Luke Bailey Could Be Steal of the Draft

August 20, 2009 at 11:54 pm Leave a comment

Luke Bailey
ESPN photo

The Tampa Bay Rays failed to sign both of their first two picks (Levon Washington and Kenny Diekroeger) and they are catching a ton of heat from the media and are appearing on a lot of “worst draft of 2009” lists. Do they deserve the bad press? Maybe. But their 4th round pick may help negate the loss of not signing their top two picks.

The Rays signed 4th round selection catcher Luke Bailey late last Friday night for $750,000 and prying him from a firm commitment to Auburn. Bailey was considered a 1st round talent until he injured his throwing elbow following his coach’s request to pitch in relief. He had to undergo Tommy John surgery and it, coupled with his strong commitment to Auburn, scared teams away from taking him until the Rays took him with the 139th selection.

Here is a scouting report of Bailey from Keith Law of ESPN:

Before the injury, Bailey had a plus-plus arm, with arm strength, a quick release, and great accuracy. He has a strong catcher’s body and shows good energy behind the plate. As a hitter, he has good bat speed but gets on his front foot early and slashes at the ball, so the power potential in his body isn’t realized yet. He also was one of the best-regarded kids in this draft for his character and — yes, people notice this stuff — his unfailing politeness.

The consensus I get from reading scouting reports on Bailey is that he shouldn’t have a problem staying behind the plate but if he had to move off the position he has the arm for third base and right field and is athletic enough to possibly move over to second base, but that is only if he is forced off of catcher. Oh, and his bat has the potential to be a top 5 bat at the catcher position.

Only time will tell but I believe the Rays got their catcher of the future and possibly the steal of the 2009 amateur draft.

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