Texas Rangers 2019 MLB Draft Report Cards
Every year at the conclusion of the regular season, Baseball America revisits each teams' most recent draft class. Each class has its no-doubt, high-profile names to keep an eye on, but our annual draft report cards highlight the best tools, best debuts, late-round steals and more. Here are the names you need to know from every organization's 2019 draft.
Best Pure Hitter: The Rangers used the No. 8 overall pick to select 3B Josh Jung (1), one of the top offensive performers in college baseball over the last three seasons. He’s a potential plus hitter with a solid grasp of the strike zone. He recognizes pitches well and has an approach geared to use all fields.
Best Power: The Rangers didn’t draft a hitter who jumped out for power as a carrying tool. Jung has a hit-first profile with questions on how much power he will develop, and while it hasn’t shown up yet, the Rangers drafted him as high as they did in part because of their belief that his future power grade will tick up due to his contact frequency and the potential adjustments he can make to develop more impact.
Fastest Runner: The Rangers took a late-round flier on Hillsdale (Mich.) SS Jake Hoover (28), an elite runner who ran the 60-yard dash in the 6.2 seconds—which is an 80-grade run time.
Best Defensive Player: 3B Davis Wendzel (1s) projected as an above-average defensive third baseman coming out of Baylor. He played a little bit of shortstop for the Bears, and the Rangers plan to experiment with Wendzel all over the field next year, with shortstop, third and second base all in the mix. He’s an instinctual defender with secure hands and a strong arm.
Best Athlete: When the Rangers hosted Hoover at a pre-draft workout, he posted dazzling marks on their athletic testing markers, from vertical jump to grip strength, in addition to his blazing speed.
Best Fastball: RHP Justin Slaten (3) can reach the mid-90s, though RHP Ryan Garcia (2) gets the edge here despite having a little less pure velocity. Garcia sits in the low 90s and has topped out at 94-95 mph, but he draws a lot of swings and misses due to the pitch's carrying life through the zone and overall deception.
Best Secondary Pitch: Scouts from other clubs had Slaten’s slider as an average to a tick better pitch, but the Rangers saw him a lot before the draft and graded it out even higher as a wipeout offering.
Best Pro Debut: Jung jumped to low Class A Hickory, where he hit .287/.363/.389 in 40 games. 1B Blaine Crim (19) didn’t face the same level of competition, but he posted big numbers for short-season Spokane, batting .335/.398/.528 to win Northwest League MVP.
Most Intriguing Background: Garcia went to UCLA as a walk-on, then developed into UCLA’s ace, the 2019 Pac-12 pitcher of the year and No. 50 overall pick in the draft with a $1,469,900 signing bonus.
Closest To The Majors: As a college hitter drafted with a top-10 overall pick, Jung should be able to move relatively quickly.
Best Late-Round Pick: As a 22-year-old first baseman drafted in the 19th round, Crim will have to keep mashing and proving himself at higher levels, but winning the Northwest League MVP award is a good start.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Brandon Sproat (8) opted to attend Florida instead of signing. He has a lot of space to fill out his projectable frame and add to a fastball that has already been up to 94 mph. Sproat was one of just two players drafted among the top 10 rounds who did not sign—the other was catcher Wyatt Hendrie, who was drafted by the Cubs in the 10th round.