How The Rays Were Built.

How The Rays Were Built.

Keith Allison - Flickr

Devil Rays

How The Rays Were Built.

As I was listening to talking heads yesterday, they debated the difference between the Red Sox and Rays as it applies to their losing and winning season

Theo Epstein hasn’t hit on any pitchers outside of the 1st 4 rounds.  So I took a look at the Rays roster to see just how the Rays were constructed.  How many Rays starters were taken outside the first 4 rounds?

Let’s start in the outfield.

Center fielder B.J. Upton was the first pick overall in 2002.

Left fielder Desmond Jennings was drafted in the 10th round in 2006

Right fielder Matt Joyce (12th round) was a trade with Detroit.  He was traded for Edwin Jackson - Jackson was acquired by the Rays in a trade with the Dodgers for Danys Baez and Lance Carter in 2006.  Both Baez and Carter were signed as free agents.

Evan LongoriaThis is how the infield was acquired.

Third base man Evan Longoria was drafted by the Rays in the third overall in 2006.

Shortstop Sean Rodriquez (drafted 3rd round) was acquired from the Angels as part of the Scott Kazmir trade in 2009.  Kazmir was a 1st round pick in 2002 by the Mets and was traded for Bartolomé Fortunato & Victor Zambrano (both free agents).

Second base man Ben Zobrist (6th round) was acquired from the Astros in the Aubrey Huff.

First base man Casey Kotchman was a 1st round pick by the Angels in 2001.  He signed as a free agent with the Tampa this offseason.
Utility man Reid Brignac  was a 2nd round in 2004 by the Rays.

Catcher John Jaso was drafted by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2003 draft.

Catcher Kelly Shoppach was a 2nd round pick by the Red Sox in 2001 and traded to Cleveland.

The Indians traded Shoppach for a player to be named later – eventually it was Mitch Talbot who was acquired in the Aubrey Huff trade.

DH Johnny Damon was drafted by the Royals in the 1st in 1992.  He signed with the Rays as a free agent.

David PriceFor starting pitchers.

David Price was drafted by the Rays 1st overall in 2007.

Jeff Niemann was drafted 4th overall by the Rays in  2004.

Wade Davis was drafted in the 3rd round of 2004 by the Rays.

Jeremy Hellickson was drafted by the Rays in the 4th round of 2005.

James Shields was drafted by the Rays in the 16th round of the 2000 draft.

The 5 guys that appeared in the most games this year out of the Rays bullpen are as follows

Joel Peralta - December 17, 2010: Signed as a Free Agent with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kyle Farnsworth was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 47th round of the 1994 amateur draft. He signed as a Free Agent with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cesar Ramos was a 1st round pick in 2005 by the Padres.  He was acquired by the Rays in the Jason Bartlett deal. Bartlett was also drafted by the Padres but traded to the Twins. The Twins traded Bartlett  and Garza to the Rays for Delmon Young, Jason Pridie and Brendan Harris.  Delmon Young was a 1st overall pick by the in 2003.  Pridie was a 2nd round pick by the Rays in 2002 and Harris was purchased from the Reds.

Juan Cruz - Signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1997. February 3, 2011: Signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays.

J.P. Howell was a 1st round by the Royals in 2004. – He signed with the Rays as a free agent.

So I broke down those moves.

B.J. UptonI looked at the 21 most used players.

Four players are 1st round picks by the Rays.  Two of them were first overall.  One was 3rd overall and one was 4th.

  • There is one player from each of the rounds 2, 3, 4, 10, 12, and 16. 
  • 5 players were acquired from trades.  The players traded for were drafted in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 12th.
  • In the process they traded away two first round picks – one of which was 1st overall. They signed 6 free agents, 3 of them are 1st round picks.

So that’s what the Rays are doing right 

They did poorly enough to draft highly for a long period of time.  They have four players drafted in the top 4 spots on their roster and gathered other pieces by trading a 1st overall pick away.  They have 8 first round picks on their roster and 5 more players from rounds 2-4.

So are the Rays really smarter than anyone else?  Sure, their scouting is doing well, but how often does the first overall pick flop?  The Rays keep players cheap until they can’t afford them anymore and then they get draft picks as replacements.  The Rays also aren’t afraid to trade away stars before they hit free agency to replenish their system.  These are reasons that the Rays are successful and their salary is so low.  Of course, it takes the high paid winning teams to make this possible too - These teams need to overpay for players like Victor Zambrano in order to make a pennant run.  What the Rays are doing best is drafting and taking advantage of other teams desperation.  But overall, the ways to sustain success is to sustain failure for a while before.

By Mike Lavery
Friday, 23 Sep 2011

Aubrey Huff, B.J. Upton, Bartolome Fortunato, Ben Zobrist, Boston Red Sox, Brendan Harris, Casey Kotchman, Cesar Ramos, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Danys Baez, David Price, Delmon Young, Desmond Jennings, Detroit Tigers, Edwin Jackson, Evan Longoria, Houston Astros, James Shields, Jason Bartlett, Jason Pridie, Jeff Niemann, Jeremy Hellickson, Joel Peralta, John Jaso, Johnny Damon, Kansas City Royals, Kelly Shoppach, Kyle Farnsworth, Lance Carter, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Garza, Matthew Joyce, Mitch Talbot, New York Mets, Reid Brignac, San Diego Padres, Scott Kazmir, Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays, Theo Epstein, Victor Zambrano, Wade Davis


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