Texas Rangers MLB Draft Results: Scouting Profiles for 2013 Picks
As the Texas Rangers currently sit atop the standings in the AL West, the team is once again showing why it is one of the best and most complete organizations in the league. In fact, it has been some of this minor league depth that has allowed Texas to stay competitive despite losing some of its top-tier players in All-Stars, outfielder Josh Hamilton and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.
The Rangers' roster is full of guys who were brought up within the organization and includes Colby Lewis (1999), Ian Kinsler (2003), Derek Holland (2006), Justin Grimm (2010) and Nick Tepesch (2010). Shortstop standout Jurickson Profar, while not drafted by the team, was signed as an undrafted free agent.
So if the roster is any evidence, Texas has certainly done a very good of selecting talented players in the draft and then developing them into pretty good major leaguers. Not to mention, it was the top prospect of Justin Smoak, (now with the Seattle Mariners) that spearheaded the Rangers being able to acquire Cliff Lee back in 2010.
It is obvious that the Rangers, under the guidance and management of general manager Jon Daniels, have done well for themselves in recent years.
With back-to-back World Series disappointments fresh on the mind, there is no doubt this team is building toward success in 2013.
But before talk of the playoffs or even the All-Star break, the Rangers will look to continue to develop and build up their farm system with fresh talent in this year's MLB amateur player draft. Their standing from last season earned Texas the 23rd overall pick as well as the 30th as compensation for Hamilton choosing to sign with the Los Angeles Angels.
Recent patterns have shown that Texas has leaned toward drafting high school pitchers early in the draft, and there is certainly no shortage of them available this year. The Rangers could also go in the direction of a strong, college outfielder who fits the build of a middle-of-the-lineup hitter.
While the organization has given no indication of what direction it might go, there is no doubt that the Rangers will continue to follow their long-held philosophy of picking the best available player.
Now updated to include each of the Rangers' draft selections.
Round 1, Pick No. 23- RHP Alex Gonzalez, Oral Roberts
The Texas Rangers surprised many as they broke away from what many mock drafts expected. In fact with the inclination leaning toward Texas selecting a high school pitcher, seeing Oral Roberts junior, Alex Gonzalez, coming off the board was a bit unexpected.
MLB.com's 31st ranked player, it is curious as to why the Rangers did not wait to select him with their 30th overall pick.
But that is not to say that Gonzalez is not a good pitcher. His best pitch is his fastball which routinely sits at or slightly below 94 MPH. He does have a slider and change up as well, But both project as either average or below average major league pitches.
Time and experience will tell if Gonzalez becomes a starter or back of the bullpen type. In terms of short term, Gonzalez could join the Texas by 2014. As a starter, development would push his ETA back a bit.
The philosophy was to select the best available player so maybe the Rangers are seeing something in Gonzalez that nobody else has.
Round 1, Pick No. 30- SS Travis Demeritte, Winder-Barrow HS
This pick seems to have come a little out of left field as no mock draft or draft board had Travis Demeritte going as early as the first round and to the Rangers.
While Demeritte has talent, the Rangers must have really seen something they liked in him in order to reach up the board to get the player MLB.com had ranked 50th in its list of Top 100 Prospects.
Demeritte projects as an average shortstop who really doesn't have any notable skills but the same time, no notable weaknesses. He is lean and athletic and as a high school player, still has a chance to develop some power on his 6'0, 178 lb frame.
He has the ability to play the middle infield positions and could be anything from a shortstop to third baseman for the Rangers. His arm and range help him in this department.
So an average player in the first round? It may not have been the best pick the Rangers could have made as keep in mind outfielder and projected pick, Aaron Judge, remains on the board.
Round 2, Pick No. 62 - RHP Akeem Bostick, West Florence HS
Once again, the Rangers seemed to have found a player that many did not see being on their boards. In fact, none of the mock drafts originally cited here had Akeem Bostick going to the Rangers and MLB.com did not even have him ranked in the Top-100.
Bostick is a right handed pitcher with an average fastball that sits in the low 90s. He has been said to have a decent but developing breaking pitch but a lack of an offspeed pitch is a big part of the reason why he fell out of the top 100 on draft boards.
Still young and very lanky, it is expected Bostick will gain more velocity on his fastball. Any major league success however will determine on if he can develop an offspeed pitch. And in Texas with Mike Maddox, if anybody can teach this kid how to pitch, it would be him.
The Rangers fill a need with another pitcher to add to the minors, but once again, it seems they might have reached a bit to get him.
Round 3, No. 99- RHP David Ledbetter, Cedarville University
Sitting just outside the top 200 in Baseball America's Top-250 list is the Rangers' newest addition, right handed pitcher, David Ledbetter.
Choosing to go with another pitcher is not surprising as this was one area of the Texas farm system in need of some assistance. Ledbetter is the third RHP in the first four picks the Rangers have had so far.
