The Rays are known for great young players and one of the top farm systems in baseball. The Durham Bulls, Montgomery Biscuits, and Charlotte Stone Crabs are solid teams year in and year out. In order for the front office to build their minor league teams, they need to find young stars in the MLB draft. We’re going to go through the best draft picks in the club’s history.
With the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, the Rays selected David Price out of Vanderbilt University. He made an impact in the big leagues immediately as he made his MLB debut on September 14, 2008 and helped lead the Rays to their first ever World Series appearance that same year. He was the Rays’ ace for the next 6 seasons before he was traded to the Tigers for Drew Smyly and the current Tampa Bay shortstop, Willy Adames.
The Rays star 3rd baseman, Evan Longoria was picked with the 3rd overall pick in the 2006 MLB draft. The Long Beach State alum was called the ”best overall hitter” in the draft that year and showed his abilities immediately as he hit .272 with 27 homers and won the AL Rookie of the year in 2008. He would play 10 seasons with Tampa and arguably become the best player to put on the uniform as he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 3 times. He would also attend 3 All-Star games and win 3 Gold Gloves with the Rays.
The Rays’ first overall pick in 1999 would never put on a uniform with the big league club, but he had a very impressive career nonetheless. His name is Josh Hamilton. He struggled with addiction during his time in Tampa and actually left the sport for a time after the 2003 season. He returned to baseball in 2007 and played 9 seasons with 3 different organizations. He was selected for the AL All-Star team 5 years in a row and was even awarded the AL MVP in 2010 when he hit .359 with 32 homeruns.
Last but not least, Blake Snell was selected by the Rays with their 52nd overall pick in 2011. He made his MLB debut against the Yankees in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. He has a career ERA of 3.24 and won the AL Cy Young in 2018. He is currently one of the top 3 pitchers in a scary Rays’ rotation featuring Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton.