Texas Rangers MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e., high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Texas Rangers:
General Manager: Jon Daniels
Scouting Director: Kip Fagg
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $7,356,000 (22nd)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 15th
2nd Round: 55th
3rd Round: 91st
4th-40: 15th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2016: Cole Ragans (30th)
2015: Dillon Tate (4th)
2014: Luis Ortiz (30th)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
RHP Kyle Hendricks (eighth round, 2011) was drafted by the Rangers and traded to the Cubs just over a year after signing with Texas. That proved to be a savvy move for the Cubs, as Hendricks made his major league debut just two years later and posted a stellar 2.94 ERA from 2014-2017 with Chicago. Hendricks finished third in the NL Cy Young voting in 2016 when he led the league in ERA (2.13) and ERA+ (196).
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
The Rangers are known for coveting big tools and high-risk, high-reward players in the draft. Their high rate of selecting high school prospects backs up that claim, as Texas has taken 55.6 percent prep players since 2013 in the top five rounds—third-highest rate behind the Orioles (59.3) and Padres (58.6).
When looking at just the first- and second-round picks the Rangers have had since 2013, the high school preference jumps out even more obviously, as 10 of the 12 selections that scouting director Kip Fagg has had in this part of the draft have gone to high schoolers. Interestingly, the two college selections are also the Rangers highest picks (Dillon Tate, No. 4 overall in 2015 and Chi Chi Gonzalez, No. 23 overall in 2013) in that span and have received the top two signing bonuses.
Partially because of the Rangers high school tendencies, their farm system lacks prospects at the upper levels of the minors currently, which opens the possibility of the team going to the college route with pick No. 15.
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Potential Draft Targets:
OF Travis Swaggerty — Swaggerty is a potential five-tool talent with a real shot to stick in center field who showed increased power this spring
RHP Carter Stewart — Stewart has the best breaking ball in the 2018 class in a powerful, downer curveball—oh, and he's touched 98 mph this spring
RHP Cole Winn — One of the most consistent prep arms this spring, there are no real holes to speak of in Winn's game
OF Jarred Kelenic — Solid in every area, Kelenic is one of the best pure hitters in the prep class and scouts are expecting more power to come
RHP Kumar Rocker — Big, physical and imposing, Rocker has loud pure stuff, including a fastball up to 98 mph and a breaking ball that falls off the table
SS Brice Turang —An athletic, lefthanded-hitting shortstop with plus speed and great feel for the barrel, Turang is more polished than most preps
3B Nolan Gorman — Gorman is a slugging third baseman with near top-of-the-scale raw power and a strong arm, but has some questions about his feel to hit
RHP Ethan Hankins — Previously the top prep player in the class thanks to a potential 80-grade fastball, Hankins has been slowed by injury but is trending in the right direction
LHP Ryan Weathers — The son of David Weathers, Ryan is a polished lefty with solid control of a heavy fastball and an improving curveball
RHP Logan Gilbert — Gilbert has a heavy fastball that plays up with elite extension and more projection remaining than other college arms
C Noah Naylor — The younger brother of Josh Naylor, Noah is more hit over power with exceptional barrel awareness and a track record against professional arms
LHP Ryan Rolison — A high-floor college lefthander, Rolison shows a three-pitch mix including a fastball up to 96 mph with good life
RHP Mason Denaburg — An uber-athletic catcher-turned-pitcher, Denaburg has great arm speed and feel to spin a breaking ball
RHP Grayson Rodriguez — The Texas pop-up overhauled his body in the offseason and has been up to 97-98 mph with ease out of a big, 6-foot-4 frame
IF Nander De Sedas — One of the toolsier infielders in the prep class as a switch-hitter with raw power from both sides, hit tool questions linger with De Sedas
OF Jordyn Adams — Perhaps the most athletic player in the 2018 class, Adams is a two-sport start as an elite wide receiver and ultra-projectable center fielder
OF Joe Gray — A high-risk, high-reward outfielder out of Mississippi, Gray has plus tools across the board and could be a star if he hits as a pro