Making history, The Ohio junior, becomes the first ever player to be drafted out of Cedarville University. While he did play some in the field, Ledbetter will be a pitcher if he reaches the major league level.
Following a similar pattern as the other Rangers' drafted righties, Ledbetter's best pitch is his fastball. It touches 94 with regularity and sits in the low 90s range. He is also noted as having "good sinking action" on the pitch according to the information provided by MLB on their 2013 Draft Tracker.
Ledbetter also possesses a decent curveball, changeup and slider and in his junior season, showed much improved ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes. He has a good delivery but will need some work in the minors to improve his consistency. At 6'1 and 185 lbs, the hope is that he will get stronger and might be able to add some MPHs to his fastball.
Round 4, No. 130: SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Mid-Pacific Institute
That was the initial reaction to this pick. Understandably as you get into the later rounds, you'll know less and less of these players, but this is one name, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, that I'm guessing I am not the only one who has never heard of him.
From the Mid-Pacific Institute in Hawaii all that MLB.com's draft tracker reveals is that Kiner-Falefa is a 5'10, 165 lb right handed bat that plays shortstop. Baseball America's most comprehensive ranking, a Top-500, does not even have him on their list.
He does not have a scouting grade so it is hard to discern any sort of information on his swing and potential tools. All I can tell you is the description provided in the description of the above video on youtube's website: "He utilizes his quick feet along with his soft & clean glove action in making plays."
So yet another surprising and somewhat confusing pick for the Rangers. Although it does reveal something telling. The Rangers have spent all of their picks on right handed pitchers (3) or right handed shortstops (2).
Clearly the Rangers are looking for specific types of players and perhaps they scouted Kiner-Falefa for that very reason.
Round 5, No. 160: C Joe Jackson, The Citadel
With their fifth round selection, the Rangers drafted their first non shortstop/right handed pitcher in The Citadel's Joe Jackson.
Jackson, who batted .386 with 13 home runs in his junior season, is most known for the fact that he is a descendant, the great-great-great nephew to be exact, of former baseball great Shoeless Joe Jackson.
At 6'1, 195 lbs, Jackson still has room on his frame which ultimately could help him to further develop his power. He showed incredible ability in the SoCon tournament, batting .769 with eight runs and five RBI. He reached base safely in 18 of 20 trips.
Still outside of Baseball America's Top-500, Jackson could become a decent catcher for the Rangers.
Round 6, No. 190: RHP Sam Wolff, New Mexico
With the 190th overall pick, the Rangers took yet another right handed pitcher in New Mexico's Sam Wolff.
Ranked No. 273 in Baseball America's Top-500, Wolff has been described as having an explosive fastball and a good amount of upside. This potential could be what led to the Rangers' selection of him in the sixth round and in the top 200 picks.
Other than his fastball, Wolff does possess a decent offspeed pitch as well.
A senior who was drafted twice before but failed to sign, Wolff's biggest obstacle to major league success has been his noted control issues and struggles to throw strikes at times.
Wolff will likely project as a relief pitcher, but could be a starter if he improves his control. So overall, a player with work to do but a good chance for more upside, Wolff is a good pick for the Rangers.
Round 7, No. 220: RHP Nick Gardewine, Kaskaskia CC
Round 7, Pick No. 220: Nick Gardewine
Baseball America Rank: 336
Build: 6'1, 160 lbs
Note: With their seventh round pick, the Rangers selected yet another right handed pitcher. With the addition of Gardewine, this means Texas has used five of their so-far seven picks on right handed pitchers.
Day 2: Rounds 8-10
Round 8, Pick No. 250: 2B Evan Van Hoosier, College of Southern Nevada (5'11, 190 lbs)
Round 9, Pick No. 280: RHP Jose Samayoa, Lee U (6'0, 205 lbs)
Round 10, Pick No. 310: RHP Cole Wiper, Oregon, (6'4, 195 lbs)
Note: Sensing the pattern? Two more, right handed pitchers... This is starting to not be a coincidence anymore. The Rangers as I mentioned before are drafting righties for their system. It could pay off or it might be a mistake. Regardless, Texas will certainly have a lot of depth at this position.
Day 3: Rounds 11-20
Round 11, Pick No. 340: CF Ryan Cordell, Liberty University (6'4, 205 lbs)
Round 12, Pick No. 370: LHP Derek Thompson, John A. Logan College (6'3, 170 lbs)
Round 13, Pick No. 400: RF Taylor Olmstead, Greenwich HS, (6'0, 200 lbs)
Round 14, Pick No. 430: RHP Jarred Smith, State Col of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, (6'0, 190 lbs)
Round 15, Pick No. 460: LHP Cody Ege, U Louisville, (6'1, 180 lbs)
Note: After picking a handful of right handed pitchers in the first two days of the drat, the Rangers diversified with their first five picks on Day Three, selecting two position players and a pair of college left handed pitchers. Their best pick was Ryan Cordell, a player with great upside, described as having the tools, and who Baseball America had ranked No. 196.
