The Rays’ 2011 Draft

The Rays will select eleven players before the Tigers choose once in this year’s amateur draft. It seems like Detroit’s at a colossal disadvantage, but the Tigers have shown that teams can draft well without first round selections.

They have spent big on players who price themsleves off of other teams’ draft boards in recent years. Detroit paid up for Rick Porcello and Jacob Turner after other teams shied away from their demands. This year, the Tigers spent $3.45MM on prep third baseman Nick Castellanos, a potential star who slipped out of the first round.

“I don’t think spending has anything to do with it at all,” Tigers executive David Chadd said after locking up Castellanos, Chance Ruffin and Drew Smyly last summer. “You have to take the right players. It comes down to the players, not the money.”

But one National League executive told MLBTR last month that it would be naive to leave money out of the equation. As the Tigers have shown, teams with more draft picks don't necessarily emerge with more talent.

“You’ve got to think about it like what’s your draft budget,” the executive said. "You have a finite amount of money that you can spend on the draft. And you can spend $15MM on 50 picks or you can spend $15MM on 55 picks.”

With ten selections before the beginning of the second round, the Rays will have the chance to infuse their highly-regarded farm system with even more high-upside players.

But like every team, they operate on a budget and in 2010 they allotted $7.15MM for draft bonuses. This year, it would cost $9.1MM for the Rays to spend slot money on the picks they have in the first, supplementary and second rounds alone.* So the picks themselves are not enough to assure the Rays of a strong draft.

“The way you get extra talent in the draft is either having extra picks that you paid slot for or by going over-slot for fewer picks,” the executive said. “But it’s really all about money you spend.”

The Rays will be picking early and often this June, an advantage that will give them more choice than any other team. But to fully take advantage of the many early picks, the team will have to spend more than it did in 2009 or 2010.

*Unless Felipe Lopez signs a major league deal. In that case the figure drops to $9MM. Thanks to MLBTR’s Mike Axisa for the calculations.

72 Responses to The Rays’ 2011 Draft Leave a Reply

  1. Raysfanatic 5 years ago

    Great, just wait, in 2 years or so the rays will be back on top with a farm system full of players ready to step in.

  2. Lunchbox45 5 years ago

    As exciting as having this many early picks is, the Rays aren’t going to take full advantage of it, for obvious financial reasons..

    What having this many picks will do for them though is give them the ability to mix in some safe, slot prices picks and then take some chances on maybe some guys who weren’t going to be picked until a bit later, that way they can get them below slot.

  3. Robert Slye Jr. 5 years ago

    In the first round, maybe the Rays want to intentionally draft a couple players they probably can’t sign so a pick or two will be held over to the next draft? Manipulative of the system? yes, but for a team on a strict budget like the Rays, it might be a good idea for continually replenishing their farm system

    • Not in this deep draft.

      • On second thought, they could draft overslot guys to screw the Red Sox, who have 4 picks in the 1st round and are expecting the Porcellos and Castellanoses to fall to them.
        I still think the Rays won’t do that just because this draft is too deep to pass on.

        • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

          Not to mention picking someone with no intention of signing them is completely irresponsible as it drastically is affecting a young kids life. . . You have to hope teams wouldn’t do things like that.

          • Agreed. I do find the fact that three teams didn’t sign their 1st round draftees in the mediocre 2010 draft and get 1st rounders in the deep 2011 draft to be a bit suspicious. I can’t remember the last time 3 or more teams did that in one draft. But yes, you have to hope teams won’t be so unfair to these young kids.

          • That theory would hold a little more water if they weren’t all such high picks. I imagine the Padres and Brewers really wanted to sign Whitson and Covey, respectively. Loux to the DBacks is a well-known, very different story, of course.

          • 0bsessions 5 years ago

            Despite the kids not being in the MLB, I have to imagine the MLBA would cause a righteous stink over MLB teams doing something like that. Picking a guy with signability concerns for the sake of getting a high pick next year is one thing, a player and agent know going in that’s a possibility. Picking a guy and then basically offering below slot or not negotiating at all just for the sake of stockpiling draft picks later would be incredibly transparent, easy to identify and something the MLBPA would crucify a team for.

    • Teams do this all the time for sure, but this is the kind of year you save up for in terms of available talent. No sense in saving picks if it’s a lesser draft.

    • That’s actually something they have probably done in the last couple of drafts, but doubt they would mess around w/ it this year. What they will do w/ these picks is use them as leverage when discussing deals w a specific draft pic. In other words “well we dont really have to pay you that much because we have 9 other guys that we feel are very good and we dont need to sign you if you are asking for that kind of money.”

  4. Hopefully the Rays pass on some studs due to financial reasons and Alex Anthopolous can swoop in and pounce on them with their plethora of draft picks.

    • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

      Yes because Alex goes for the hyped over priced prospects right

      • bbbman 5 years ago

        He’s had no interest in hyped expensive prospects like Cardona, Hech, Chapman in the past year.

        • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

          So you’re argument that he will take over slot picks is that in the world of international free agency he had interests in some players… your comparing apples and squash.

          Name me an international free agent that you know of that was NOT overhyped or priced??

        • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

          Last draft the only over slot deal worth mentioning was for Dickie Thon Jr..

          Everything else was pretty conservative.. not that AA didn’t have a good draft, he had a great draft.. but because he took a lot of guys without hype and price tags early on like Syndergaard, Wojciechowski and Sanchez.

          • rzepczynski 5 years ago

            the only draft pick that he has that was conservative was deck mcguire…. and im expecting an arrogant reply from you…

          • Sanchez and Wojo were both quite hyped and supposed to be in the mix in round 1. Only Syndergaard was a pick that could be argued was a signability pick, and he’s improved drastically since being picked.

  5. RahZid 5 years ago

    The Rays payroll should be well under $50M this year, down over $22M from last season. Is it unreasonable to think that they could be reallocating at least some of this money ($10M or so) into the draft budget in addition to their normal draft budget?

    The Rays could have a stacked farm system for years to come if they’re will to invest big money in the draft this year.

    • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

      but they spent 9 million last year + their payroll. so if you do that math they should have money to spend double on this years draft. which they should do…. but I won’t hold my breath

    • 0bsessions 5 years ago

      Absolutely agreed. Considering their massive budget drop for the MLB team, if they want the team to succeed going forward, they should really funnel a good chunk into overslotting while they can and get the best possible odds on their massive amount of picks.

      • I think that’s based on the assumption that the 2010 payroll plus 9 million is their year to year budget going forward. There’s a good possibility the Rays overspent and over leveraged themselves last year knowing that they’d have less to spend this year. I remember seeing articles about teams having 3 year long payroll plans to build in overspending one year with planned reductions in the future.

  6. Maybe that’s why their payroll right now is about $30 – $35 mm (counting arbitration figures and minimum salaries)? Last season their opening day payroll was about $72 mil. Friedman did say he’ll cut payroll to less than $60 mil. Still seems plenty money left. So maybe they were planning all along to spend a lot more in this draft.

    • Rahzid beat me to it.

      • RahZid 5 years ago

        Good effort though, I like the way you think. Also, the Rays will probably bring in a 1B/DH type which should boost payroll north of $40M (which is why I was using the conservative $50M number above).

    • slider32 5 years ago

      It seems that once you get near the end of the first round the players picked can cost more than their worth. Most of the great players in the first round come earlier in the round. The Rays might have too many early picks this year if thats possible.

      • BoSoxSam 5 years ago

        ok I’ve been reading all your more recent posts, and…’ve lost me now.

  7. Motor_City_Bombshell 5 years ago

    I’m super excited to see how this all goes down. I’m hoping they sign a good majority of their first and supplemental round selections, they’re looking to have a pretty stacked farm for a pretty long time, while piecing together a solid team right now. Not to mention next year’s draft class projects to be extremely deep. They’re one of the model franchises out there, and it’s a damn shame they can’t get a park built in Tampa because they deserve a park that people actually want to come to and they deserve a good attendance rate.

    • Raysfanatic 5 years ago

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Our stadium is trash.

    • Raysfanatic 5 years ago

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  8. I’m not sure if I understand slot money. How does Felipe Lopez affect that figure?

    • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

      If he gets signed to a major league deal the red sox would get a pick in the comp round.. thus pushing one of tampa’s picks back one spot and therefore less money.

      Slot money itself is just an assigned price of what each draft pick should sign for when taken at a various spot..

      • Nitpicking here, but it doesn’t push only one of tampa’s picks back one spot. It pushs every pick after Lopez back a slot.

    • Motor_City_Bombshell 5 years ago

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Lopez as a Type B free agent was ranked higher than one of Tampa’s Type B free agents, therefore Boston gets a pick before them and their slot price goes down because their selecting a player later than what they were projected to pick before.

    • RahZid 5 years ago

      If Lopez signs a major league deal, the Red Sox would have another pick in the supplemental round. This would push some of Tampa’s picks back a slot, so the slot money would be slightly less for the new slots.

  9. slider32 5 years ago

    First round draft picks can be over valued. In the last few years only 18 star players came out of the 1st round, of those 18, 14 were taken in the first 7 picks. Of those seven only 3 made the world series with their original teams, Price, Longoria, and Beckett. Only Beckett won the series. The quality of your scouting system is more important than getting first round picks. Price and Longoria were picked at the top. I think the Rays may have too many picks this year. They do have a good scouting system, but they might have gotten better players in the Garza trade than what their going to get in the draft. I don’t think they pick in the first seven.

