The Rangers announced the signing of their top two 2011 draft picks, Richmond Hill (Ga.) HS lefthander Kevin Matthews and Georgia outfielder Zach Cone, on Friday. Matthews received a $936,000 bonus, while Cone got $873,000.
Texas is the first team to lock up its first three draft choices this year. In addition to Matthews (the final pick in the first round at No. 33) and Cone (a supplemental first-rounder at No. 37), the Rangers also signed second-rounder Will Lamb last week for $430,200. All three received slot bonuses.
Matthews has athleticism and a fastball that belies his 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame. His heater peaks at 95 mph, though he usually works in the upper 80s, and he backs it up with a tight curveball. He had commited to Virginia.
Cone was one of the best all-around athletes in the entire draft, though he hasn't always had the performance to match, struggling in the Cape Cod League last summer and batting .275/.331/.385 this spring. He has well above-average speed, plus range in center field and promising power potential. He'll have to improve his pitch recognition and ability to make consistent hard contact.
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