Rangers 2002 Draft Overview
By Allan Simpson
Scouting Director: Grady Fuson (first year: 2002).
2000 Draft (First three rounds, picking 24th)
2001 Draft (First three rounds, picking fifth)
(*Did not sign.)
Hicks is determined to bring a winning team to Arlington and has been active on the free-agent front, bringing in such players as Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez and Chan Ho Park in the last two years. The cost has been a horde of premium draft picks.
The Rangers lost their second- and third-round picks in 2001 and will give up their second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks this year. No team has ever surrendered so many top picks over a two-year period. Texas will pick 10th overall and then not again until No. 172.
The need for pitching remains paramount for the Rangers and they will probably concentrate on a college pitcher with their first-round pick--someone who can help out as soon as possible.
Of course, the organization had the same pressing need for pitching a year ago when it had the fifth overall selection, but a chance to draft power-hitting third baseman Mark Teixeira proved too tempting. Teixeira received one of the largest contracts in draft history, a four-year major league deal that guarantees him $9.5 million.
A new front office led by general manager John Hart and scouting director Grady Fuson will oversee this year's draft. Fuson directed Oakland's drafts for seven years prior to joining the Rangers and was responsible for selecting righthander Tim Hudson and lefthanders Mark Mulder and Barry Zito in consecutive drafts from 1997-99. The trio made just 104 minor league appearances between them before they ascended to the big leagues. The Rangers could dearly use that kind of quick help.
If it's a mature college pitcher they go after, the primary candidates include righthanders Jeremy Guthrie and Bryan Bullington and lefthanders Jeff Francis and Joe Saunders. Righthander Bobby Brownlie is expected to be off the board by the time the Rangers pick.
Both Brownlie and Guthrie are clients of Scott Boras, a not-inconsequential factor when it comes to the Rangers. While some teams have strong negative feelings about Boras, he and the Rangers have a good relationship. Free agents Rodriguez and Park, as well as Teixeira, are all Boras clients.
Don't put it past Fuson, however, to take the best high school bat in this year's draft--outfielder Jeremy Hermida. Some say he's the best high school hitter since Eric Chavez, whom Fuson drafted in 1996.
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