ARLINGTON, Texas — Call it a blessing or a curse, but the Texas Rangers have the No. 2 overall pick in this summer’s MLB Draft. The Rangers had the second-worst record in baseball last season, which forced management to fully commit to a rebuild before the first official season at Globe Life Field, their brand new $1.2 billion ballpark, had concluded.
The Rangers don’t get a lot of love for the current state of their farm system. Ahead of this season, MLB.com ranked the Rangers 21st of 30 clubs while Baseball America has Texas ranked 24th. While the Rangers are praised with having a lot of quality depth on the farm, the two biggest knocks are the lack of high-impact talent and the pitching staff’s struggles with arm injuries.
In turn, Sunday comes with a lot of hype as fans wait on pins and needles to see who the Rangers will select with the highest pick the franchise has had since 1974. It’s a chance for the franchise to add high-impact talent with two selections in the first 38 picks of the draft, while they can continue to fill out an already deep system with the second pick in each round.
Truth be told, next week is a very crucial week for the Rangers. There is a lot of pressure, especially at No. 2 overall, to get this right.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the draft next week.
When Is The Draft?
- Sunday, July 11 @ 6:00 p.m. CT: Round 1, Competitive Balance Round A
- Monday, July 12 @ 12:00 p.m. CT: Rounds 2-10, Competitive Balance Round B
- Tuesday, July 13 @ 11:00 a.m. CT: Rounds 11-20
The MLB Draft is typically in June, but was moved this year to be part of All-Star week festivities.
Where Can We Watch?
- Sunday TV Broadcast: MLB Network, ESPN
- Monday & Tuesday Live Stream: MLB.com
- Location: Bellco Theatre in Denver, Colorado
The All-Star Game and MLB Draft was originally supposed to be in Atlanta, but Major League Baseball chose to move the location after Georgia passed voting legislation that the league viewed as restrictive.
Who Can We Expect At No. 2?
Of course, nobody knows who the Rangers will select with the No. 2 pick in the draft. There are a handful of players the Rangers have been tied to in one way or another, and they’ll have a shot at any player on the board with the exception of whoever the Pittsburgh Pirates select at No. 1.
Here are just a few of the names you could see the Rangers take on Sunday night (all grades are from Baseball America):
Marcelo Mayer, SS, Eastlake HS, Chula Vista, Calif.
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 185 | Bat/Throw: L/R
Hit: 65 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Field: 60 | Arm: 60 | Overall: 65
Commit/Drafted: Southern California
- MLB.com: Pirates (No. 1)
- Baseball America: Pirates (No. 1)
While there is no true consensus No. 1 pick this year, Mayer seems to be the favorite to go first overall to the Pirates. He has a high hit tool with respectable power, and is viewed as potentially the best defensive shortstop in a deep class.
If the Pirates go in another direction and Mayer is available, the Rangers would have to strongly consider drafting this potential five-tool star.
Jordan Lawlar, SS, Dallas Jesuit HS
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 185 | Bat/Throw: R/R
Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Field: 60 | Arm: 55 | Overall: 65
- MLB.com: Diamondbacks (No. 6)
- Baseball America: Rangers (No. 2)
The No. 1 prospect in Baseball America’s Top 500 has been tied to the Rangers more than any of the position players on the board, which makes sense since he’s right in their backyard. But there is also a lot of reasons to like Lawlar. He has plus-tools across the board, and is looked at as a mature and intelligent player for his age.
If the Rangers drafted him, they could be drafting a regular All-Star if he hits his potential. His floor still seems to be a regular player in the big leagues with defensive value. But at No. 2 overall, the Rangers are under pressure to draft a player who can hit their ceiling.
Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 205 | Bat/Throw: R/R
Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 60
Commit/Drafted: Yankees, 2019 (20th round)
- MLB.com: Rangers (No. 2)
- Baseball America: Red Sox (No. 4)
If the fans were the ones making this pick for Jon Daniels, Chris Young and Kip Fagg, Jack Leiter would be a Texas Ranger. Leiter, the son of former big league pitcher Al Leiter, is definitely on the Rangers’ radar and MLB.com has Leiter going second overall to Texas in their latest mock draft. He has a four-pitch mix he can rely on, and he misses bats in and out of the strike zone.
