With the professional team poised to continue their success for multiple years going forward, the Rangers used their early round picks to nab high-ceiling, high school talent. In the first two rounds, Texas had five of the first 93 picks and used all of them on high school players. Then with one selection per round, Texas took only college players from Round 3 - 13, finally gambling on a couple of two-sport high schoolers with the 14th and 15th round selections, more on that later.
Quick lesson on this draft strategy, per the new CBA, teams are allotted a specific budget for their collective picks in Rounds 1 - 10. Go over your budget and you will be penalized in taxes and even loss of future draft picks. The idea here is to take out the "signability" factor and have the worst teams selecting the best players. My "soap box" opinion of this is best saved for a later date.
Now, I'm still not getting my invite to the Rangers "War Room," so until I do, this is just my analysis on the situation. With their first five picks, Texas took some high-end, high ceiling teenagers, and signing all five gentlemen will likely push the team a tad over the budget. Therefore, how do you compensate for that, you draft college players who will be easier to sign and likely for less than the "slotted amount."
Here is a rundown of the Rangers 15 selections on Day Two of the MLB Draft, then I'll breakdown a few of these.
2nd Round (83rd overall) - Jermyll "Jamie" Jarmon - CF - HS - 6-3, 205 - R/R
2nd (93rd) - Nick Williams - OF - HS - 6-3, 195 - L/L
3rd (123rd) - Patrick Cantwell - C - SR/4yr - 6-2, 205 - R/R
4th (156th) - Alec Asher - RHP - JUCO - 6-4, 220 - R/R
5th (186th) - Preston Beck - OF - JR/4yr - 6-2, 190 - L/R
6th (216th) - Royce Bolinger - CF - JR/4yr - 6-2, 200 - R/R
7th (246th) - Cameron Schiller - 2B - SR/4yr - 6-0, 195 - S/R
8th (276th) - Cody Kendall - RHP - SR/4yr - 6-2 - R-R
9th (306th) - John Niggli - RHP - JR/4yr - 6-4, 185 - R-R
10th (336th) - Casey Shiver - RHP - JR/4yr - 6-2, 175 - R/R
11th (366th) - Eric Brooks - RHP - JUCO - 6-1, 195 - R/R
12th (396th) - Keone Kela - RHP - JUCO - 6-1, 190 - R/R
13th (426th) - Sam Stafford - LHP - SR/4yr - 6-4, 200 - L/L
14th (456th) - Kwinton Smith - OF - HS - 6-3, 175 - R/R
15th (486th) - Jameis Winston - CF - HS - 6-4, 190 - S/R
Day Two for the Rangers was a tale of two separate draft strategies. The first part occurred within 10 minutes of each other as the Rangers selected two more high-ceiling HS prospects in Jamie Jarmon and Nick Williams, both centerfields and both are raw, toolsy, athletes.
Jarmon was the Delaware High School Football Player of the Year, but with the speed, bat control, and arm he has, it's much easier to understand why the Rangers selected him 83rd overall and his future is on the diamond. Jamie's downsides are his Baseball IQ and instincts, if it weren't for these he'd likely have been considered right alongside Lewis Brinson (Rangers 1st round pick). Current Rangers prospect Jake Skole was very similar to Jarmon at this point, great athlete, just needed to improve the Baseball IQ. If Jarmon can, then he could fly through the farm system alongside Skole, Brinson, and even Jordan Akins.
Nick Williams, prep-star out of South Texas, continues the same theme as Brinson and Jarmon. Amazing athlete, plus-RAW power, very fast runner, however needs to improve the knowledge of the game. Williams has a very strong arm, pitcher in high school as well and reportedly regularly touched 94mph, but his outfield arm is a project. He is an above-average contact swinger at the moment and with an increased experience could become a legit power threat from the left side of the plate.
When talking about high-ceiling, raw, high school outfields, 1 in 3 will become an everyday starter in the Majors with the potential to be an All-Star, 1 in 3 will be a bust, and 1 in 3 will be a high-end minor league prospects with the potential to be a difference maker in the Bigs. I introduce three new Rangers - Lewis Brinson, Jamie Jarmon, and Nick Williams...1 in 3 Rule.
After the high school talent, the Rangers turned to "easier to sign" college talent. Selecting Stony Brook, defensive stud catcher Patrick Cantwell, if he improves his bat could become a legit option, in the 3rd round. In the 4th, RHP Alec Asher, who commands a fastball touching 97 and a plus-slider, but still needs plenty of professional refinement. Asher, the first of seven pitchers selected on Day Two, is a Tommy John surgery survivor when he was 14 years old.
In the 5th and 6th rounds the organization selected OFs Preston Beck (UT-Arlington) and Royce Bolinger (Gonzaga). Beck, who recently played outfield with the Oakland A's 2010 Tenth Overall selection Michael Choice. When compared to Choice, Beck doesn't quite have the same power, but has a better bat, which he showcased in 2012 with a school-record and Southland Conference RBI title of 71. I type that and it sinks in more, 71 RBI in a Division-I conference is no slouch or misleading stat, it's quite an accomplishment for the 2009 Bishop Lynch High School alum. (HA...sorry folks, I had to add that fact in, Preston played baseball at Lynch and graduated in 2009, I played baseball at Lynch and graduated in 2001. Preston is in the Rangers organization, I theorize about running the Rangers organization. Preston is now a Ranger...I...I write about Preston being a Ranger. Represent those Friars, Preston!)
Bolinger, currently a CF, but projects to become a RF, has a plus-plus arm, in strength and accuracy. His bat isn't a joke either and immediately after the pick received two quick comparisons. One, he was the right-handed version of Preston Beck and because of his power potential and arm, could be a "Lil' Cruz."
After Senior 2B Cam Schiller (Oral Roberts), Texas selected five straight college RHP: Cody Kendall (Fresno State), John Niggli (Liberty), Casey Shiver (S. Polytechnic St.), Eric Brooks (McLennan CC), Keone Kela (Everett CC) and then left-handed Sam Stafford (University of Texas).
The Rangers wrapped-up Day Two by selecting high school centerfielders Kwinton Smith and Jameis Winston. For those that know their high school and college football, both players are currently, strongly committed to play college football next year. Smith (WR - South Carolina) and Winston (QB - Florida State) was also considered the #1 prospect. Per Rangers' director of amateur scouting, Kip Fagg, the thought process here was giving both players options if they wanted to continue to pursue baseball during the offseason of football. BaseballAmerica had Winston as the #59 overall baseball prospect, but because of the strong belief that he would play QB at Florida State, the switch-hitter drop all the way to 486th.
Day Three is "diamond in the rough" day, the Rangers will first continue to look for the best talent available, regardless of position, then later in the day look for them to begin selecting players to help fill out the instructional league rosters.