The 2021 MLB draft is going to be 20 rounds compared to the 40 it used be, with the exception of 2020 when COVID reduced it to 5 rounds. Looking back on the past draft picks for each round, the Rangers success seems to be closer to the top with some scattered successes in the teens. Of the best player selected in the Top 20 rounds, the best overall player is a close tie between round 10 and 17. Especially with my criteria.
Criteria: The success of a pick has to be the overall effect on the Texas Rangers and not whether the player succeeded later with another team. An example would be Edwin Encarnacian who was drafted in the 9th round by Texas in 2000, but became an impact player later in his career after being traded for Rob Bell in 2001. Encarnacian would have easily been the best 9th round pick had the trade brought an impact player in return, as the actual 9th round winner was. Warning!! When you see a name that isn’t all that impressive, remember how bad the rest of the picks for that round have to be.
Let us begin.
Round 20: RHP Kameron Loe was the 2002 pick in the 20th round out of California State University. Loe played a total of close to 9 years in the big leagues with parts on 5 years with Texas. He had a career ERA of 4.49 in 569 innings pitched.
Round 19: 1B Blaine Crim was the 2019 pick in the 19th round out of Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. He is High A Hickory in 2021. The fact he is the best pick the Rangers have made in the 19th round should tell you the success they have had in this round. In fact the only reason Crim wins is because he still has a shot to make the big leagues.
Round 18: RHP Nick Martinez was the 2011 pick in the 18th round out of Fordham College in New York. Martinez played 4 years in the big leagues all with Texas. He totalled 415 innings and had an ERA of 4.77.
Round 17: 2B Ian Kinsler was the 2003 pick in the 17th round and may be the best pick ever made by the Rangers. He as taken out of the University Missouri after being drafted two other times. Kinsler played 14 years int he big leagues with 8 of them in Texas. He was a big part of the two World Series teams. Turns out the 17th round was a good round for the Rangers. They also drafted Mitch Moreland and Ryan Rua in the 17th round.
Round 16: C Mike Stanley out the University of Florida was the 16th round pick in 1985. He need up playing 15 years in the big leagues with 6 of them being in Texas.
Round 15: 1B Pete O’Brien was the 15th round pick in 1979 out of the University of Nebraska. O’Brien play 12 years in the big leagues with his first 8 being in Texas.
Round 14: RHP Nick Tepesch in the best pick the Rangers have made in the 14th round. That says a lot about their luck in this round. Tepesch was taken out of the University of Missouri in 2007.
Round 13: CF David Hulse was the 13th round pick in 1990. Back in the days of tryouts, the Rangers found Hulse at a tryout after playing at Schreiner College in Kerrville, TX.
Round 12: RHP Keone Kela was the 12th round pick in 2012 out of Everett Community College in Washington. Not only did Kela play 4 years in Texas , but was traded to Pittsburg for LHP Taylor Hearn and 1B/3B prospect Sherten Apostel.
Round 11: Although Scott Heineman was a 11th round pick and recent Ranger, I went with 1985 pick OF Kevin Reimer, who ended up playing 6 seasons for Texas. Heineman only played parts of 2 seasons with Texas.
Round 10: In 1990 the Rangers took future Rangers great Rusty Greer out of the University of Montevallo in Alabama. Greer ended up in the Rangers Hall of Fame after playing 9 years for Texas.
Round 9: RHP Pete Fairbanks was the best 9th round pick after he was taken there in 2015 out of the University of Missouri. Fairbanks isn’t known for his time in Texas but for who he was traded for. Current Rangers second baseman Nick Solak was acquired for Fairbanks in 2019.
Round 8: Most would assume that C Jim Sundberg would be the easy choice here. The Rangers selected him in the 8th round in 1972. However they actually redrafted him in the 1st round in the secondary draft of 1973 a few months later. That leaves IF Wayne Tolleson as the best 8th round pick in 1978 from Western Carolina University. Tolleson played parts of 5 years for the Rangers before going to New York.
Round 7: C/1B/3B Mike Lamb was the Rangers 7th round pick in 1997 out of Cal State Fullerton. Lamb ended up playing four years for Texas before being traded to New York who ended up trading him to the Astros. Lamb is probably best remember for the HR he was robbed of by Gary Matthews Jr, in what can be described as the “best catch” at Globe Life Park.
Round 6: C Jose Trevino was the 6th round pick in 2014 out of Oral Roberts University. Trevino is currently the starting catcher at the big league level and in his 3rd season as a major leaguer.
Round 5: LHP C.J. Wilson was the 5th round pick by Texas in 2001 out of Loyola Marymount University. Wilson played 8 years for Texas and was considered their ace on the 2011 World Series team. Along with Kevin Brown, Wilson is what can be considered one of only two home grown aces the Rangers have drafted.
Round 4: SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa Falefa was the 4th round pick by Texas in 2013 out of Mid Pacific High sSchool in Honolulu HI. Kiner-Falefa is no win his third season on the major league team with a Gold Glove at third base. Once a utility guy, IKF is now a bog part of the future for the Rangers.
Round 3: It’s ironic that the third round is where the Rangers have drafted two of their best third baseman in team history. Hank Blalock was a SS out of Rancho Bernado HS in San Diego in 1999. He played 8 seasons for Texas and made 2 All-Star teams. He edges out 1986 third round pick Dean Palmer who was also a SS coming out of high school in Tallahassee FL. Palmer played 7 seasons for the Rangers.
Round 2: RHP Roger Pavlick is the surprise best 2nd round pick the Rangers have ever had. He was taken in 1986 out of Aldine HS in Houston. He played 7 years for Texas and had a career record of 47-39 with a 4.58 ERA.
This brings us to the first round. There have been some good first round picks. Jeff Burroughs in 1969. Bobby Witt in 1985 or Kevin Brown in 1986. Maybe Rick Helling in 1992 or R. A Dickey in 1996. All of them are good picks who had some success with the Rangers. But the biggest impact player taken in the first round?
Round 1: In 2001 the Rangers selected 3B Mark Teixeira 5th overall out of Georgia Tech University. Tex gets the nod for two reasons. He was very good in his four seasons for the Rangers. He was an All-Star and won two Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Sluggers. His biggest contribution might have been the trade to Atlanta in 2007 which netted the Rangers three major contributors to their World Series teams in Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz.
The Rangers have the 2nd overall pick in 2021. They also have the 38th and 73rd overall picks. For a rebuilding team, this is a great chance to pick up of some good prospects in the first three rounds.
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