Day One of the Draft in the books, 60 picks down and over a thousand to go. The Texas Rangers selected 29th, 39th, and 53rd (sorry...last week I typed 52nd and not 53rd...my bad, I've got stubby fingers).
Here is a recap of who the Rangers selected:
29th pick (1st Round) - Lewis Brinson - OF (Coral Springs HS, Florida)
I'm super-pumped about this draft pick, this young man is going to be a project for the next few years, but how he projects could make this totally worth it. Instead of rehashing my thoughts, here is what I wrote last week when I tabbed Brinson as one of six players that I believe the Rangers are targeting.
Brinson is currently being projected 39th-52nd overall pick. Raw, toolsy, athletic, young, fast high school centerfields...LOVE these prospects! And since Byron Buxton, Albert Almora, David Dahl, and maybe even D.J. Davis will all be gone before Texas selects, I introduce Lewis. This young man screams, franchise-centerfield, just like Dexter Fowler and Cameron Maybin did 3-5 years ago. Selecting Brinson, would be very similar to Texas 2009 first round selection of OF Jake Skole, it means you are selecting for 5-7 years from that point. Brinson is a project, and it'll take time for him to learn the professional game of baseball. But with what tools he currently possessions and the body frame he has, this risk is well-worth the potential reward it could have.
In fact, when Texas was on the clock for the 29th pick, Buxton (2), Almora (6), Dahl (10), and Davis (17) had all been selected. As a senior this past season Brinson batted .394 with four doubles, triples, and home runs. He drove in 21 runs and stole 11 bases. The young man is a solid athlete, standing 6'4" and weighting in at 190 pounds, strength and conditioning coaches dreams.
Texas has drafted for 2017 at the extreme earliest right here. Brinson projects to be able to hold down CF and become a legit five-tool player. Plus, and the best news so far, are reports coming as early as late last night that Brinson and the Rangers were already close to working out a deal. Brinson, who has committed to the University of Florida and is a huge Marlins fan, said, "I feel great. I've been a Marlins fan growing up, and I still am, but I'm a bigger Texas Rangers fan now. It feels great knowing that I'm going to be a Texas Ranger and being a part of their organization and everything they stand for." Well, Mr. Brinson, I'm just as excited to have you as well.
39th pick (1st Compensation Round) - Joey Gallo - 3B (Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, Nevada
Gallo is the perfect example of the "draft the best available player." Gallo has always been a player that I would love to get our hands on, but figured the Rangers would continue to go after more high school pitching talent than hitting. But then again explain to me how you'd pass on a 6'4", 220-pound, LH-hitting, 18-year-old, power hitter. And when I speak of power, Courtney Hawkins (CWS - 13th), Victor Roache (MIL - 28th), Keon Barnum (CWS - 48th), and Gallo are widely considered the four-man sqaud of the power of the draft. Obviously two were gone and therefore Texas pounced on Gallo.
When this selection was made, I paused, smiled, and told fellow writer Bo Reed, "I feel just like I did when we drafted Mike Olt. Gallo could be the left-handed hitting Olt."
Last season in high school Gallo batted .509 with 21 home runs, 80 RBI, 66 runs, and stole 13 bases. 80 RBI!!!! That is a Nevada single-season record. And his 21 HRs added to a career number of 65 HRs, which is also a state record. Gallo has committed to play ball at LSU, but the Rangers' front office made it very clear that signing both these young men will not be an issue.
This draft pick was in compensation for C.J. Wilson signing with the Angels this past offseason.
53rd pick (1st Compensation Round) - Collin Wiles - RHP (Blue Valley West HS, Kansas)
Kansas High School Player of the Year, last season it was #5 overall Bubba Starling, so good company there. Wiles is a strike-thrower already who needs to fine-tune all his pitches. This past season he went 8-0 with a 0.10 ERA (nope, not a typo), he struckout 76 in his 49.1 IP.
Wiles is 6'4" and has the pitchers body frame, just needs to grow into more. He currently has a commitment to Vanderbilt, but again the Rangers have been very vocal about signing these early picks.
Not going to lie, this one came out of nowhere for me. Initially I was scrambling my brain for who we selected. But I will say this 1) the Rangers front office has more than earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt. Obviously they se something in this young man that most media outlets did not. 2) I've heard that the Toronto Blue Jays were looking to select Wiles with either the 58th or 60th pick. I believe in the Rangers pick here and will likely be writing many times from now, "and this is why I'm not working for the organization."
Day Two has begun, and will have rounds 2-15. Tomorrow I will have another breakdown of the Rangers picks and include some analysis of some of those picks.