Rays Draft Three Collegiate Talents to Lead Off Day Two
Recapping the Rays’ third- through fifth-round picks.
The Rays popped University of Maryland second baseman Brandon Lowe to begin the second day. It’s unusual to see true second basemen taken early—Lowe was, in fact, the second of this class off the board—because manning the keystone in college or high school suggests a lack of athleticism or arm strength. While Lowe’s defense is indeed questionable, the good news is his bat could atone for it. His hit tool is regarded as potentially solid-average (perhaps a little more) and he has well-above-average strike-zone management. Of course his offensive prowess will have to translate to pro ball for him to make it.
Dallas Baptist University’s Brandon Koch became the first pitcher drafted by the Rays in 2015. He’s a shortish, thick right-hander with two high-quality offerings: a nasty slider and a fastball that can touch the mid-90s. Koch’s delivery isn’t cut out for starting—his head jerks, he lands on a stiff front leg, his arm recoils, he tends to fall off to the first-base side, and so on—meaning his future is in relief. Should all go well, he could pitch in a high-leverage role in a few years.
The Rays returned to the collegiate ranks in the fifth, nabbing University of Virginia outfielder Joe McCarthy. Because he profiles as a left fielder, the pressure is on his bat. The good news is that might not be a problem; McCarthy has the potential for an above-average hit tool and has a grasp on the strike zone. The bad news is he’s yet to tap into the power potential gifted to him by his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame—oh, and that he underwent back surgery earlier in the year, further complicating matters.