The MLB draft is set to take place on June 3-5. The Texas Rangers have 4 picks out of the top 100. Their first pick is number 8 after finishing with only 67 wins. The Rangers have picks 41 (From Brewers via trade for Alex Claudio), 50 and 86.
Trying to guess where the Rangers are leaning should be easier than in the past since they have a top 10 pick this year. The problem is that nobody can come to a consensus on whether they are taking the best player available, or someone who will sign below slot. This would open up bonus money to sign another good player who could potentially slide to the 41st pick.
The Rangers have gone with high school players the last three years with their top picks. Cole Ragans in 2016, Bubba Thompson in 2017 and Cole Winn in 2018. They are also known to go with high school kids in earlier rounds.
There is more development time, but the payoff can be greater. Everything this year is pointing to a college pick. The mock drafts are all over the board with college players going to the Rangers at number eight.
Best Case Scenario
The absolute best case for the Rangers would be for one of the top 5 prospects to slide to them. It’s pretty well concluded that Adley Rutschman is going number one to the Orioles. Former Texas Ranger first rounder Bobby Witt’s son, Bobby Witt Jr has been linked to the Royals at number two. The next three could go in any order. But don’t expect Andrew Vaughn J J Bleday or Riley Green to slide down to the Rangers either. So, where does that leave the Rangers with the eighth pick? There have been multiple mock drafts leading up to June 3rd. There will be more to drop right up until the first pick. Here are the likely candidates. I have listed them in the order of who I predict it would be.
Possible Rangers First Round Picks
Hunter Bishop OF ASU: Bishop is ranked as the number 7 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. He is expected to be there with TCU’s Nick Lodolo linked to Cincinnati at number 7. Bishop really came onto the scene this year. His draft stock rose after his summer league numbers and continued into the season for Arizona State.
Jackson Rutledge RHP San Jacinto JC: Rutledge is ranked number 14 by Baseball America and number 13 by MLB Pipeline. Originally an Arkansas Razorback he transferred to San Jacinto after his freshmen year. He is tall at 6’8 and has a fastball that hits the upper 90’s. Some believe he would sign for under slot value freeing up money for later picks.
Alek Manoah RHP West Virginia: Manoah is ranked 13 by Baseball America and 10 by MLP Pipeline. Manoah had control issues when he first came on campus. His fastball sits 95-97. This year his control has improved tremendously. He caught scouts eyes in the Cape Cod league where his strikeouts were high. He is also a large man at 6’6 and 260 lbs.
Brett Baty 3B Lake Travis HS: Baty is ranked 19 by Baseball America and 17 by MLB Pipeline. This would be another below slot signing pick. Baty is already 19 and committed to the University of Texas. Baty has some of the best raw power in the 2019 draft. The question is whether the Rangers are willing to go high school player this high in the draft. It would be different if this was Bobby Witt Jr or Riley Greene. But a project this early would mean that have their eyes on someone at 41.
Josh Jung 3B Texas Tech: Jung is currently ranked 16 by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. This is an another below slot pick and Rangers fans are already high on him because of his success at Texas Tech. There are questions of whether he would stick at 3B. The Rangers could use a good third base prospect. Jung may not be that guy. He isn’t athletic enough to be an outfielder and may not possess the power for a corner infield spot.
Nick Lodolo LHP TCU: Lodolo is ranked 8th by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. But he is also linked to the Reds at number 7 in most mock drafts. He was drafted as a supplemental pick in 2016 but turned down the Pirates offer to attend TCU. He is expected to be the first college pitcher drafted. If he should be there at number 8 it would leave the Rangers with a decision to make. He hasn’t been dominant at TCU but is a very good left hander. He is not a below slot pick. He has also shown his willingness to spurn teams if he feels he is not getting his worth.
Corbin Carrol OF Lakeside HS (Wash): Carrol is ranked 12 by Baseball America and 14 by MLB Pipeline. The only reason he is on here is that some mock drafts have linked him to Texas. This would be another under slot pick. He is not big at 5’11 but his power is legit. This would be another high schooler who could take longer develop than a college kid.
If somehow any of these names are available at pick 41, they almost certainly would be taken by Texas. Unless the reason for the slide is sign-ability or injury.
Featured Photo: Nick Ramirez