2011 Draft Report Card: Texas Rangers





POSITION PLAYERS

QUICK TAKE
The Rangers didn't share the consensus view of the draft's  depth and went off the board at the top with Matthews. The class lacks impact bats and took a hit when Woodruff, Fisher and Pentecost didn't sign.
Bonus Spending: $4.2 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  OF Chris Grayson (13), who hit .364 at NAIA Lee (Tenn.), has a solid lefthanded swing with strength. BEST POWER HITTER:  OF Zach Cone (1s) has above-average raw power but hasn't figured out how to bring it to games. 3B/1B Matt Leeds (31) hit 18 homers with the less-lively college bats and has above-average pop. FASTEST RUNNER:  The strength of the position player class is speed. Cone is a plus runner but lags behind OFs Desmond Henry (4) and Saquan Johnson (28), who have run 6.3-second 60s. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  Cone has the tools to be a difference-maker in center field but needs to improve his routes and get back to the plus arm he showed prior to his junior year. Henry has similar potential, with less arm strength.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL:  LHP Will Lamb (2) has a fresh arm after playing outfield and pitching at Clemson and touched 98 repeatedly this summer. He needs to gain strength but could sit in the mid-90s as a starter if it all comes together. Just 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, RHP Taylor Dennis (34) uses a whippy arm to touch 96 mph. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  LHP Kevin Matthews (1) has excellent athleticism and spins a tight curveball while flashing an advanced changeup. Both have plus potential. RHP Jarad Eickhoff (15) has an above-average curveball.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: RHP Kyle Hendricks (8) used a 90-93 mph fastball, solid-average changeup and two breaking balls to strike out 38 and post a 2.02 ERA in 36 innings, including a start at Double-A. Lamb thrived after a late promotion to low Class A Hickory; counting his playoff start, he went 3-2, 2.67 with 70 strikeouts in 61 innings. OF Jeremy Williams (36) led the Rookie-level Arizona League in slugging while batting .357/.426/.650. BEST ATHLETE: Cone, Henry and Johnson are all athletic. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: Cone and OF Jonathan Taylor (33) collided in the outfield while playing for Georgia on March 6, which left Taylor partially paralyzed. The Rangers picked Taylor on area scout Ryan Coe's recommendation to honor Taylor's rehabilitation efforts, and he went to Arlington for an American League Division Series game. His condition has improved, as he's able to sit up and has some movement in his toes. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Lamb and Hendricks. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Johnson has significant upside but is raw. RHP Nick Martinez (18) was primarily a second baseman at Fordham, pitching just 26 innings, but showed a power arm after signing, reaching 93-94. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Three single-digit picks didn't get signed, and the Rangers badly wanted RHP Brandon Woodruff (5), who's at Mississippi State, and C Max Pentecost (7), now at Kennesaw State. OF Derek Fisher (6) took his premium talent to Virginia, but he was never close to signing.