Texas Rangers: Draft Review

General Manager: Jon Daniels
Farm Director: Scott Servais
Scouting Director: Kip Fagg

2006-2009 Draft Results:
First three rounds included
x- over-slot signees ($200,000 or more)

2009 1st Round: Matt Purke, LHP, Texas HS (Did Not Sign)
1S. Tanner Scheppers, RHP, IND
2. Tommy Mendonca, 3B, Fresno State
3. Robbie Erlin, LHP, California HS
5x – Nick McBride, RHP, North Carolina HS
12x – Chad Bell, LHP, Walters State CC
17x – Paul Strong, LHP, California HS
24x – Shawn Blackwell, RHP, Texas HS
25x – Riley Cooper, OF, Florida

The club was dealt a big blow to its ’09 draft hopes when Purke failed to come to terms and walked away from a multi-million dollar deal to attended Texas Christian University. Luckily, the club managed to land the hard-throwing Scheppers with a supplemental pick. The right-hander could move quickly through the system but it remains to be seen how long his shoulder will hold up given his previous health woes.

Mendonca had a nice debut in short-season ball by hitting .309/.361/.537 in 188 at-bats. He was over-powered in an 11-game trial at high-A ball and his +30% strikeout rate is cause for concern. Erlin pitched just 4.0 innings after signing, but he made some noise with nine strikeouts. He has a plus curveball.

With the money that the club saved by not getting a deal done with Purke, it was able to spread the love around a bit in later rounds. All five of the over-slot deals will make their pro debuts in 2010, and the four pitchers will likely spend some time in extended spring training. Cooper should start in A-ball.

2008 1st Round: Justin Smoak, 1B, South Carolina
2. Robbie Ross, LHP, Kentucky HS
3. Tim Murphy, LHP, UCLA
7x – Matt Thompson, RHP, Texas HS

Both Smoak and Ross appear on the club’s Top 10 list. Murphy had a rough year in high-A ball and posted a 6.80 ERA (4.68 FIP) in 135.0 innings. He allowed 184 hits while missing few bats (5.73 K/9). Thompson did not strike out a ton of batters either (6.63 K/9) and he gave up a lot of hits (87 in 72.0 innings). However, he showed excellent control with a walk rate of 1.25 BB/9. Keep an eye on right-hander Joe Wieland (4th round) as a possible sleeper.

2007 1st Round: Blake Beavan, RHP, Texas HS
1. Michael Main, RHP, Florida HS
1S. Julio Borbon, OF, Tennessee
1S. Neil Ramirez, RHP, Virginia HS
1S. Tommy Hunter, RHP, Alabama
2. Matt West, 3B, Texas HS
3. Evan Reed, RHP, Cal Poly
13x – Kyle O’Campo, RHP, California HS

Like a few teams in ’07, the organization was set to really improve the depth in its system with five picks before the second round. However, both first round prep hurlers, Beavan and Main, have been slower to develop than Texas had hoped. Main has dealt with health issues, while Beavan’s prep velocity did not follow him into pro ball. His strikeout rate plummeted to 3.41 K/9 in 89.2 double-A innings in ’09. West has seen his OPS drift steadily downwards with each season, from .785 to .725 to .671. Defensively, though, he has a strong arm at third base.

Borbon and Hunter have chances to make major impacts on the big league club in 2010. Borbon is the favorite to win a starting job in the outfield, while Hunter could make the club as the No. 5 starter.

Ramirez, 20, still has good potential, but he needs to avoid the DL and improve his control. Reed, who was supposed to be a fast-moving college reliever, did not respond well after the club tried to make him a starter. He rebounded somewhat in ’09 but continued to show below-average control (5.18 BB/9). O’Campo has shown some flashes of potential but he’s spent the last two seasons in short-season and rookie ball.

Outfielder Tim Smith (7th round) was a nice grab but he was dealt to Kansas City last season for pitching prospect Danny Gutierrez. OF/1B Mitch Moreland (17th round) was an even better signing and he made the club’s Top 10 list.

2006 1st Round: Kasey Kiker, LHP, Alabama HS
2. None
3. Chad Tracy, C/1B, Pepperdine
4x – Marcus Lemon, SS, Florida HS
6x – Jake Brigham, RHP, Florida HS
25x – Derek Holland, LHP, Alabama CC

Clearly the best player in the draft is Holland, who could take a real step forward in 2010. First-rounder Kiker is still promising, as well, but there are doubts about his ability to stick in the rotation due to durability concerns. I was a big fan of Tracy in college but his move from behind the dish has hurt his value. He may end up as a Quad-A slugger. Lemon has been a solid, but unspectacular, player in the minors as he lacks power and has yet to steal more than 12 bases in a season. Brigham has is developing slowly.

Slugger Chris Davis (5th round) is already making a name for himself in Texas. Southpaw Danny Herrera (45th round) appeared in 70 big league games for Cincinnati in ’09.

Up Next: The Texas Rangers Top 10 Prospects

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Cooper is going to the NFL.