FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pitcher Ryne Stanek had to wait through three stressful hours of the Major League Baseball Draft on Thursday night.
But a day later, Stanek had come to grips with his unexpected slide.
"It's a little disappointing to slide," Stanek said. "But where I fell to is a good spot. I can't really complain."
Stanek was finally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 29th pick in the first round. He entered the draft rated as a top 15 prospect by most prognosticators, but watched at his apartment as pitcher after pitcher were selected ahead of him through most of the first round.
Stanek was the 13th pitcher taken in the draft.
"There is the competitor in me that's like, 'I am as good or better than some people,'" Stanek said of the other pitchers picked. "But it's what the organizations chose and wanted and I have to go out there and prove why I belong and why I should have been taken early. But it's up to me now."
Stanek was selected 70 picks higher than in 2010, when the Seattle Mariners took him in the third round with the 99th pick. He turned down an $800,000 signing bonus to attend Arkansas, where he earned All-America honors as a junior after going 10-2 with a 1.39 ERA.
The move still will prove to be a wise financial decision for Stanek despite Thursday's slide.
The slot value for the 29th pick calls for a $1.758 million signing bonus, according to Baseball America.
"I made an investment in myself coming to school and playing here, and it feels good to see a pretty nice return on that investment," Stanek said.
Stanek said he's still waiting to find out from the Rays where he'll begin his professional career. The Rays have a reputation for developing pitchers into MLB players, which is good news for the right-hander. He spoke with Tampa Bay officials shortly after being selected and said the franchise believes he can move through the system fast.
"They feel like I will be able to contribute pretty quickly and help their team win," Stanek said. "They felt like I was an advanced college arm so I should be able to move pretty quickly. So that's a good thing."
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau