Rangers 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Can Texas Reverse Recent Stretch Of Bad Luck?
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2019 MLB RECORD: 78-84
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: Some of the organization’s upside has been hogtied by a series of severe injuries to some of its best prospects, but there is still plenty of potential to be mined from the very young players—Maximo Acosta, Luisangel Acuña, Bayron Lora—at the top. That’s saying nothing of 2019 first-rounder Josh Jung or reigning Futures Game MVP Sam Huff. By and large, the organization’s future can be found at the lower levels.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: RHP Kyle Hendricks (eighth round, 2011). It’d be easy to say Joey Gallo here because of his value to the Rangers, but Hendricks has been a solid or better starter—he finished third in the Cy Young Award voting in 2016—for the past five seasons. Dealt from Texas to the Cubs in 2012 as part of the two-player deal that brought Ryan Dempster to the Rangers, Hendricks helped the Cubs win their first World Series in more than a century in 2016.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: LHP Kevin Matthews (first round, 2011). There are plenty of options here, but Matthews never made it past low Class A with the franchise that drafted him. He spent time in independent ball and with the Braves and has been out of baseball since 2017. Four picks later, the Rangers took outfielder Zach Cone, who was a similar disaster. Cone never made it past Double-A and is also out of baseball. There were several big leaguers still on the board at the time of both selections—including all-star shortstop Trevor Story and 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Center field. A sixth of the Rangers’ Top 30 prospects project as center fielders. That group includes No. 3 prospect Leody Taveras, who’s offensive game has stalled somewhat, as well as trade acquisition Steele Walker, Bubba Thompson, Julio Pablo Martinez and Zion Bannister. A case could also be made for shortstop, where Nos. 5 and 8 prospects Acosta and Acuña play, as do Osleivis Basabe and Anderson Tejeda.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): First base. The Rangers do not have a first baseman among their Top 30 prospects. It should be noted, however, that Curtis Terry has continued to mash throughout his pro career.
DRAFT TRENDS: Until Jung’s selection in 2019, the Rangers had taken a high schooler with four consecutive first-round selections. 2016 first-rounder Cole Ragans has had two Tommy John surgeries. Chris Seise, the team’s first of two 2017 first-rounders, has had surgery on both shoulders. The Rangers' second 2017 first-rounder, Bubba Thompson, had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone, and 2018 first-rounder Cole Winn struggled mightily with his command and control in his pro debut.