    • It’s never over valued when you’re talking about adding talent. That’s the most important thing a team can do: build through the draft. It opens up so many avenues for your personnel department. So even if they Rays don’t obtain a ‘star’ they’re very likely to find at least 1 player who will impact their team positively.

      • slider32 5 years ago

        That’s true, but the star players like Lincecum can win world series. The player draft to me, is only one thrid of the pie. You must sign good free agents, and make good trades . Luck has some to do with it. The Rays wouldn’t have been that good without Soriano and Benoit last year. Look at the Sox and the Phillies ,clear favorites this year, would not be where they are without trades, and free agents.

        • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 5 years ago

          i know. Its not like Lincecum was drafted in the first round or anything

    • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

      The problem with your analysis is that you compare 1st round picks and teams success.. The worst teams are getting the best picks, Tampa is the only recent team to be pretty lousy then get to the world series.. Does that mean that the nationals essentially wasted their time with all their picks? or that the team just hasn’t improved yet because these players are still so young.. Especially when so many 1st rounders are high school picks, junior college etc.. These players are 18-19 and depending on development and position can’t start to make a mlb contribution for 4-5 years, sometimes longer..

      If you want to properly analyze the effectiveness of 1st round draft picks, you should go back 5-7 years and see the individual success and team success(if you must) of those draft picks…

      • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

        Just so you don’t think I can criticize, with out adding proof

        Lets take a look at the 2005 Draft

        Out of the top 10 drafted, 6 have had major impacts on the mlb level…J.Upton, Zimmerman, Braun, Romero, Tulo, Pelfrey .. Busts include, Maybin, Clement, Gordan and Townsend..

        Also included in the 1st round… Rasmus, Garza, Ellsbury, Volstad, Bruce, McCutchen,

        While the 1st draft pick is obviously not a guarantee… the odds of drafting an impact player are greatly increased during the first round. in comparison to other rounds.

        • slider32 5 years ago

          I’d like to see you compare that to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks for a comparison. There are always good players coming out of those rounds,and they cost less.

          • BoSoxSam 5 years ago

            Yes, you can find good players in every round. The point is the 1st round is probably the only round where the majority of picks can be likely to perform highly in the major leagues. In the later rounds, sometimes there are only two or three guys that will end up playing well.

      • slider32 5 years ago

        The Giants did it with Lincecum and Bumgartner, and ther marlins also did it with Beckett when they beat the Yanks. Both teams used the draft, free agents, and trades to win.

      • slider32 5 years ago

        I did, 2002 Greinke, Fielder, Hamels, and Cain, 2003 Billingsly, 2004 Verlander, 2005 Zimmerman, Braun,Tulo, and Upton, 2006 Longoria,and Lincecum 2000 Gonzo and Utley. The Rays better hope this years draft is not 2003 or 2004. It would be interesting to compare 2nd 3rd and 4th round picks for a comparison.

    • mboss 5 years ago

      Slider, I think you are forgetting a few guys like Verlander, Lincecum. Also the logic is a little flawed because most teams that are picking at the front 7 of the draft are usually bad teams and it takes teams a while to build up and become competitive. The Rays were the exception were everything came together at once.

      Just look at the 1st round of the 2005 draft: Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Braun, Romero, Tulo, McCutchen, Bruce, Garza, Rasmus. That’s 9 impact players from the 1st round…regardless if they went to the WS with their original team. And we really don’t know the impact of all the guys from the drafts from 2006 onward yet. Just look at some of the players from 2007 1st round that are making an impact or about to: Moustakous, Weiters, Bumgardner, Jarod Parker, Heyward, Porcello, Revere.

  10. slider32 5 years ago

    Also Lincecum and Bumgartner were drafted tenth in 06 and 07. The Giants did pretty well with that one.

  11. Tampa Bay Rays will be interesting to watch this draft, for sure.

  12. The Rays may sign Felipe Lopez? When did this happen?

  13. coolstorybro222 5 years ago

    I like they will probably spend as much money on draft picks as the cubs spent on Pena.

    • slider32 5 years ago

      I don’t think that the Yanks who are picking at the end of the first round are going to miss that pick for Soriano. Most of the top teams are picking last so the players can be like second rounders who are paid 1st round money.

  14. BaseballFanatic0707 5 years ago

    This compensation system needs to change.

  15. Beersy 5 years ago

    Seeing the Rays with this many picks and expecting/knowing how much money it will take to sign all of these picks, if they draft ability over signability like they usually do, makes me wonder if baseball should allow there teams to trade draft picks like the other major sports. The Rays are set for a bit of a down year, in my opinion, and being able to trade some of these picks for players that could help them this year may have helped. Now I realize some changes would have to be made to the current draft process for this to work, but I think it would be more beneficial for baseball and it would make their draft a lot more entertaining.

