft?
34) WAS- Tyler Beede, RHP, Lawrence Academy (MA)
35) TOR- Christian Lopes, SS, Edison HS (CA)
36) BOS- Jack Armstrong Jr., RHP, Vanderbilt
37) TEX- Jason Esposito, 3B, Vanderbilt
38) TB- Shawon Dunston Jr., OF, Valley Christian HS (CA)
39) PHI- Tyler Greene, SS, West Boca HS (FL)
40) BOS- Tony Zych, RHP, Louisville
41) TB- Brandon Nimmo, OF, East HS (WY)
42) TB- Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii
43) ARI- Peter O’Brien, C, Bethune-Cookman
44) NYM- Robert Stephenson, RHP, Alhambra HS (CA)
45) COL- Dixon Anderson, RHP, California
46) TOR- Michael Kelly, RHP, West Boca HS (FL)
47) CHW- Anthony Meo, RHP, Coastal Carolina
48) SD- Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland HS (NM)
49) SF- Joe Panik, SS, St. John’s
50) MIN- Phil Evans, SS, LaCosta Canyon HS (CA)
51) NYY- Austin Wood, RHP, Southern California
52) TB- Jake Cave, OF, Kecoughtan HS (VA)
53) TOR- Derek Fisher, OF, Cedar Crest HS (PA)
54) SD- Bryan Brickhouse, RHP, The Woodlands HS (TX)
55) MIN- Sam Gaviglio, RHP, Oregon State
56) TB- Zach Cone, OF, Georgia
57) TOR- Tyler Anderson, LHP, Oregon
58) SD- Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina
59) TB- Adam McCreery, LHP, Bonita HS (CA)
60) TB- Ricky Oropesa, 1B, Southern California