Rangers Draft Report Card




QUICK TAKE
Scheppers makes up a bit for the loss of Purke, whom the Rangers couldn't bring in because of financial issues, and the overall class has pitching depth. It may take a while for any position players other than Mendonca to make an impact.
POSITION PLAYERS
BEST PURE HITTER:: The Rangers didn't draft a pure bat. They have faith that 3B Tommy Mendonca (3) will make the adjustments in his swing to be an average major league hitter. >> BEST POWER HITTER:: Mendonca ranked third in Division I with 27 home runs in the spring and has plus raw power. He has adjustments to make to his arm-bar, metal-bat swing, but his raw juice is undeniable. >> FASTEST RUNNER:: The Rangers signed a pair of burners in OFs Ruben Sierra Jr. (6) and Braxton Lane (7), both of whom play as plus-plus runners. >> BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Mendonca has good range at the hot corner to go with soft hands and a plus arm.
PITCHERS
BEST FASTBALL: In each of the last two drafts, RHP Tanner Scheppers (1s) has had the second-best fastball in the draft class, in terms of velocity. Even this year, coming back from a shoulder injury, he sat at 93-96 mph and touched 99. >> BEST SECONDARY PITCH: The Rangers' deepest category, as Scheppers has a plus hard curveball that gives him a swing-and-miss pitch; LHP Robbie Erlin (3) has a hammer curve as well. LHP Paul Strong (17) got a $300,000 bonus thanks in part to his potential plus curve, and LHP Chad Bell (14) features a promising changeup.
ODDS AND ENDS
BEST PRO DEBUT: Mendonca reached high Class A after .309/.361/.537 with nine home runs at Spokane. C Vin DiFazio (15), 23, hit .278/.417/.526 between Spokane and low Class A Hickory, with 12 home runs. RHP Braden Tullis (8) used a heavy 88-92 mph sinker to go 4-3, 3.04 at Spokane with 64 strikeouts and a 2.61 groundout/airout ratio in 68 innings. >> BEST ATHLETE: OF Riley Cooper (25) signed for $250,000 but also is playing football this fall at Florida, where his speed and athleticism made him the team's leading receiver in terms of yards and touchdowns. In baseball, he has above-average tools in his arm, speed and raw power. >> MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND:: In addition to Cooper, Sierra's namesake father was a four-time all-star and hit 306 big league home runs. Lane's uncle MacArthur had an 11-season NFL career as a running back. Unsigned OF Reggie Williams Jr. (32) is the son of a big leaguer of the same name who hit .277 for the Dodgers in 1986. >> CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Scheppers. >> BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: The Rangers were aggressive late, as Bell ($450,000), Strong ($300,000), RHP Shawn Blackwell (24) and Cooper got above-slot bonuses. The best of the lot may be Bell, who has pitchability and three average to plus pitches. >> THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Financial issues with ownership contributed to the Rangers' failure to sign LHP Matt Purke (1), who turned down more than $2 million. He's going to be an eligible sophomore after two seasons at Texas Christian.