There are some durability concerns with a lack of innings in both high school and college, and it’s no secret the Rangers farm system has pitchers that have struggled with the same thing. However, Leiter would not only be a huge PR boost for the Rangers, he could very well turn out to be the impact starter the Rangers desperately need.
Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 245 | Bat/Throw: R/R
Fastball: 60 | Slider: 70 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 60
Commit/Drafted: Rockies, 2018 (38th round)
- MLB.com: Royals (No. 7)
- Baseball America: Royals (No. 7)
Rocker was the consensus No. 1 pick heading into the college season. With a plus fastball and a dominant slider coupled with traditional size for a starting pitcher, Rocker seemed destined to become a Pirate at the Midsummer Classic. But despite a successful season, his stock fell due to a velocity drop in the middle of the season.
It’s unknown if the velo drop was due to fatigue or an undisclosed arm injury, but it raised serious questions regarding his durability. Pitchers are already a risky investment. Raising red flags like this dropped Rocker in draft boards across the industry. But the talent and size are difficult to ignore.
Henry Davis, C, Louisville
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 210 | Bat/Throw: R/R
Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Field: 45 | Arm: 70 | Overall: 60
- MLB.com: Red Sox (No. 4)
- Baseball America: Diamondbacks (No. 6)
Davis is viewed as the best catcher in the draft and maybe the most polished hitter as well. He has a very strong arm from behind the plate and his ability to barrel the baseball is a highly coveted trait by big league clubs.
The Rangers are very deep at catcher already, with No. 2 prospect Sam Huff still needing to put the finishing touches on his development. But with the No. 2 pick, position doesn’t matter quite as much. It really is a best player available type of selection. There just hasn’t been a lot of noise regarding Davis and the Rangers to this point.
Kahlil Watson, SS, Wake Forest (N.C.) HS
Height: 5-9 | Weight: 178 | Bat/Throw: L/R
Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Field: 55 | Arm: 55 | Overall: 60
Commit/Drafted: North Carolina State
- MLB.com: Orioles (No. 5)
- Baseball America: Orioles (No. 5)
Watson is yet another prep shortstop that is highly regarded in this year’s draft, though he’s not quite in the same tier as Mayer or Lawlar. He’s definitely a change of pace from those two as well, standing only 5-foot-9, but still does earn praise for a strong combination of athleticism and tools that give him a risky-but-high ceiling.
Brady House, SS, Winder-Barrow HS, Winder, Ga.
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 215 | Bat/Throw: R/R
Hit: 55 | Power: 70 | Run: 50 | Field: 55 | Arm: 70 | Overall: 60
- MLB.com: Rockies (No. 8)
- Baseball America: Rockies (No. 8)
House is the fourth prep shortstop to earn praise near the top of the draft class. With a ton of raw power and a 70-grade arm, he’s an attractive option in the top 10. Scouts were a bit concerned with his swing-and-miss during the showcase circuit, but were still impressed by the flashes of potential.
House is all but certain to be available to the Rangers, but with at least two if not three other shortstops available that come with less risk, there doesn’t seem to be a match at No. 2 overall.
How Much Money Do The Rangers Have To Spend?
The Rangers have the third-highest bonus pool at $12,641,000. The Pirates have the largest pool at $14,394,000 while the Detroit Tigers come in second with $14,253,800.
The Houston Astros were stripped of their first- and second-round picks as part of their punishment for stealing signs in 2017. They have the smallest bonus pool at $2,940,000, which is $1,706,100 less than any other team and a full $5,918,380 less than the average bonus pool.
Here are the Rangers slot values for the first 10 rounds. Clubs can spend up to $125,000 on picks in rounds 11-20 without it counting towards their bonus allotment. Any bonus above $125,000 comes out of the club’s bonus allotment. As of last year, non-drafted free agents are limited to $20,000 bonuses.
- First Round: $7,789,900
- Second Round: $1,952,300
- Third Round: $857,400
- Fourth Round: $565,600
- Fifth Round: $418,200
- Sixth Round: $312,400
- Seventh Round: $243,000
- Eighth Round: $191,500
- Ninth Round: $161,400
- Tenth Round: $149,300
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