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Rays strike balance on second day of MLB Draft

The Rays strike a balance between high school and college, infield and pitchers in draft.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays made eight picks in the second session of the MLB draft Friday. Their choices included balance: Four high school players and four college prospects were taken; in addition, four picks were pitchers and four were position players.

R.J. Harrison, Tampa Bay’s director of scouting, spent some time during the Rays’ game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night at Tropicana Field to offer insight into each second-day selection. Here is what he had to say.
 
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Thomas Milone, CF, Masuk (Conn.) High School (third round, 97th overall)
 
Harrison: “He’s an athletic, above-average runner. A strong kid. … I think that we should see improvement by leaps and bounds. But he’s got good athletic skills. … He’s a strong kid. We watched him up there. We worked him out up there this spring. He’s got good pull power.”
 
Kean Wong, 2B, Waiakea (Hawaii) High School (fourth round, 128th overall)
 
Harrison: “A lot of characteristics of Kolten (brother, a St. Louis Cardinals prospect). He’s a little bigger and stronger. Probably not quite the runner Kolten was or is. But (he’s) a guy that we think really doesn’t have any real holes. He’s a good hard-lined drive guy. Average runner. He has played all over the field. We like him best at second base, and that’s what we’re going to do with him.”
 
Johnny Field, 2B, Arizona (fifth round, 158th overall)
 
Harrison: “He played center field at the University of Arizona. Another kid that we have a lot of history with. He’s a Las Vegas kid. … He was one of the leaders of that team that won a national championship last year at U of A. tough kid. … He has played a little bit of second base. We’re going to do some work with him at second base this summer.”

Stephen Woods, RHP, Half Hollow Hills East (N.Y.) High School (sixth round, 188th overall)

Harrison: “A right-handed pitcher from Long Island. I haven’t seen this kid. We had about three guys in the room who saw him. … We think this kid is a good high school starting pitching prospect. Fastball now averages up to 93 mph on the top end, and (he has) an above-average curveball.”
 
Tyler Young, 3B, Louisville (seventh round, 218th overall)

Harrison: “An above-average runner. We like his bat. We like his legs. He’ll play third base. We’ll probably move him around and give him some work at second base. He’s a good athlete and a good college bat.”
 
Roel Ramirez, RHP, United South (Texas) High School (eighth round, 248th overall)
 
Harrison: “I’ve just seen him in a workout. He’s from down on the border in Laredo. (Scout) Pat Murphy, our area guy there, started talking about him last year. He ran into him. He was scouting the eligible guys from last year’s draft. He’s excited about him. He has down a lot of work on him. He has driven a lot of miles and spent a lot of time down along the border seeing this kid. … He’s a sinker, slider-type starting pitching prospect.”
 
Austin Pruitt, RHP, Houston (ninth round, 278th overall)
 
Harrison: “An above-average curveball. The curveball is an out pitch.”
 
Aaron Griffin, RHP, Loyola Marymount (10th round, 308th overall)

Harrison: “A Friday starter at LMU. He has had a good college career. Likely, a starter early in his career in the minor leagues, and we’ll see what happens from there. He’s a tall, rangy guy who creates a pretty tough angle on right-handed hitters.”

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.