Going into the 2014 MLB season the Texas Rangers were among the favorites to win the AL West and move on to the playoffs. Many believed the trade for Prince Fielder “killed two birds with one stone.” They acquired a power, middle of the order bat and opened a spot for former number one prospect, Jurickson Profar. Since then the Rangers have experienced nothing but injuries to a majority of the starting cast. This season is lost and management has already begun to look to next year. The best part about fielding a losing team in professional sports is, there’s always a draft!
The Rangers are on pace to have the number one overall pick and they are all but assured a top three pick. The MLB draft is the most unpredictable draft of the four major sports. More often than not the first round is full of high school players with all the tools in the world and extremely high ceilings. Because of this reason the MLB draft has more busts than any other draft. Recently, however, teams have done a much better job of recognizing the premier talent. Of the first three picks the last five years, not including the most recent one this last year, so 2010-2013, the draft has produced two all-stars already, in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. It has also produced many of the leagues brightest young stars. Gerrit Cole is already an ace and could be one of the league’s best in a few years. The 2012 draft produced Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, two of the league’s top prospects and Mike Zunino, a contributor from behind the dish in Seattle. 2013 may have been the best one yet, Kris Bryant is an absolute stud for the Cub’s farm system and has multiple silverslugger awards in his near future. That same draft also produced Mark Appel and Johnathan Gray.
The point is, if you can secure a top three pick the odds of drafting an eventual star is greatly increased. The Rangers are in a great place to make that happen. I’m not saying to cheer against the Rangers. I still hope the Rangers win every time I tune in or when I go to the ballpark, but when they do lose, it makes it easier to cope with knowing that they just got a bit closer to cashing in that lottery ticket.
This year’s top three prospects, to this point, include a five tool phenom, high school outfielder, a solid, powerful, college proven shortstop, and a proven, power arm out of Duke. The Rangers would gladly take any one of these prospects and add him to their already deep pool of prospects.
The Texas Rangers have as much talent as any. They should be able to compete next year when they get all their injured players back, but in the mean time they might as well roll the dice on the next great player.