Already blessed with a ridiculous farm system, the Tampa Bay Rays had a very successful first night of the 2019 MLB Draft. With four picks on Monday, the team snagged three pitchers and a lightning-fast infielder. Many of them look to be a few years away from making an MLB impact, but the Rays don’t mind with how deep their system is.
22nd Overall – SS Greg Jones – UNC Wilmington
The Rays used their first pick of 2019 to draft Greg Jones, a shortstop out of UNC Wilmington. Some may see this as a bit of a reach since Jones was the 48th-ranked draft prospect on MLB.com. However, he has elite speed (graded 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale) and projects to be a decent hitter. He slashed .341/.491/.543 with five homers, nine triples, 42 stolen bases, and 70 runs at the collegiate level this season.
36th Overall – RHP J.J. Goss – Cypress Ranch HS
Next, Tampa Bay went for a high-school arm at 36th overall: right-hander J.J. Goss out of Cypress Ranch. The 6-foot-3 18-year-old has a great frame that should fill out nicely as he progresses through the minor-league system. He can touch the mid-90s on his fastball and throws a strong slider. As Goss continues to develop his off-speed pitches and command, he projects as a solid back-end rotation piece.
40th Overall – RHP Seth Johnson – Campbell University
With the 40th overall selection, the team went back to the collegiate ranks to draft right-handed pitcher Seth Johnson of Campbell University. However, he’s definitely still a raw project; this was his first full season as a pitcher after some time as a junior-college shortstop. The 6-foot-1 flamethrower touches 98 miles per hour with his fastball alongside a decent slider, but he’s still working on his other secondary pitches, hence his high ERA (4.61) and walk rate (4.1 BB/9) this season.
61st Overall – LHP John Doxakis – Texas A&M
Finally, the Rays closed their night by taking John Doxakis, a left-handed pitcher out of Texas A&M. The 6-foot-4 junior was very impressive on the stat sheet this season with a 2.06 ERA and 9.9 K/9 across 104.2 innings of work. His fastball usually sits in the low-90s but he has a solid slider and above-average command that allows him to attack hitters. There’s some concern around his overall delivery and, combined with his limited arsenal, some scouts project him as a reliever at the next level.