The Rangers will pick 15th and 55th in tonight's Rule 4 draft. Rounds 3-10 take place tomorrow, and the final 30 occur Wednesday. Reviewing last year's preview, I found some college pitchers among the mix in various mock drafts, but in 2018, everyone expects Texas to grab an 18-year-old, either a pitcher or toolsy outfielder.
Here's a quick preview of players linked to Texas. I'm just summarizing other sources, as I have zero personal knowledge of any of these guys.
OF Connor Scott, Plant, FL, Age 18, 6'4", 180 (Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com)
(#23 prospect per Baseball America, #18 per MLB.com)
Scott attended the same high school and has drawn some comparisons to Astros OF Kyle Tucker. Scott is faster but lacks Tucker's power. His strong arm will more than suffice if he doesn't stick in center, Scott can also pitch well, but he'll be drafted as a position player. Baseball America describes him as a "potential impact hitter," while MLB.com says he has the "makings of a five-tool player."
RHP Carter Stewart
, Melbourne, FL, Age 18, 6'6", 200 ( Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs.com)
(#9 prospect per Baseball America, #5 per MLB.com)
The highest rated high school righty in the draft, Stewart drew attention early on for his advanced curve, a low-80s bender with superb depth. More recently, his fastball has jumped to a steady 92-94 and touched 98. The change has lagged behind, in part because he hasn't needed it. Nobody has Stewart dipping lower than #15 to Texas; if anything, he'll be gone by the time Texas picks despite tailing off down the stretch this season.
Both Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com had Stewart dropping to Texas in an earlier draft, but they now expect the Braves to swipe him at #8.
LHP Ryan Weathers
, Loretto, TN, Age 18 , 6'2", 210 (Baseball America)
(#16 draft prospect per Baseball America, #13 per MLB.com)
Gatorade National Player of the Year and rated only behind Matt Liberatore among high school lefties. Father David pitched in the bigs, mom played hoops at Belmont. Weathers lacks a single pitch to match Stewart's best but already has a solid change. He offers a low-90s heater than reaches 95 and an upper-70s curve. He commands everything well.
Weathers was also a Keith Law pick in an earlier mock. OF Jordyn Adams
, Green Hope, NC, Age 18, 6'2", 175, (Keith Law of ESPN)
(#45 prospect per BA, #37 per MLB.com)
Adams is ultra-athletic, possibly an 80 runner, a dubious hitter a year ago but vastly improved as a senior. He doesn't rate as highly as the prep arms I've mentioned because the track record is lacking, but he arguably has as high a ceiling. He could become an average hitter with superior speed and good CF defense. Adams has a stronger college commitment than anyone else mentioned here, and he would also play football at UNC, where his dad coaches the D line. He won't sign cheaply.
Adams was also linked to Texas in an earlier Fangraphs.com mock. RHP Cole Winn
, Orange, CA, Age 18, 6'2", 195 (Jonathan Mayo in an earlier mock)
(#10 prospect per BA, #9 per MLB.com)
Everybody now has Winn off the board by the time the Rangers pick, as he's only improved this spring. His fastball reaches the mid-90s with good command, and his change has been okay, if rarely employed. Winn throws a solid curve and developing slider, the latter a recent addition per Baseball America. If he doesn't sign, he'll head to TCU. OF Jarred Kelenic
, Waukesha, WI, Age 18, 6'1", 196 (earlier mock from Keith Law)
(#12 prospect per BA, #10 per MLB.com)
Like Winn, the mockers have Kelenic picked earlier than Texas's spot, potentially in the top nine. He turns 19 in July and is already a polished hitter with burgeoning power than should reach average. Despite good speed, he might not stick in CF, but (unlike Adams) he easily has the arm for right.
RHP Grayson Rodriguez
, Nacodoches, TX, Age 18, 6'5", 230 (earlier mock from Baseball America)
(#24 per BA, #22 per MLB.com)
He's not on this list if the draft had occurred in January. Rodriguez got into shape before the season and added several ticks to his fastball, dealing steady mid-90s with movement and reaching 98. Like Winn, he throws a promising slider and curve but hasn't had much use for a change. The latest mocks have going anywhere from 10th to 34th. Previews of a Different Sort
Those of you who subscribe to The Athletic should read Jamey's feature
on Texas's scouting process, particularly as it applies to Hans Crouse and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News delved
into scouts' attempts to maintain a home life and relationships in a career spent on the road. Rangers Farm Report: Games of Sunday 3 June Box Scores AAA: at Round Rock 2, Nashville (OAK) 3 (10)
Record: 24-33, 10.5 GB
SP Austin Bibens-Dirx: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 3.27 ERA
RP Tim Lincecum: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 5.68 ERA
3B Andy Ibanez: 1-3, walk
Tim Lincecum worked a scoreless 6th on 13 pitches. With the Express off tomorrow, Lincecum can appear just once more before his rehab assignment expires after Tuesday. I'm of two minds about him. He hasn't looked that great, and I'm skeptical that he retire MLB batters consistently. Putting Lincecum in Arlington would require someone else's 40-man spot and drop a current reliever to AAA. On the other hand, look at the standings. An ineffective Lincecum isn't going to capsize a playoff run. No time like the present for the Rangers to extend some slack, particularly if they sense some upside. AA: at Frisco 5, Arkansas (SEA) 4 (10)
Record: 19-37, 16 GB
SP Wes Benjamin: 4 IP, 10 H (1 HR), 4 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3.91 ERA
RP John Fasola: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 SO, 2.70 ERA
RP Jeffrey Springs: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 SO, 4.73 ERA
2B Luis La O: 3-4, double, HR ()
Three relievers combined to fan ten and permit only three runners in six innings. I haven't written much about 26-year-old Luis Yander La O, a Cuban signed before 2017 like Yanio Perez. La O doubled and scored Frisco's first run, clubbed a three-run homer in the 6th and singled in the winner in extras. La O missed nearly all of May to injury and was hitting .210/.242/.258. He's played everywhere but catcher, center and short. High-A: Down East 0, at Myrtle Beach (CHC) 3
Record: 30-26, 2 GB
SP Emerson Martinez: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 4.29 ERA
RP CD Pelham: 1 IP, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1.59 ERA
C Matt Whatley: 1-2, double, walkLF Eric Jenkins: 1-2, double, walk
Down East has scored six runs in the last five games and fallen two games out of the lead for the first time since mid-May. Eric Jenkins and Matt Whatley were responsible for nearly all of the offense. Emerson Martinez hasn't had a terrible start all season, but last night was the first since April 11 in which he didn't allow at least three runs. Low-A: Hickory 0, at Lakewood (PHI) 2
Record: 20-31, 13 GB
SP Tyree Thompson: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 3.99 ERA
Tyree Thompson offered his first scoreless start of the season following three straight with one (unearned) run. The four strikeouts tied a season high. Those just aren't his thing.
The Crawdads didn't reach base after the 5th. Five Years Ago Yesterday
Texas activated Ronald Guzman in Hickory. He'd missed two months with a knee injury. The only younger Crawdad was Nomar Mazara. Hickory All-Stars: pitchers C.J. Edwards and Alexander Claudio, catcher Jorge Alfaro, infielders Joey Gallo and Ryan Rua, and outfielder Lewis Brinson. Myrtle Beach's Jerad Eickhoff set a personal record with 11 strikeouts. Today's Starters:
Yes, the whole system is off, as are eight of the ten minor leagues and most of the Majors. The draft is the marquee event of the day, and MLB promotes it much more heavily than in the past. By total coincidence, MLB and the union have bargained away nearly all draft picks' leverage in recent CBAs.