2011 MLB Draft Review: Texas Rangers
This is a VERY tool-oriented draft.
1) Kevin Matthews, LHP, Georgia HS: Small lefty (5-10, 160), athletic and hits 90 MPH, secondary pitches need work, firm University of Virginia commitment. The Rangers like pitchers with similar profiles (Robbie Erlin, Robbie Ross, Kasey Kiker) but this pick seems like a stretch to me.
1S) Zach Cone, OF, Georgia: Super-toolsy outfielder but performance record is spotty due to poor strike zone judgment. High-ceiling, high-risk.
2) Will Lamb, LHP, Clemson: Tall and lean, has a good arm (93-95), two-way player in college but will pitch as a pro. High ceiling but also seems like something of an overdraft by a round or two.
3) Kyle Castro, RHP, California HS: Raw and projectable at 6-4, 185, arm strength is average at this point but given athleticism and clean delivery his velocity is expected to increase as he matures.
4) Desmond Henry, OF, California HS: Plusses: excellent athleticism, speed, defensive ability, no pesky college commitment. Minuses: no one is sure he can hit.
5) Brandon Woodruff, RHP, Mississippi HS: Athletic, throws hard, but raw and inexperienced. Committed to Mississippi State but probably signable in this round.
6) Derek Fisher, OF, Pennsylvania HS: First-round tools but inconsistent performance. Will be expensive (perhaps early first round money) to sign away from college at Virginia.
7) Max Pentecost, C, Georgia HS: Looked like a possible second round pick until he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. High upside, not sure what will happen here.
8) Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Dartmouth: Low 90s fastball, mixture of decent secondary pitches with an Ivy League brain.
9) Rashard Harlin, OF, California HS: Athletic, fast, strong, raw, committed to San Diego State. If he went there and developed properly he could go much higher in 2014 draft.
10) Joe Maloney, C, Limestone College: Small college guy with power bat, switch-hitter, hit 16 homers, caught 60% of runners. Interesting sleeper.
OTHERS OF NOTE: RHP Connor Sadzek (11th round, Howard JC) can hit 95 and has a good slider. OF Trever Adams (16th round, Creighton) offers power, speed, a good throwing arm, and a good track record plus senior affordability. 3B Matt Leeds (31st round, College of Charleston) is similar: he's got power and switch-hits, though possesses less athleticism than Adams.
SUMMARY: This class is all high-risk, high-reward in the early rounds with no leavening of polish. If they can sign Fisher it will look a lot better, and maybe that is the strategy, draft some guys who will sign for slot and save up money for the big overslot guy. But even so, Matthews looks like a real stretch to me, and this class is so far on the raw tools side that it could easily bust.