Round 16, Pick No. 490: C Marcus Greene, New Mexico JC, (5'11, 195 lbs)
Round 17, Pick No. 520: LHP Sean Labsan, Riverview HS, (5'9, 185 lbs)
Round 18, Pick No. 550: RHP David Gates, Howard College, (6'3, 215 lbs)
Round 19, Pick No. 580: RHP Joseph Ledbetter, Cedarville U, (6'1, 185 lbs)
Round 20, Pick No. 610: RHP Jackson Lamb, Bedford HS, (6'6, 195 lbs)
Note: The Rangers continued to do well for themselves in Day Three, picking up a pair of top prospects in Marcus Greene, ranked No. 330 by Baseball America and described as having good athleticism and a willingness to learn and David Gates, ranked No. 161 by Baseball America and described as a having a solid fastball that touches 98 MPH. To get both of these guys still on the board so late was a steal for Texas. Back to the pattern, including Gates, Texas picked up three more righties, one of which, Joseph Ledbetter, who will be joining his brother David, also drafted this year by the team.
Day 3: Rounds 21-30
Round 21, Pick No. 640: RHP Lucas Lanphere, Citrus Valley HS, (6'2, 175 lbs)
Round 22, Pick No. 670: RHP Zachary Winn, Show Low HS, (6'1, 162 lbs)
Round 23, Pick No. 700: LHP Luis Pollorena, Mississippi St U, (5'9, 170 lbs)
Round 24, Pick No. 730: OF Darryn Sheppard, John Foster Dulles HS, (6'1, 185 lbs)
Round 25, Pick No.760: RHP Chris Dula, Catawba College, (6'2, 200 lbs)
Note: When pre draft experts said this draft was loaded with pitching, they weren't kidding. Once again, Texas held to form by selecting three right handed pitchers in the first five rounds in the 20s. They added another lefty and took local Texas HS outfielder Darryn Sheppard as well.
Round 26, Pick No. 790: RHP Travis Dean, Kennesaw State, (6'6, 220 lbs)
Round 27, Pick No. 820: C Sherman Lacrus, Western Oklahoma State, (5'10, 180 lbs)
Round 28, Pick No. 850: LHP Ryan Williamson, Cranford HS, (6'2, 190 lbs)
Round 29, Pick No. 880: RHP Justin Sprenger, Tennessee Wesleyan College, (6'6, 190 lbs)
Round 30, Pick No. 910: LHP Joseph Palumbo, St. John The Baptist HS, (6'1, 150 lbs)
Note: Texas continued to pick up pitchers with eight of their ten picks in rounds 21-30 going toward bolstering the organization at this position. In addition, the Rangers snagged Sherman Lacrus, who Baseball America expected to be picked No. 328 because of his tools and expected ability at the position.
Day 3: Rounds 31-40
Round 31, Pick No. 940: RHP Michael Peterson, West Valley College, (6'7, 195 lbs)
Round 32, Pick No. 970: RHP John Straka, North Dakota St U, (6'3, 200 lbs)
Round 33, Pick No. 1000: C Daniel De la Calle, Miami Dade CC South, (6'3, 220 lbs)
Round 34, Pick No. 1030: RHP Easton Napiontek, Lower Columbia Col, (6'8, 255 lbs)
Round 35, Pick No. 1060: OF Buddy Reed, St. George's School, (6'4, 185 lbs)
Note: The Rangers selected a trio of towering right handed pitchers in these rounds, including the 6'7 Michael Peterson and 6'8 Easton Napiontek.
Round 36, Pick No. 1090: RHP Dakota Hudson, Sequatchie County HS, (6'4, 185 lbs)
Round 37, Pick No. 1120: OF Cody Lavalli, Lewis-Clark St Col, (6'4, 190 lbs)
Round 38, Pick No. 1150: SS Sheldon Neuse, Fossil Ridge HS, (6'0, 175 lbs)
Round 39, Pick No. 1180: OF Jay Gonzalez, Auburn, (5'10, 170 lbs)
Round 40, Pick No. 1210: LHP Sal Mendez, Weehawken HS, (6'4, 180 lbs)
Note: The Rangers finished their draft with some interesting position players said to have some potential. Notable acquisitions include Dakota Hudson, a righty with a solid delivery and ability to develop as a power pitcher, ranked No. 317 by Baseball America and Sheldon Neuse, a former member of the USA U-16 team that won the Pan Pacific Championships in 2010 and is ranked No. 303 by Baseball America.
Final Draft Observations
Of the Rangers' 41 total picks, Texas drafted 20 RHP, 7 LHP and 6 OF. The remaining eight picks were split between four catchers, three shortstops and one second baseman. 14 players were drafted at the high school level, some with college commitments.
Tall right handed pitchers dominated Texas' draft choices and they drafted a set of twins (David and Joseph Ledbetter).