We are here and there is still no sports to watch.
The Dallas Cowboys had a great draft, but I write about baseball, and Dallas Sports Nation has covered that wonderfully.
Let’s go back to 1994 when Globe Life Park opened and see who were the best draft picks each year of its existence. Some of the more recent drafts could change with the emergence of a prospect.
Criteria: In a year where there are multiple big league players with good careers, the pick taken the latest could be considered the better pick.
This is all my opinion, so it is subjective. I welcome all arguments and criticism. In fact, I almost demand it so we can talk about sports.
1994: Scott Podsednik
Podsednik was the 3rd round pick by the Rangers out of Abbott Texas and the second pick they made. They took catcher Kevin Brown in the second round.
Podsednik never played for the Rangers in the big leagues, however, he had the longest major league career of anyone drafted that year. He was part of a trade-in 1995 to bring back Bobby Witt from the Florida Marlins. He ended up playing 11 years in the big leagues.
1995: Ryan Dempster
Dempster was another 3rd round pick out of Canada. The Rangers missed horribly in the first round with Jonathan Johnson. Ryan went on to play 16 years in the major leagues and spent half a year with the Rangers in 2012.
In 1996 he was part of the trade to the Florida Marlins that brought John Burkett to the Rangers. Burkett helped the Rangers to their first playoff appearance and was their first pitcher to ever win a playoff game.
1996: R.A. Dickey
Dickey was a first-round pick out of Tennessee. He ended up playing 15 years in the major leagues. He played five for the Rangers. Dickey converted to a knuckleball pitcher after leaving the Rangers. He even won a Cy Young for the Mets in 2012.
In the 31st round that year, the Rangers took Travis Hafner from a community college in Kansas. He ended up with a good career for the Indians after Texas traded him for Ryan Drese. But Dickey ended up with a long career and awards.
1997: Mike Lamb
Lamb was a 7th round pick out of Cal State Fullerton. He was originally drafted as a catcher. He changed positions and ended up with a nice 10-year career in the big leagues. He played 4 years for the Rangers and 4 for the Astros. He is probably most remembered as the batter who was robbed by Gary Matthews Jr with a spectacular catch over the center-field wall.
1998: Carlos Pena
Pena was the 10th overall pick that year out of Northeastern University in Boston MA. He only played 1 season with the Rangers but was traded in 2002 in a deal that included Gerald Laird and Ryan Ludwick in the return.
Pena played 14 seasons in the big leagues. It should be noted that Barry Zito was the 3rd round pick that season. He turned down the Rangers offer and was taken 9th overall the next season.
1999: Colby Lewis
This was a tough one. Lewis was the first-round pick that year. But Hank Blalock was the 3rd round pick that year. Lewis wasn’t spectacular before being released. He was signed a released for a few years before going to Japan in 2008.
Texas signed him again as a free agent in 2010. He ended up being the workhorse for the two World Series teams. Lewis ended up playing 9 seasons with the Rangers. No offense to Blalock, but Lewis helped the Rangers get to the World Series.
2000: Lance Nix
Nix was a 4th round pick in 2000 out of Midland Texas. Nix isn’t the big story of this draft class. The big story is the one that was sent away. In the 9th round, the Rangers took Edwin Encarnacion and ended up trading him and Ruben Mateo for Rob Bell.
Probably one of the worst trades in Rangers history. Nix played 4 years for the Rangers and a total of 11 years. But Encarnacion is still playing and has 414 HRs. DOH!
2001: Mark Teixeira
Probably the easiest one since 1994. Teixeira was the 5th overall pick out of Georgia Tech. He not only played great baseball for the Rangers, but he was also the main piece of the greatest trade in Rangers history. A trade that brought Texas 5 players including three from the World Series steams. Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison. Tex ended up playing 14 seasons and hitting 409 HRs. He was a multi-year all-star and potential HOF player.
2002: Jesse Chavez
Chavez was taken by the Rangers in the 42nd round of that year. Although he was traded before playing for the Rangers. He ended up back here and is an integral part of the Rangers staff. Drew Meyer was the first-round pick that year if you want to know how the draft ended up.
Chavez was originally traded to Pittsburgh for Kip Wells. He has ended up with over 12 years of big-league service and a 3.6 WAR. He is a current Ranger now.
2003: Ian Kinsler
This may be the best overall draft pick in Rangers’ history when considering where he was taken. A 17th round pick out of Missouri, he ended up playing 14 years in the big leagues and 8 for the Rangers. He was the leadoff hitter in the World Series years. He has a career 55.2 WAR and made 4 All-Star teams
Kinsler played with a chip on his shoulder and rubbed a lot of teams wrong with his brashness. But he wasn’t a showboat and proved his worth on the field.
2004: Brandon Boggs
Unlike 2003, 2004 didn’t produce much in the draft. Boggs had the longest tenure with the Rangers. He was a 4th round pick out of Georgia Tech and played about three years with the Rangers and 4 years total in the big leagues. Thomas Diamond was the first-round pick. He never really materialized with the Rangers.
2005: Taylor Teagarden
Taylor was the 3rd round pick out of the University of Texas. John Mayberry was the first-round pick. His numbers were slightly better than Teagarden, but he never played a major league game for the Rangers. He wasn’t even traded for anyone special that might have ranked him higher. That left Teagarden as the better option. He played 8 years in the major leagues with four of them for the Rangers.
2006: Derek Holland
Another great find by the Daniel front office, Holland was a steal in the 25th round out of Wallace Community College in Alabama. He became a top prospect within a couple of years of signing.
He made his Major League debut in 2009 and was a key piece of the 2010 and 2011 World Series teams. He has played 11 years in the big leagues.
