The Milwaukee Brewers selected outfielder Corey Ray from the University of Louisville with their first pick (fifth overall) of the First-Year Player Draft. Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Special Assistant to the G.M. Ray Montgomery made the announcement.


Ray, a junior at the University of Louisville, batted .319 with 55 runs, 16 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs, 60 RBI, 44 stolen bases a .396 OBP and a .562 slugging percentage this season. He was previously drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 33rd round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Simeon Career Academy, but chose to enroll in college instead. The left-handed hitter is majoring in exercise science and was scouted by Area Scout Jeff Simpson.

“I’m just thankful and grateful for an opportunity to play for a great organization,” Ray said in a conference call with the media shortly after his name was placed on the board in Secaucus.

On his reaction to hearing his name called, Ray said, “Happy. Relieved. It’s been an exciting year. This is an exciting time in my life.”

Asked where he sees himself fitting in with the organization, Ray said, “I think I’ll fit in as a top-of-the order type of hitter hopefully, somebody who gets the job done. Anything that they need me to do: bunt, hit and run, get on base, steal bases…whatever they need me to do– I will do that. I know there is one question on whether or not I can play center field, but I’m guaranteeing that I will work as hard as I possibly can to be an elite defender in center and hopefully I can play center and do some great things in Milwaukee.”

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Ray, 21, participated in the Jackie Robinson West Little League and the Chicago White Sox Amateur City Elite program growing up.

Ray said his family is happy that he was drafted by a team within driving distance from Chicago. “It’s close to home, but not as close to home as to where distractions are. I’m grateful to be close to home,”

During his tenure at Louisville, he was named 2015 Baseball America Second Team All-America, 2015 NCBWA Second Team All-America, 2015 D1 Baseball Third Team All-America and to the 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. In addition, he was a 2015 All-ACC First Team selection and a member of the 2014 Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team.

“Hard work. Surrounding myself around the right people. It’s been a combination of great leadership and great role models in my dad and my grandfather and the mentors that have mentored me and helped me throughout the years but I think it’s also a combination of luck,” Ray said. “The White Sox Amateur City Elite Team expanded and I was given the opportunity to be on one of those teams and instruction that I got from there and the opportunities that I was given definitely helped me.”

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This marks the fifth time in franchise history that the Brewers have drafted with the fifth overall selection. The other selections at #5 overall included LHP Rick O’Keefe (1975), RHP Ken Henderson (1991), RHP Mark Rogers (2004) and 3B Ryan Braun (2005).

The Brewers have two more draft picks tonight, coming in the second round (#46) and the Competitive Balance Round B (#75 overall).  The Draft will resume tomorrow at 12pm CT with rounds 3-10.  Day three of the Draft will begin at 11am CT with rounds 11-40.

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