Rangers always looking to keep system well stocked
As one Draft ends, the work begins to find next year's prospects
The Rangers wrapped up the 2013 First-Year Player Draft on Saturday, and they'll be hitting the road this week in preparation for next year's Draft.
"There's not much time to sit around and rest on your laurels," director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said.
The Rangers have seen recent success from the Draft from players like Robbie Ross, Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm and Tanner Scheppers. They hope more drafted players are on their way in their farm system.
"It's cheerily gratifying to see these guys surface up there and have some success up there," Fagg said of the recent success.
Eight of the Rangers' top 20 prospects were drafted by the club, led by third baseman Mike Olt and pitcher Cody Buckel. Olt, 24, suffered vision problems that put him out of action for a month, but the No. 2 prospect in Texas' system recently returned to Triple-A Round Rock.
Fourth-ranked Buckel has remained at the Rangers' Spring Training facility in Surprise, Ariz. Looking to fix his command issues. Buckel, 20, went 0-5 with a 20.25 ERA in six games (five starts) with Double-A Frisco and was sent to get work in extended spring action in May. Buckel was taken in the second round in 2010 and was promoted to Double-A Frisco in 2012 and went 5-5 with a 3.78 ERA in 13 appearances (10 starts).
"I don't think it's a big thing," Fagg said. "We're getting him back on track, and I'm confident in the guys that are working with him down there that in a short time, we'll get to the see the old Cody back."
Texas took third baseman Joey Gallo and outfielder Lewis Brinson in the first round last season. Gallo, 19, is hitting .219 with 14 home runs and 30 RBIs in 59 games with Class A Hickory. He was drafted out of high school known for his power, but Gallo has struck out 96 times in 219 at-bats, with 29 walks.
"I think going into this, we knew what kind of player we were getting into, and Joey is a kind of competitive, wants-to-be-good kind of a player," Fagg said. "It's showing up kind of what we thought it would be. He has power. There's going to be some swing-and-miss in there some days, but hopefully he improves on that and the walks start coming up, the strikeouts come down, and the power still stays there."
Fagg said Brinson, 19, has played better than he had envisioned. Brinson's hitting .257 in 57 games with Hickory. He has a .328 on-base percentage with 13 home runs, 26 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Brinson has been described as a possible five-tool player in the Majors, drawing comparsions to Dexter Fowler or Cameron Maybin.
"We're aggressive with those guys, as far as challenging them mentally to see if they can handle it," Fagg said. "Those two are definitely that case. These guys are young. There's going to be days where it's going to be tough. They're playing every day, and the wear and tear they go through, especially mentally and physically. But both of those guys are doing well."
Pitcher C.J. Edwards has been quite the surprise for the Rangers. Edwards, 21, was taken in the 48th round in 2011, but he's the 17th-best prospect in the organization. He pitched 20 scoreless innings and allowed six hits in four games in the Arizona Fall League last season. Edwards is 5-2 with a 2.14 ERA in 11 starts for Hickory this season.
"We've got to get this guy physically stronger," Fagg said. "We're working on it, but the kid can't ever put on weight. That being said, he has no issues taking the ball. The stuff has been plus. He's been a pleasant surprise. … One of better lower-level starters that we have."
The Rangers haven't given up on pitcher Neil Ramirez, who is in his sixth season in Texas' farm system. Ramirez, 24, was selected in the first round in 2007 and sent back down to Frisco to start this season. He's improved this season with a 6-2 record and a 3.38 ERA in 12 starts. Ramirez finished last season in Round Rock and went 6-8 with a 7.66 ERA.
"Neil's still very young," Fagg said. "I know he's been in our system for a while, but if he was college-signed, he'd be in his second year in the game. You're talking about a guy in Double-A with that kind of stuff, and you've just got to let it play out."
Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.