Enjoying a Draft.


The Rangers made out like bandits in the 2015 MLB draft.  According to Texas Rangers Director of Scouting, Kipp Fagg, Texas was able to collect players they had ranked in their top 20 with their first 4 picks. 

Let me say that again:  When the Rangers ranked all of the players available in this year's draft, Texas was able to grab 4 out of the top 20.  

I am not sure I have ever heard of a draft like this.  Here is a list of the Rangers first five picks with a quick breakdown (Each player is linked back to Keith Law's Insider breakdown for ESPN.com.  If you are not already an Insider, you should be. Law's work by itself is well worth the annual fee)- 

1 - Dillon Tate, RHP, UC Santa Barbara 

Tate has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the draft, but has some work to do in order to develop a third pitch and to work on some small mechanic issues in his delivery to limit strain on his arm.  Dillon was used as a closer for UCSB in 2014 and was also the closer for Team USA, but worked his way into the starting rotation this year, meaning that although his level of experience is lower, so are the number of innings logged on that right arm.  Tate was considered by some as an option for pick 1.1, throwing a fastball that sits at 92-96, but touching 98; with a slider as his out pitch.  His changeup needs work, but has potential.  Tate won't make the immediate impact as some first rounders such as Stephen Strasburg, but his long term potential is nearly limitless. 

2- Eric Jenkins, OF, West Columbus High School 

Jenkins was a bit of a wildcard to me, but the Rangers love his potential. I honestly don't have a ton of information on him, but I am intrigued.  Sporting 80 grade speed, Jenkins draws comparison to Billy Hamilton; great defensive range, slap hitter, base stealer, weak arm, high risk/high reward. 

3- Mike Matuella, RHP, Duke

This pick has me excited.  Matuella, fresh off of Tommy John, was once considered as the best player in the draft.  The Duke pitcher throws at a 3/4 arm angle while standing at 6'7", offering above average grades with his fastball, curveball, changeup, and control/command.  If his arm heals properly, this could be a steal that we discuss for years.  The other pending issue here is questioning the Rangers ability to sign him, whereas Matuella was drafted well below expected slot, falling the 78th overall. 

4- Jake Lemoine, RHP, Houston

Lemoine is another large framed (6'5", 220) right handed pitcher, which seems to be a pattern for Texas in this draft.  Lemoine has solid stuff, but is more of a project than the others, having command issues with his 96 mph fastball, changeup, and slider.  If Lemoine can learn to control two of those pitches, he could be a solid bullpen addition.

5- Chad Smith, OF, South Gwinnett High School 

Smith is a pure athlete, offering above average grades in speed and arm, with a developing hit tool that is helped by strong, quick hands.  Smith is in need of polish, mostly due to age, but the tools are there. 

Not a bad little top five there.  Great work by Kipp, now let's just cross our fingers and hope that JD is able to produce ink on paper from all five.