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Texas fills up on arms late in productive Draft

Texas fills up on arms late in productive Draft

Texas fills up on arms late in productive Draft
ARLINGTON -- It was a long three days for those in charge of handling the Rangers' Draft operations. But after 43 picks -- 26 pitchers and 17 position players -- they felt good about how those three days went.

"It's been a little hectic," said Kip Fagg, the Rangers' director of amateur scouting. "But we're finished and we're very happy."

After using their first five picks on high school players in the first two rounds, the Rangers selected only five high school players over the next 28 rounds. Outfielder Lewis Brinson was the Rangers' first selection (No. 29 overall), followed by a pair of compensation picks in third baseman Joey Gallo and right-handed pitcher Collin Wiles.

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Outfielders Jamie Jarmon and Nick Williams, both selected by the Rangers in the second round, were the last high school players taken by the team until the 14th round. That's when a pair of outfielders -- Kwinton Smith and Jameis Winston -- were picked by the Rangers in the 14th and 15th rounds. Both are expected to play college football in the fall but could spend time with the Rangers' organization in the offseason.

"We got probably five of our top 50 in this Draft," Fagg said. "We're identifying the players that we did the most work on and the highest level of athletes, baseball players, makeup, etc. Teams have boards set up differently, evaluate differently, but we were very happy with the way it ended up."

The other three high school players taken by the Rangers in the first 30 rounds were catcher Charles Moorman (17th round), right-handed pitcher Jacob Lemoine (21st round) and left-handed pitcher Chase Mullins (24th round). The Draft's final day began with a Puerto Rican second baseman and a high school catcher from California.

2012 Draft Central

But the bulk of the Rangers' final 25 picks were spent on pitchers. After selecting Janluis Castro, a switch-hitting second baseman that can also play shortstop, in the 16th round and El Capitan High catcher Moorman in the 17th, the Rangers took 17 pitchers with their next 20 picks.

"Usually, the depth of any Draft is going to be pitching," Fagg said. "If you look at the board, that's where most of the magnets are. The guys that we evaluated the highest were the pitchers. We just went with the guys that we evaluated the best."

Seton Hall right-hander Ryan Harvey was the first of many hurlers picked by the Rangers during the final day. Harvey, the Rangers' 18th-round selection, went 6-4 with a 3.04 ERA and two saves this year, striking out 90 and walking 43 in 77 innings.

Another two college pitchers followed Harvey. University of South Carolina-Sumter right-hander James Smith was picked in the 19th round by the Rangers, who took Newberry (S.C.) College right-hander Joshua McElwee in the 20th round.

Smith went 10-1 with a 1.13 ERA as a sophomore this season, striking out 101 and walking 35 in 79 2/3 innings. McElwee, who redshirted before his junior year in 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, was 5-4 with a 3.99 ERA as a senior at Newberry. He also batted .273 with 20 RBIs at the plate. McElwee's 307 career strikeouts are a school record.

Thirteen of the first 14 pitchers taken by the Rangers were right-handers. One of them, Kent State's Ryan Bores, was also picked by the Rangers last year. Bores was selected in the 27th round this year after being picked in the 26th round in 2011.

"Our scout, Roger Coryell, liked Ryan the year before we took him," Fagg said. "We couldn't reach an agreement. This year, being his junior year, he lost a little bit of leverage. He felt it was time for him to come out and we were able to reach an agreement."

Bores is part of a Kent State pitching staff that has helped the Golden Flashes reach their first NCAA Super Regional in school history. He is 9-2 with a 3.29 ERA as a senior, striking out 63 and walking 15 over 98 1/3 innings this year. Bores turned in a complete-game victory in a 7-3 win over Purdue in this year's NCAA Regional. Kent State faces Oregon in the Super Regional.

Bores' catcher at Kent State, David Lyon, was also drafted by the Rangers on Wednesday. Lyon, who is batting .284 with 10 home runs, 41 RBIs and a .523 slugging percentage, was taken in the 34th round. He was one of three catchers taken by the Rangers this year.

Several of the 20 pitchers selected by the Rangers on Wednesday are high school prospects who are committed to play for Division I schools next season. Three of them have signed up to play in the Big 12 in 2013. Alex Young is a left-handed pitcher committed to play for TCU. Another southpaw, Sterling Wynn, has pledged to play for Baylor while right-handed pitcher Matt Withrow has committed to Texas Tech.

"Anything's possible," Fagg said. "Obviously, taking those guys at that part of the Draft, it'll be a little tougher [to sign them]. We have until July 13th."

Christian Corona is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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