Texas Rangers 2021 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: Outfielder Aaron Zavala (2) was unranked entering the season but did nothing but hit with Oregon all spring (.392/.525/.628) and shot up draft boards. He continued hitting at a high level during his pro debut, slashing .293/.419/.400 in 22 games between the Arizona Complex League and Low-A East.
Best Power Hitter: Moller flashed bigtime power potential during the showcase circuit and looks to drive the ball in the air. He hit just .220 in his pro debut in the ACL, but launched three homers and doubled four times in his 15-game stint as well.
Fastest Runner: Shortstop Cameron Cauley (3) is an impressive athlete with plus running ability. He went 10-for-11 (90.9%) in stolen base attempts during his pro debut in the ACL.
Best Defensive Player: Cauley played shortstop, second and third during his pro debut and made just one error in 64 defensive chances at all three combined. He has good instincts, solid hands and was praised for his ability to convert all the routine plays and for his internal clock.
Best Fastball: There were players who threw harder more consistently than Leiter, but no one in the 2021 draft class could match his velocity + elite life up in the zone. Leiter is a shorter righthander with an approach angle and flat or riding fastball that regularly stymies hitters and generates whiff after whiff up in the zone.
Best Secondary Pitch: Leiter showed excellent feel to land a 12-to-6 downer curveball in the zone and below it for whiffs. The curveball was his go-to breaking ball in college, though some scouts think a low-80s slider might wind up being a better chase pitch for him in pro ball.
Best Pro Debut: Lefthander Mitch Bratt (5) threw six innings in four games this summer in the ACL. He struck out 13 batters and walked none, and didn’t allow a single earned run. It was a brief debut, certainly, but a dominant one.
Best Athlete: Cauley’s athleticism would fit here, though the Rangers are also excited about outfielder JoJo Blackmon (11) who stole eight bags in nine attempts (88.9%) this summer in the ACL.
Most Intriguing Background: Bratt is a Canadian lefthander who moved south during the spring to pitch with Georgia Premier Academy (the same program that developed Cleveland righthander Daniel Espino) because of the more strict Canadian Covid-19 protocols.
Closest To The Majors: Leiter is one of only a handful of pitchers in the 2021 class who scouts thought had the combination of stuff and pitching ability to pitch in the bigs right now. Given the service time structure of baseball, that isn’t likely, but there’s nothing about what Leiter does on the mound that suggests he’ll be anything other than a fast-mover.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): Blackmon signed a $250,000 deal in the 11th round and has speed and up-the-middle defensive potential as a lefthanded bat, while righthander Kyle Larsen (18) has big arm talent.
The One Who Got Away: The Rangers only failed to sign two players in their 2021 class: lefthander Ryan Ure (16) and outfielder Will Taylor (19) who was likely seen as unsignable in that range regardless barring something falling apart at the very top of the draft. Taylor had plenty of first-round buzz throughout the draft process and on draft day, but will head to Clemson where he’s already been playing for the football program this fall.