Tampa Bay Rays Select Casey Gillaspie 20th Overall in 2014 MLB Draft


Mar 31, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays manager

Joe Maddon

(70) smiles in the dugout against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays selected first baseman Casey Gillaspie out of Wichita State with the 20th overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.

Gillaspie is a switch-hitter who has good power from both sides and is projected to be a middle of the order hitter.

One scout, according to MLB, said that he’s one of the best switch-hitters he’s seen in years, saying he has the chance to be “as good as Lance Berkman or Mark Teixeira.”

While Gillaspie doesn’t have great speed, which isn’t surprising for a first baseman, he has a very good glove. He stands 6’4 and weighs 238 lbs.

In 59 games in 2014, he hit .389 with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs while drawing 58 walks, which led the nation. He had more extra-base hits (31) than strikeouts (28).

Due to Gillaspie’s time in college, he should advance quickly in the Rays’ minor league system and make it to the big leagues sooner, rather than later, in large part due to his impressive bat.

Wichita State assistant coach Brent Kemnitz says Gillaspie might be the best hitter in school history.

“This is my 36th year here, and I don’t think it’s crazy to say he’s the best hitter we’ve had here,” Kemnitz said. “Obviously we’ve had guys like Joe Carter and Phil Stephenson and Russ Morman in the early years, then Casey Blake and Pat Magness, and more recently [older brother] Conor [Gillaspie] and Andy Dirks. That’s a lot of guys who’ve been great here. But when you talk about the year Casey has had this year with the toned-down bats, he might be the best.”

Over a three-year collegiate career, Gillaspie hit .320 with 34 home runs and 128 RBIs. He walked 154 times and struck out on only 106 occasions in 184 career games for the Shockers.

The Rays farm system has slowly begun to deplete in recent years and was in serious need of offensive talent but the selection of Gillaspie will help qualm those fears.

Gillaspie can be followed on Twitter here. The Rays and Gillaspie have until July 18 to reach a deal.