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Rangers sign top three Draft picks

Rangers sign top three Draft picks

Rangers sign top three Draft picks

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers announced the signings of their top three selections in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft on Monday.

The club signed both of its first-round picks, right-handed pitcher Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez and shortstop Travis Demeritte, and its second-round selection, right-handed pitcher Akeem Bostick.

"As far as the upper part of the class, it couldn't have been a better dream scenario," Rangers' director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said in a press conference with the signees on Monday. "I never thought there was a scenario [where] we could've got all three of these guys. I was hoping for one at the most, but since we ended up getting three, it's like a home run."

Gonzalez, 21, will start for Class A Spokane this season. He had a bullpen session with the team on Friday. Gonzalez received a $2.21 million signing bonus.

The 23rd overall selection went 9-5 with a 1.83 ERA during his junior season at Oral Roberts University. He had 126 strikeouts, the second-most in the nation during the regular season, and 27 walks. He was named Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year for the second time in his career.

Gonzalez said he wants to work on his curveball and changeup. He described both of them as a "work in progress" and looks for those pitches to complement his fastball.

"I've got to throw it more in the zone," Gonzalez said of his changeup. "It moves good in the zone, but I've just got to throw it more for strikes, since I got the movement. The hitters just give up on it because it's so low in the zone and I can't get it for strikes as often."

Fagg said Demeritte, 18, has been on the club's radar for years and "probably some of the best bat speed I've seen in my 20 years of scouting." The 30th overall selection received a $1.9 million signing bonus. He hit .404 (36-for-89) with 12 home runs, 37 RBIs and five stolen bases during his senior season at Winder-Barrow High in Winder, Ga.

Demeritte was committed to the University of South Carolina and tabbed as the 23rd-best position player overall by Baseball America.

"I'm a great defensive player and take pride in my defense," Demeritte said. "I'm a great leader vocally and on the field. I'm going to do whatever it takes to make it to the Major Leagues and hopefully I'll be a Hall of Famer in this franchise."

Bostick, 18, was a late arrival to the press conference due to a holdup in his physical. Fagg and Bostick said it was not due to any health problems. Bostick is the cousin of Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick. He was a three-sport athlete at West Florence High School in Florence, S.C., and committed to Georgia Southern to play baseball and wide receiver.

Bostick wanted to go pro in baseball due to the influence of his older brother, who played shortstop. Bostick said he started as a shortstop, but he switched to pitcher when he was 11. He went 10-0 with a 0.62 ERA and 96 strikeouts during his senior season. He also hit .316 with four home runs and 15 RBIs to help his school win a region title. The second-round pick received a $520,000 signing bonus.

"It's about to be a dream come true," Bostick said.

Demeritte and Bostick will start at the Rangers' spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz.

The Rangers have now signed or agreed to terms with 11 of their first 13 selections in the draft. Pitchers and twin brothers David Ledbetter and Ryan Ledbetter will be at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday. David was selected in the third round, but he has not signed. Ryan, picked in the 19th round, signed on Sunday.

Master Tesfatsion 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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