  16. slider32 5 years ago

    The Rays in 2004 picked up Brignac 2nd, Davis 3rd, Hellickson 4th rounds. The Giants picked up three starters in Lincecum 1st #10 in 2006, Cain 2004 1st, and Bumgartner 2007 1st round #10. They are the best at drafting starters with the Rays second in the early rounds.

    • popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 5 years ago

      Hellickson was drafted in 2005, but I agree San Fran has done a great job at making their first round choices count.

  17. slider32 5 years ago

    You don’t want to be the last player picked in the first round.I think, none of them has made it to the big leagues. Adam Wainwright was 29 th in the first round and Cody Rasmus and Carlos Quentin were late first round picks.

  18. slider32 5 years ago

    From looking at the past drafts, you have a good chance of getting a player in the top 10 picks. After that, your chances in chance of getting a player in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds seem to be better than the late first round. Most of the star players were picked in the first 10 picks. Players like Zimmerman, Braun, Tulo, Longoria, Price, Verlander, Billingsly, Mauer, Texiera, Hamilton, Beckett,Grienke,Fielder, Hamels, Gonzo, and Utley.This shows that teams like the Yanks, Sox, and other good teams don’t have a chance at these players since they draft towards the bottom. There scouts must obtain players from the other rounds.

  19. Lunchbox45 5 years ago


  20. imsrs 5 years ago

    who the hell r u to say this? do u live in tampa? do u attend 20+ games a year? do you know the economics of the situation? do u follow this team as passionately as i do?
    u probably answered no to most, if not all of these questions, and if u do live in tampa ur probably one of those freakin yankees that couldnt take the horrible weather in ny so u moved to tampa (ur part of the problem), and u now dedicate ur life to watching/being misinformed/brainwashed by espn or any other large sports network that wants u to think little of this organization and its fans.
    i normally dont comment on this site bc all these mlbsites might as well be but im sick and tired of this CRAP.

  21. slider32 5 years ago

    That’s true! What I’m saying is that 2-10 rounders could turn out to be better players at a cheaper price. The first rounders cost alot more money.

  22. There’s a lot wrong with this post, but it is kind of nice to see a Rays fan getting fired up around here.

  23. slider32 5 years ago

    Cleveland had the worst attendence last year, but Tampa, and the A’s were the worst for good teams. The Jays were bad also.

  24. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    It’s not his fault fans don’t show up your games, man. Maybe you’re the most die-hard of die hards, but the fact of the matter is that the Rays went practically wire to wire last year and in 2008 and still couldn’t sell out a game if their lives depended on it. Bluntly speaking: Tampa Bay doesn’t deserve a franchise that can take a payroll of $60/70 million and churn out a nigh unstoppable player development team if they’re not going to show up to watch them play. It’s embarassing to the sport to see.

  25. Absolutely, you can find value in any round and players have emerged to be stars from deep in the draft. This doesn’t change the fact, however, that first round talent has a higher success rate, and this is what teams are paying for: better odds.

  26. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    At least the Jays and A’s had the good grace to miss the playoffs. It’s a big fat waste when a team wins 96 games (Second highest record in the MLB last year) and manages to pull worse attendance figures than the Diamondbacks. For crying out loud, the Dodgers missed the playoffs last year and still managed to pull almost double the attendance of the Rays. That is outright pathetic.

  27. I live in the area and I agree. Our fanbase is atrocious. Yes, the economy sucks and yes, the stadium location is awful. Neither are good enough excuses to explain attendance below 15,000 for a possible playoff clinching home game(especially when the division was still VERY much up for grabs and every single game mattered), and neither are excuses for the ridiculous lack of knowledge down here. Your average fan in this area whines non stop about how the Rays don’t care about winning because they let Crawford/Pena/Garza and others go. They have absolutely no concept of the economics of MLB and what this team has to do to remain competitive, and they certainly have no clue how lucky they are that the team IS competitive at all. They also don’t realize that the team isn’t cutting payroll to rob the customers of their money, they’re reducing it because they spent money out of their own pockets to try to bring a World Series here and the fans rewarded them by not attending games.

    It’s one thing to have a fanbase that simply doesn’t care, it’s another entirely to have a fanbase that complains about every little thing, has no knowledge of the things they complain about, AND don’t even bother to spend money on the team they complain so vehemently about. Obviously this description is not indicative of everyone down here, but it definitely describes the average fan. Eventually, those of us who are real fans need to wake up and stop defending the “fans” around us, because they’re the #1 reason why the team has payroll issues. If they would show up to games, the team would have the money to spend on players. Period.

  28. Motor_City_Bombshell 5 years ago

    Completely agree.

  29. 0bsessions 5 years ago

    Law suits? CBA holdouts? The threat of another strike? There are any number of things the union could do as it’s in their best interest to protect the rights and interests of their future constituants.

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