Last night on Twitter, a follower (the unfortunately named MrNegative1) alerted me that 13 first round picks were starting for their respective teams. The talent and names ranged from Matt Garza to Justin Verlander to Mike Minor and so on. Curious, I looked up the remainder of the starters and was reminded that the Rangers drafted Tommy Hunter in the supplemental portion of the 2007 draft as compensation for losing Mark DeRosa. A closer examination yielded that the Rangers made more first round selections that year than I could recall.
In the first round alone, the Rangers selected Blake Beavan, Michael Main, Julio Borbon, Neil Ramirez, and Hunter. Later on in the draft, they would select Mitch Moreland, Josh Lueke, Matt Lawson, Evan Reed, and Ryan Tatusko. With the exception of Ramirez, each one of those players is playing or has played some role in the Rangers’ fantastic season. Moreland, Hunter, and Borbon are obviously with the big league team and starting on some nights. Meanwhile, Main went to San Francisco for Bengie Molina; Lueke, Lawson, and Beavan to Seattle for Cliff Lee; Reed was part of the Jorge Cantu deal; and Takusko part of the Cristian Guzman trade.
Farm systems are multi-purposeful and the Rangers have used each of the phases well. They can be used to groom young players to eventually star on the big league team, trading chips, and role players alike. You can argue that the Rangers overpaid in trades or that the various players are nothing special, it’s still somewhat impressive that the Rangers’ 2007 draft, which produced 54 players total, has been such a talent well for them this season.