The MLB 2011 First-Year Player Draft field is being touted as one of the richest in terms of baseball talent in recent memory.
Top college hurlers such as UCLA's Gerrit Cole, Virginia's Danny Hultzen, and Texas' Taylor Jungmann abound, as well as elite high school arms like Dylan Bundy and Taylor Guerrieri. This draft is loaded with pitching talent that should allow teams to stockpile arms over the course of the 50 rounds of draft picks.
Not only are there elite pitchers available, but Rice's 3B Anthony Rendon and high school outfielder Bubba Starling headline a talented crop of position players who will compete with the arms for high draft pick status.
As far as the Texas Rangers are concerned, they won't be able to cash in on the top names in the draft, as their strong finish in 2010 moved them down in the overall selection order. They also forfeited their top pick at number 26 to the Red Sox, in order to sign Type-A free agent Adrian Beltre to play third base. As part of the same signing, they also forfeited their number 40 pick to Boston.
Thankfully, not all hope was lost, as the Rangers were able to recoup two draft slots at numbers 33 and 37 from the Phillies as compensation for losing their own Type-A free agent Cliff Lee in the off-season. Following the 37th pick, they won't make another selection until number 83 in the second round.
In order to assess the Rangers' needs and determine a sound strategy for the 2011 draft, let's take a look at their 2010 draft results, some of their top prospects already in the system, and some options that they might have as they prepare to delve into the talented pool of players represented in this year's first-year player draft.