Rangers Dealing In The First Round

Texas Signs Deglan, Close To Terms With Skole

DALLAS—The Rangers won't lose out on a first-round pick this year.

Within 24 hours of the first round's completion, the Rangers were close to a deal with No. 15 overall pick Jake Skole after signing 22nd overall selection Kellin Deglan.
Skole, an outfielder from Blessed Trinity High in Roswell, Ga., was selected with the pick the Rangers received as compensation for failing to sign 2009 first-round pick Matthew Purke. The Rangers had a pre-draft agreement with Deglan, a catcher out of Mountain Secondary School in British Columbia, that included a $1 million bonus.

There are two ways to look at the Rangers first-day draft haul:

• The bankrupt team went the cheapest route possible, selecting relative pain-free and cheap signs.

• Or you could look at it the way the Rangers did: In a draft class noted for balanced, but unspectacular, talents, the Rangers valued makeup as much as any physical tool. If nothing else, makeup was a tie-breaker.

"It's definitely a factor for us," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I think you can define makeup a lot of ways. For us, these were guys who want to get out and compete, who want to play baseball. That was very attractive to us."

The way the Rangers define makeup basically comes down to determination, drive and work ethic. It certainly can't overcome a lack of talent, but the more the Rangers looked around their own organization, the more it became apparent that talent alone did not advance players through the minor league system.

In Skole, they got a player who came back from torn ankle ligaments three games into his senior season to hit six homers and drive in 21 runs in the Georgia Class AA playoffs. Still playing on a sore ankle, Skole had a pair of hits in the playoffs against Kaleb Cowart, who was selected with the 18th overall pick by the Angels. That helped Skole continue a late move up draft boards, but the Rangers had their eye on him for a while.

"It was just a continuance of everything we saw through the spring," Daniels said. "He's an exciting athlete with a love for the game."

In addition, area scout Ryan Coe has known the Skole family for more than 10 years and has coached Jake in summer camps. The pedigree of the prestigious East Cobb elite program and an awaiting job at Georgia Tech didn't hurt either. Skole, whose brother Matt is an all-Atlantic Coast Conference third baseman, had signed a football letter of intent with Georgia Tech, but has already informed coach Paul Johnson he won't be enrolling.


• The Rangers also took high school righthander Luke Jackson of Fort Lauderdale with the 45th overall pick. Jackson, a soccer standout who started pitching seriously in the ninth grade, may have as much raw talent as fellow Floridian Karsten Whitson (who went ninth overall to the Padres). Jackson, who hit 96 mph this season, sits at 90-94. He was 8-0, 0.90 at Cavalry Christian Academy. He struck out 87 in 55 innings.

• The Rangers used the 49th overall pick on Connecticut third baseman Mike Olt. Olt appears to be quite similar to Tommy Mendonca, the college third baseman the Rangers took in the second round last year. Both have excellent raw power, impressive hands and strong work ethics. And both have trouble with breaking pitches.