Rays host second-round pick at Trop
Diekroeger deciding between Majors and Stanford
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays hosted Kenny Diekroeger, their second-round pick from the recently-completed First-Year Player Draft, on Sunday morning at Tropicana Field.
Diekroeger worked out wearing a Rays uniform with his name stitched on the back; accompanying him were his father, his uncle and his little brother.
Diekroeger is an athletic power-hitting shortstop with nice size (6-foot-2, 190 pounds). He hit .586 with four home runs and 20 RBIs his senior season at Menlo High School (Atherton, Calif.). He has committed to play baseball at Stanford, and prior to the Draft, he said that unless he was offered a substantial bonus, he would not sign to play professionally.
"The colleges bring guys in on recruiting trips, show them the campuses and everything," Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said. "He'll go down tomorrow to see our Spring Training facility [in Port Charlotte, Fla.] and everything. And then he'll have pretty good information when he has to make that decision."
A lot of clubs won't draft a player who has committed to Stanford because it is a top-ranked school with a high tuition, which makes it tough to be competitive when trying to sign the player. Nevertheless, the Rays drafted Diekroeger.
"We're just doing our due diligence," Harrison said. "We took this guy. We understood that he had the commitment to Stanford. Oftentimes, clubs shy away from that. We decided that we liked the ability enough that we weren't going to shy away from it. We scouted him very well in the spring. Our area guy, Brian Morrison, has established a tremendous relationship with the family."
Diekroeger fielded ground balls hit by infield coach Tom Foley, who also could be seen passing on some of his wisdom to the youngster. And Diekroeger seemed to be enjoying himself.
"Playing at Tropicana Field by myself is pretty cool," said Diekroeger, who has followed the Rays. "I watched their playoff run last year, always loved Evan Longoria. It's just a great organization, the way they draft all their guys and bring them up."
Rays manager Joe Maddon watched Diekroeger work out while talking to Diekroeger's father and uncle.
"Great size, great body to grow into, a lot of smooth actions at shortstop, nice arm, nice kid, too," Maddon said. "Really an interesting young man. [Executive vice president of baseball operations] Andrew [Friedman] told me a little bit about him. I know he's interested in going to Stanford -- great program. I know Coach [Mark] Marcus out there, but hopefully he'll become a Ray."
Diekroeger is currently processing all the information before making his decision.
"It's two great options," Diekroeger said. "A person would be lucky to have either one. I'm still trying to figure it all out. I don't know which way I'm leaning."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.