In 2009, the Rangers failed to sign their first-round pick, Matt Purke. In 2010, the Rangers wound up signing an extra first-rounder. The club announced it has agreed to terms with righthander Barret Loux, a free agent who was Arizona's first-round pick this year out of Texas A&M, and ESPN is reporting a $312,000 bonus, which Baseball America has confirmed.
That's considerably less than Loux would have gotten if he'd come to terms with Arizona; slot for the sixth pick, Arizona's spot, was $2.178 million. The Diamondbacks drafted the first-team All-American there, in part, because he had agreed to a below-slot bonus of $2 million, but Loux failed a post-draft physical. He had elbow surgery during his Texas A&M career, and there were rumblings of other physical concerns from area scouts prior to the draft. Major League Baseball declared Loux a free agent, while Arizona receives a compensation pick after the sixth selection in 2011.
“We liked him (before the draft),” Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg said. “I really like the kid . . . I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Doctors are wrong sometimes, too. There are concerns over both the shoulder and the elbow. If you listen to one (doctor), they say it’s going to be Tommy John next week, another says it’ll be labrum next week. The kid says he feels as good as he ever has.”
Loux—who turned down $800,000 out of high school in an offer by the Tigers—started working out for clubs in September while attending classes back at Texas A&M, and scouts contacted by Baseball America reported his stuff was solid but not spectacular. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder was throwing in the 88-91 mph range, one scout said in September, but Loux was throwing with some ease and generated interest from around a dozen clubs. At his best, he has reached the mid-90s in the past.
“I see a starter, a four-pitch guy,” Fagg said, citing his curveball, slider and changeup. “I think it’s going to be a solid-average fastball, maybe a little extra at times. I never envisioned him as a guy who’s going to be a plus-plus fastball guy. It’s really good command, he can really pitch with the fastball.”
Loux went 20-7, 3.59 in three seasons for the Aggies, including 11-2, 3.83 in 2010, with 136 strikeouts in 105 innings.
Loux's signing leaves unsigned independent leaguer James Paxton, formerly of Kentucky, as the biggest-name unsigned player. The Mariners control Paxton's rights after drafting him in the fourth round.
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