FanPost

Potential 2013 Rangers Draft Picks

Hey everyone, welcome to installment five of this series. I have previously done the Yankees, Cardinals, Rays, and Pirates (click on the team to find those posts).

On June 6, 2013, the first day of the MLB Amateur draft begins. The Texas Rangers have two first round picks (picks 23 and 30), and a second and third round pick (picks 62 and 99). Let's look at the recent drafting history of the Rangers to see what type of player the team will focus on, and try to identify some draft prospects they should target. Below is a list of players the Rangers have drafted over the last five years in the first three rounds:

Year Round Pick # Name Position School level
2012 1 29 Lewis Brinson OF HS
2012 1 39 Joey Gallo 3B HS
2012 1 53 Collin Wiles RHP HS
2012 2 83 Jamie Jarmon CF HS
2012 2 93 Nick Williams CF HS
2012 3 123 Patrick Cantwell C College
2011 1 33 Kevin Matthews LHP HS
2011 1 37 Zachary Cone OF College
2011 2 83 Will Lamb LHP College
2011 3 113 Kyle Castro RHP HS
2010 1 15 Jake Skole CF HS
2010 1 22 Kellin Delgan C HS
2010 1 45 Luke Jackson RHP HS
2010 1 49 Mike Olt 3B College
2010 2 72 Cody Buckel RHP HS
2010 3 103 Jordan Akins RHP College
2009 1 14 Matt Purke LHP HS
2009 1 44 Tanner Scheppers RHP College
2009 2 62 Tommy Mendonca 3B College
2009 3 93 Robbie Erlin LHP HS
2008 1 40 Justin Smoak 1B College
2008 2 64 Robbie Ross LHP HS
2008 3 96 Tm Murphy LHP College

For the most part, the Rangers have been in the back of the first round. They've made up for this by adding additional first round supplemental draft picks, and 52% of their picks in the last five years (12 out of 23) have come in the first round. Of the 23 players drafted, 14 have been from the high school ranks, or 61% of the players drafted. However, they have shifted even more towards high school players in the last two years, going with them 70% of the time.

In the first round, 67% of their draft picks have been from high school, 33% from college. In the past two years, the number jumps to 80% for high school first round picks. In the second round, they have again picked prep players 67% of the time and college players 33% of the time. In the third round, 60% of their picks are from the college ranks, and only 40% came from prep ball. They have always picked at least one college player in the first three rounds.

This year, the Rangers have 4 picks in the first three rounds. Given their drafting history above, we can expect three high school players and one college player. This is a bit higher than their 67% rate of picking high school players, but let's bump them due to their increased focus on prep players in the last two years.

So what type of players do they focus on? In the first round, they have picked both prep bats and prep arms 33% of the time since 2008, a college bat 25% of the time, and a college arms 8% of the time. In the second round, they have gone with both prep bats and prep arms 33% of the time, and both college arms and college bats 17% of the time. In the third round, they've gone with both prep arms and college arms 40% of the time, and a college bat 20% of the time.

Overall, they've gone with a prep arm 8 out of 23 picks since 2008, or 35% of the time, and a prep bat 26% of the time. They've picked a college bat 22% of the time and a college arm 17% of the time. Overall, they've picked an arm 52% of the time, and a bat 48% of the time in the first three rounds. Of those bats picked, they've picked an OF 45% of the time (mostly center fielders), a third baseman 27% of the time, and a catcher 18% of the time. Out of the 52% of their picks that were pitchers, they've picked a RHP and a LHP the same number of times. Most interesting is how balanced the Rangers have been in their picks. They focus heavily on prep players, but arms and bats are pretty even, types of arms are identical, and if two prep arms were replaced by college arms, the four types of players would be almost identical.

Given their draft history, what type of draft could we expect from the Rangers this year? It seems reasonable to expect them to pick a high school player in the first round, as they've done 67% of the time in the last five years. With 4 picks, we would expect two bats and two arms. With 3 prep picks, we would expect one bat and two arm, and a college bat to round out the four picks. Looking at their tendencies over the last five years, I would expect the first pick to be a prep arm. With the second first rounder, I am going to go with a high school outfield bat. In the second and third round, I am going to look at another prep arm and a college bat, in that order.

Looking at my personal draft rankings, who would be available that fits these descriptions. For their first pick, pick 23, let's look at the 10 players surrounding 23 (my ranked #18-28):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Bobby Wahl RHP Mississippi
Mississippi
Ryan Boldt OF Minnesota Red Wing
Philip Ervin OF Alabama
Samford
Oscar Mercado SS Florida Gaither
Robert Kaminsky LHP New Jersey St. Joseph Regional
Ryan Eades RHP Louisiana
Louisiana State
Marco Gonzales LHP Washington
Gonzaga
Aaron Judge OF California
Fresno State
Justin Williams OF Louisiana Terrebonne
Michael Lorenzen OF California
Cal State Fullerton
D.J. Peterson 1B New Mexico
New Mexico

We have one prep arm, Robert Kaminsky, but he is a good one. The next available arm would be Clinton Hollon at #40 on my board. Hollon is closer geographically, but Kaminsky has much better stuff. Kaminsky was last year's New Jersey Player of the Year. He touches mid-90s with his fastball, with good command of it. His breaking ball, a hammer curve, has been called a major league pitch by some. Between those two pitches, he profiles well as a bullpen arm, which some will discount him as due to his height. I think that would be a mistake. He has a smooth delivery, kind of like a shorter version of CC Sabathia. As of April 20th, he had yet to give up a run in his senior year of high school, with a 54/5 K/BB ratio over 26 innings. His North Carolina commitment should be easily bought out at pick 23. So with the 23rd pick, the Rangers select Robert Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph Regional HS, New Jersey.

