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Rays select two-way star with their first-round draft pick

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The Tampa Bay Rays might have been divided on whether to augment their pitching or their hitting in the Major League Draft.

As it turned out, they did both.

The Rays drafted Josh Lowe, who was considered one of the best two-way players in the draft, with their 13th overall pick. Lowe, from Marietta, Ga., plays third base and pitches. The Rays will look at him, at least initially, as an infielder.

“I am excited if the organization thinks I can help them best as a third baseman and help them win,” Lowe said. “I know I will work as hard as I possibly can to be the best third baseman in the entire organization and the league, eventually. If that is where they think I can help them win and bring championships to them, then I will do that.”

The Rays say that Lowe might have gone as high as No. 5 in the draft.

“We really like his athleticism,” president of baseball operations Matt Silverman said. “We really like the power. The profile is one that we think can have success. You have to have patience with high school players, it is a long development path, but we think he has the ingredients and we think he has the desire and ambition to go out there and compete and fulfill his major league dreams.”

In the second round, the Rays drafted outfielder Ryan Boldt, a junior out of Nebraska. Ryan hit .288 with 22 multi-hit games.

With their 77th pick, the Rays took LSU outfielder Jake Fraley, who hit .321 with 26 stolen bases. He is considered a center fielder.

Lowe reportedly has plus raw power, plus speed and a plus arm. He was named Georgia’s 2015-16 Gatorade Player of the Year after carrying Pope High School to the 6-A finals. As a senior, he batted .391 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI. On the mound, his fastball was clocked in the mid-90s and he recorded six saves for the Greyhounds. Lowe, who runs a 6.5-second 60-yard dash, signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Florida State University.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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