The Tampa Bay Rays capped the final day of the 2020 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by selecting three pitchers — LHP Ian Seymour, and right-handers Hunter Barnhart and Jeff Hakanson — and shortstop Tanner Murray.
Senior Director of Amateur Scouting Rob Metzler told Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) that he was pleased with the overall outcome.
I thought it was a great outcome. These were players that across the board we think are talented prospects. They have the physical ability, the mental ability, the makeup, aptitude to compete their way through our system, and have impactful roles.— Rob Metzler
As with yesterday, let’s break down Tampa Bay’s four picks.
Like Nick Bitsko before him (and likely many other amateur players) in the 2020 draft class, Seymour was hurt by COVID-19 in terms of his draft position. The lefthander went 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA and an 8.0 K/BB across 20-1/3 pre-pandemic innings. In his final start, Seymour punched out 14 batters (a school record for an ACC game) against Georgia Tech. All this after a solid showing in the Cape Cod League in 2019 where he posted a 6.5 K/BB across 25-1/3 innings.
The left-hander boasts an average 94 mph fastball that tops out at 96 mph and a plus changeup. He is also developing a slider and a cutter.
Seymour switched from a two-seam to a four-seam fastball in the Cape Cod League, which he attributes to an increase in velocity.
I was able to take the fall off at school because I threw that whole summer. With my strength coach at school, and I’m from Massachusetts so I work with Cressey Sports Performance up here. We came up with a program for weightlifting, a lot of explosive conditioning type stuff.— Ian Seymour
Barnhart, the 96th overall pick, showed tremendous growth this season prior to the pandemic, with an increase of his fastball velocity to 96 mph while striking out 18 across his first 11 innings of work. The southpaw also boasts an impressive curveball and a changeup, both of which are plus pitches. Barnhart felt his velocity jumped in part due to his commitment to baseball.
The 6’2″ and 195-pound right-hander had the fifth-best control among high school pitchers according to MLB.com.
The 6’2″ 170-pound shortstop wasn’t drafted out of high school and became a walk-on to start his collegiate career. In his time at UC Davis, Murray hit .342 hitter with three home runs in a home ballpark that was 410 feet to centerfield and 385 feet to the power alleys. Scouts believe that he will accrue additional power with a turn to professional baseball.
Murray slashed .310 BA/.372 OBP/.535 SLG/.907 OPS over 16 games before the pandemic, with one home run. In 2019, he hit .364 across 64 games at UC Davis. Although he had a tough summer in the Cape Cod League, hitting .211, Murray dramatically improved his batting average in the postseason, hitting .375.
With their sixth and final pick of the 2020 draft (the 155th pick overall) the Rays selected Hakanson a local product who went to Jesuit High School in Tampa. The righty was off to a great start as UCF’s closer prior to the pandemic, striking out 20, and allowing just one walk and one hit over 8-1/3 scoreless frames. Hakanson earned saves in six of his seven outings, all of which were scoreless.
Hakanson watched the Rays as a kid and told Solondz how excited he is by the selection.
It’s just incredible. There’s no way to put it into words. Just going to Rays game as a kid, just hoping one day I could be out there.— Jeff Hakanson
The right-hander boasts a 94-97 mph fastball and a power slider. He is also developing a two-seam heater and a better changeup. His herky-jerky delivery — which adds deception — paired with a high spin rate makes it difficult for batters to barrel up Hakanson.