The Rangers second first round pick, pick 30, is compensation for losing Josh Hamilton to the Angels. Here are the 10 players surrounding 30 (my ranked #25-35):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Marco Gonzales LHP Washington
Gonzaga
Aaron Judge OF California
Fresno State
Justin Williams OF Louisiana Terrebonne
Michael Lorenzen OF California
Cal State Fullerton
D.J. Peterson 1B New Mexico
New Mexico
Kevin Ziomek LHP Tennesee
Vanderbilt
Nick Ciuffo C South Carolina Lexington
Trevor Williams RHP Arizona
Arizona State
Stephen Gonsalves LHP California Cathedral Catholic
Chris Okey C Florida Eustis
Brett Morales RHP Florida King

Looking at high school bats, we have outfielder Justin Williams and two catchers, Nick Ciuffo and Chris Okey. They have gone with catchers in the past, but they have gone with an outfielder almost 2.5 times as often. So let's go with Justin Williams. Williams is similar to the Rangers second rounder from last year, Nick Williams. Except he may have even more power in his swing, and is one of the top power bats from the prep ranks. He's got a Prince-Fielder like uppercut, but he needs to work on consistently making contact. Defensively, he is a LF/DH. But you aren't picking him for his glove. So with pick 30, the Rangers select Justin Williams, OF, Terrebonne HS, Louisiana.

The Rangers next pick is in the second round, pick 62. Here are the 10 surrounding prospects, (my ranked #57-67):

First name Last name POS State High School College
A.J. Puk LHP Iowa Washington
Andrew Mitchell RHP Texas
Texas Christian
Scott Frazier RHP California
Pepperdine
Dillon Overton LHP Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Garrett Williams RHP Louisiana Calvary Baptist
Colby Suggs RHP Arkansas
Arkansas
Matt Krook LHP California St. Ignatius
Jason Hursh RHP Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Dylan Covey RHP California
San Diego
Ryan "Rowdy" Tellez 1B California Elk Grove
Austin Kubitza RHP Texas
Rice

We wanted to look at another prep arm, and we have three here: A.J. Puk, Garrett Williams, and Matt Krook. Krook and Williams have been moving up draft boards, and probably will not be available at 62. Puk should be, although at 62 his commitment to Florida may be harder to break. A two way player, he is better with the bat right now. But his potential on the mound is what most teams will focus on. As a 6'6" lefty with a 92+ MPH fastball, he is a rare commodity in the draft. His breaking ball is raw, and his mechanics need some work, which he would get much quicker if he went pro in this draft. So with pick 62, the Rangers select AJ Puk, LHP, Washington HS, Iowa.

The Rangers next pick at 99, in the third round. Here are the 10 players surrounding 99 (my ranked #94-104):

First name Last name POS State High School College
Brian Ragira 1B California
Stanford
Derik Beauprez 1B Colorado Cherry Creek
Hunter Green LHP Kentucky Warren East
Tyler Danish RHP Florida Durant
Adam Plutko RHP California
UCLA
Kevin Davis RHP Alabama T.R. Miller
Terry McClure OF Georgia Westlake
Dustin Peterson 3B Arizona Gilbert
Alex Gonzalez RHP Oklahoma
Oral Roberts
Kevin Franklin 3B California Gahr
Jared King 1B Kansas
Kansas State

We wanted to look for a college bat in round three. We have two here: Brian Ragira, and Jared King. Both are first baseman, and the Rangers haven't selected one of those since Justin Smoak back in 2008. I don't feel comfortable that either player fits the Rangers. Looking down my board, I have Dominic Ficociello, a second baseman from Arkansas, and Aaron Brown, an outfielder from Pepperdine, Andrew Knapp, a catcher from California, and Michael O'Neill, an outfielder from Michigan. Out of all of them, a catcher seems like the best fit, given their positional player mix. So we are going with Andrew Knapp. Knapp, a preseason first team All-American, was a catcher in high school but is finally getting a chance at the college level this year. He is a bit rough defensively - he has a good arm, but would be a bat-first catcher. And his bat is good. As of April 20, he has a .355/.430/.553 line, with 6 HR and a 16/26 BB/K ratio. The switch-hitter is not very patient at the plate, but shows nice power and batting average ability. So with pick 99, the Rangers select Andrew Knapp, C, University of California, California.

The Final Picks look like this:

23. Robert Kaminsky, LHP, St. Joseph Regional HS, New Jersey

30. Justin Williams, OF, Terrebonne HS, Louisiana

62. AJ Puk, LHP, Washington HS, Iowa

99. Andrew Knapp, C, University of California, California

So what do you think? Does this look like a reasonable draft for the Texas Rangers? Do these seem like the type of players the Rangers would pick? Who do you think is a better fit, and why?

Next up is the Miami Marlins. Who do you want to see next? Vote in the poll below!

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