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Rangers Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: C Scott Heard’s bat was questioned after he hit just .292 as a high school senior, the main reason he went from the possible No. 1 overall pick to No. 24. It’s an encouraging sign that he batted .345 with 16 doubles in 33 games as a pro. LHP Chris Russ (3) went 5-1, 1.88 while doing most of his pitching at Class A Savannah.

Best Athlete: A former North Carolina running back, OF Tyrell Godwin (1) was one of the draft’s top athletes and agreed to a $1.2 million bonus before a physical revealed a pre-existing knee injury. The Rangers and Godwin’s camp disagreed about its severity, and he chose to return to North Carolina rather than take less money. 2B Jason Bourgeois (2) and OF Laynce Nix (4) are the best among players who signed.

Best Hitter: 1B Jason Botts is a pure hitter, but he was a 46th-round draft-and-follow from 1999. From this year’s draft it’s Nix, who has a polished approach for a high school batter, his .226 average in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League aside.

Best Raw Power: Godwin would have won this category, which goes to C Brandon Pack (12).

Fastest Runner: Bourgeois runs the 60-yard dash in 6.6 seconds. Again, Godwin is faster.

Best Defensive Player: Heard is a future Gold Glove winner behind the plate, with outstanding arm strength and receiving skills.

Best Fastball: RHP Greg Runser’s (5) fastball peaks at 95 mph. He was untouchable at Rookie-level Pulaski, going 3-3 with a 1.12 ERA that would have led the Appalachian League if he had enough innings to qualify.

Most Intriguing Background: Heard and Tigers RHP Matt Wheatland are the third pair of high school teammates to go in the first round of the same draft. RHP Andy Myette (17), who didn’t sign, is the brother of White Sox pitching prospect Aaron.

Closest To The Majors: RHP Chad Hawkins (1) was the first college senior drafted. He pitched just 10 innings at Savannah before being shut down with minor elbow problems. Runser could pass him.

Best Late-Round Pick: RHP Casey Berry (32), the lowest-drafted player signed by Texas, shows an average fastball and an advanced feel for pitching.

The One Who Got Away: Godwin. The Rangers also missed out on RHP Virgil Vasquez (7), who has an 87-92 mph fastball but decided to go to UC Santa Barbara. RHP Nick Masset (8) had Tommy John surgery that will shelve him until March. If Masset can pass a physical, look for the Rangers to get him under contract.

Assessment: If Heard continues to hit and Texas can land a healthy Masset, Chuck McMichael’s last draft as scouting director will have been productive. Losing Godwin hurt, but while his athleticism was universally admired, his baseball aptitude and desire were not.

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