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Draft Report Card


Mark Teixeira
TEXAS RANGERS

Best Pro Debut: Used as a two-way player at Loyola Marymount, LHP C.J. Wilson (5) went 3-9, 6.95 as a junior last spring. Allowed to focus solely on pitching as a pro, he rebounded to go 1-2, 3.18 with 26 strikeouts in 34 innings in full-season Class A. His fastball sat around 89 mph, he tightened the rotation on his curveball and showed some feel for a changeup.

Best Athlete: OF Masjid Khairy (8) has outstanding speed and body control. He’s still figuring out how to hit, though he did steal 26 bases in 29 attempts in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. RHP Gerald Smiley (9), a successful guard for his high school basketball team, is very athletic for a pitcher.

Best Hitter: 3B Mark Teixeira is the best all-around hitter to come out of college in recent memory. The best comparison is probably to Pat Burrell, the No. 1 overall pick in 1998, though Teixeira is a switch-hitter, makes better contact and is more athletic.

Best Raw Power: Not only was Teixeira the best pure hitter in the 2001 draft, he also was the best power hitter. He doesn’t have a weakness at the plate, and he has improved his speed and defense. Still recovering from a broken ankle in February, he should be 100 percent by spring training.

Fastest Runner: Khairy can run a 6.4-second 60-yard dash.

Best Defensive Player: 3B Randall Shelley (17) makes some spectacular plays yet he botches too many routine ones. Khairy’s speed allows him to run down balls in the gaps, though his arm is a bit less than desired for center field.

Best Fastball: Smiley and RHP Paul Abraham (12) both touched 94 mph in Rookie ball, and Smiley has a high-80s slider to boot. RHP Chris Bradshaw (14) has hit 93.

Most Intriguing Background: Unsigned RHP Andy Myette’s (44) brother Aaron won four games for Texas this season; as a junior college player, the younger Myette remains under Rangers control. Unsigned RHP Josh Baker (4) has extensive athletic connections. His father Johnny was an NFL linebacker, his uncle Frank was a major league infielder and his brother Jacob played in the Royals system before retiring last spring. And his sister married Lance Berkman.

Closest To The Majors: Teixeira, who signed a $9.5 million major league contract, could debut in Double-A with a strong performance in spring training. He won’t need much time in the minors, though fellow third-base prospect Hank Blalock is a formidable roadblock in his future. The most likely scenario is that the versatile Blalock will move to left field, with Teixeira staying at the hot corner.

Best Late-Round Pick: Bradshaw pitched in the Rangers’ backyard at Texas Christian and could prove to be a bargain senior sign for $5,000. OF Brad Stockton (22), another college senior, has some pop in his bat.

The One Who Got Away: Baker, who opted for the University of Alabama, is a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder with average velocity and a plus splitter. The Rangers were disappointed that RHP Ryan Dixon (15), who touched 96 mph before suffering a detached labrum last spring, didn’t attend junior college. They lost his rights when he headed to the University of Miami instead.

Assessment: The Rangers signed only 16 players, including one in the first four rounds–it gave up its second- and third-rounders to sign free agents Alex Rodriguez and Mark Petkovsek–but Teixeira could make this draft by himself. The Rangers have an obvious need for pitching, but astutely didn’t pass on the chance to grab Teixeira with the fifth overall pick.

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