2007: Mitch Moreland
Like Kinsler, the Rangers caught gold in the 17th round. Moreland was taken out of Mississippi State. He hit the first HR for a Texas Ranger in the World Series. His rise through the Rangers organization made Chris Davis expendable. He ended up playing 7 years for Texas and won a World Series with the Red Sox. He starts his 11th year in the major leagues this year.
2008: Justin Smoak
Smoak was the 11th overall pick out of South Carolina. He isn’t the top pick because of what he did with Texas. He is the top pick because of what he did for Texas. He was the key piece of the trade with the Seattle Mariners for Cliff Lee in 2010.
Lee was the last piece the Rangers needed to get them to their first World Series. Smoak has played 10 years in the big leagues.
2009: Tanner Scheppers
The Rangers took Matt Purke with the 14th overall pick out of Klein High School in Houston. Had Purke signed, he might have been the easy choice here. But he chose TCU over the Rangers and Scheppers was taken in the supplemental first round.
Scheppers ended up playing 6 years for the Rangers. Never really solidifying a spot in the bullpen or rotation. He did carry a 4.23 ERA. He did battle some injuries which contributed to his short career.
2010: Alex Claudio
Claudio is a great story. Taken in the 27th round out of Puerto Rico, Alex has proven to be a steady left-handed arm in the bullpen. He was with the Rangers for 5 years before being traded in 2018 for a compensatory pick for the Brewers. The Rangers ended up taking Baylor third baseman Davis Wendzel with the pick.
2011: Kyle Hendricks
Taken in the 8th round out of Dartmouth College, Hendricks hasn’t played a major league game with the Rangers. He was part of another bad trade the Rangers made when he was sent to the Cubs for Ryan Dempster along with Christian Villanueva.
Hendricks has had the best career of anyone drafted in 2011. He is also a player who could eventually return and play for the Rangers.
2012: Joey Gallo
Gallo is another easy choice. Lewis Brinson was the first pick that year when he was taken with the 29th overall pick. But 10 picks later, the Rangers chose Gallo in the supplemental first round and convinced him to forgo his commitment to LSU. He would have likely been teammates with Alex Bregman had he attended school. Gallo was a 2019 All-Star. He is on the brink of becoming a superstar. Easy pick this year.
2013: Isiah Kiner-Falefa
We are getting to the rounds where things could eventually change. IKF was a 4th round pick out of Hawaii in 2013. He is one of the best defenders in the organization and he plays everywhere in the infield. Yes! He can also catch. But his competition for best pick could easily change.
In the 30th round of the 2013 draft, the Rangers took Joe Palumbo out of Islip, New York. Some think Palumbo is destined to be a key piece in the Rangers rotation or possibly bullpen. He has a few innings in the big leagues with mixed results. But there is no doubt about one thing, he misses bats.
2014: Brett Martin
Martin was the 4th round pick out of Walters State Community College in TN. The only other pick who has made it to the major leagues with the Rangers was Jose Trevino. He was taken in the 6th round out of Oral Roberts. Martin has solidified himself as a key piece of the current Rangers bullpen. He was a starting pitcher coming out of college. He was also a top prospect as a starter. He did struggle once getting to AA with Frisco as a starter. A move to the bullpen was all he needed. He immediately jumped up the ranks and made his major league debut in 2019.
2015: Scott Heineman
Scott was the 11th round pick out of the University of Oregon. He also made his major league debut in 2019 and will be on the major league roster for 2020. (If they ever play) There are some other names in this draft class that could replace Heineman. Most notably would be their 25th round pick that year Demarcus Evans. Evans will almost certainly make his major league debut in 2020 should it ever get underway.
BEGINNING IN 2016 THRU 2019 THERE ARE NO MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS
2016: Sam Huff
With no major-league players, these next three years are pure speculation. Huff was the 7th round pick out of Arcadia AZ. The first-round pick was Cole Ragans. He is recovering from his second UCL tear. He burst on the scene after being drafted. But injuries plagued the first two picks. Alex Speas is also injured.
2017: Rickey Vanasco
This was a toss-up. The second-round pick and third overall choice by the Rangers were Hans Crouse. Crouse has some amazing numbers so far. But taken in the 15th round, Vanasco’s are better.
In 83 innings, Vanasco has a 2.38 ERA and has struck out 116 as a starter. His fastball has increased to the upper 90’s even touching 100 mph. Crouse has more innings, but that’s because Vanasco missed some time with concussion protocol issues.
2018: Cole Uvila
Most are probably scratching their head and wondering why Cole Winn isn’t the best pick for 2018. It is a great question worth an explanation. Winn will most likely be the better player once everything plays out. However, Uvila was the 40th round pick that year out of Georgia State University. Since being drafted he has a 1.96 ERA in 96.1 innings.
If that’s not enough, he has also struck out 143. Uvila is older and ahead of Winn who was drafted out of high school.
2019: Josh Jung
Jung was the 8th overall pick out of Texas Tech University. After being drafted, Jung leads the Raiders to College World Series. After losing in Omaha, Jung signed with Texas and ended up playing 44 games of pro ball. He had 198 plate appearances with the AZ Rangers and Hickory.
He hit a combined .316 with 2 HR’s and a .831 OPS which confirmed how good he is. He was expected to start out in Hickory or Down East with an outside chance of landing in Frisco. COVID19 has halted all of those plans.
These are the top Draft Picks for each year of the Globe Life Park era. These are my opinions and not those of anyone else.
Please feel free to dispute or argue a case for any other players.
Featured Image: Getty Images/Ian Kinsler U. of Missouri