Aug 7, 2014; Frisco, TX, USA; Frisco Rough Riders third baseman Joey Gallo (24) bats during the game against the Springfield Cardinals at Dr Pepper Ballpark. Springfield beat Frisco 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
When the Texas Rangers finished the 2014 season with just 67 wins, there were few things that fans were excited about heading into the offseason. The one good thing to come out of a poor finish like the Rangers had is a high pick in the upcoming MLB draft. Baseball drafts are different from the NBA and the NFL where a draft takes place during the offseason and not long after the regular season ends. In the MLB, the draft takes place nearly seven months after the season ends and about two months into the season.
One effect of the timing of the draft is that fans tend to be already wrapped up in the current season and not as concerned about roster forming or the future as fans are during an NBA or NFL offseason. Many fans may not even know that the draft is less than three weeks away, lasting from June 8 to June 10 and that the Rangers have the fourth overall pick in the draft.
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Conventional wisdom in baseball is to take the best player available in the draft. While this is how fans view NFL and NBA drafts, in practice teams tend to take positional needs into account and may pass on a player that is the best on the draft board. In baseball, positional needs don’t factor in to many teams because the long time it could take a player to get to the majors means that by the time they are ready positional needs may have changed already.
One strategy that may result in a team passing on the best player available also has to do with the time it could take a player to reach the majors. Players coming out of college are older than those coming out of high school and tend to reach the majors in a shorter time than those drafted out of high school who have not had the same development time. The best example of this is Brandon Finnegan, a left-handed pitcher drafted 17th overall out of TCU, was drafted and eventually signed on June 28. Finnegan was brought up to the majors less than three months later and played a key role in the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen as they made their run to the World Series. On the other end, Tyler Kolek was drafted second overall by the Miami Marlins and is currently playing for the Class A Greensboro Grasshoppers and could be several years away from his MLB debut.
With the Rangers picking fourth overall in what is considered to be not a strong draft especially with the loss of Michael Matuella and Brady Aiken, there are many possibilities. The question the Rangers face is whether they are looking to add talent to help compete soon or whether they want to balance the current talent on their roster by adding a younger player who may have more potential to develop as a future piece. Let’s take a look at what two of the top mock drafts have set for the Rangers, starting with Kiley McDaniel from Fangraphs.
Next: Kiley McDaniel Mock Draft