The Texas Rangers are taking a future-friendly approach to 2021.
That’s why we’re here talking about baseball mock drafts… in January.
It shouldn’t all be for naught, though, as talent evaluation is a key aspect of the rebuilding process, one that is expected to play out over the next couple of years in Arlington.
In a farm system that is deceptively deep, most of the Rangers’ young talent is realistically years away from making any sort of impact at the big league level.
So what about drafting a 20 year-old catcher out of the University of Miami?
That’s the way Baseball America has it playing out for the Texas Rangers come draft day (for now), as they pegged Adrian del Castillo to become the newest member of the organization in July.
The Texas Rangers could select a college catcher with pick No. 2 in 2021.
Notably, Baseball America has fan favorite and ultra-talented Texas high school shortstop prospect Jordan Lawler falling to the third slot in this mock draft, where he is projected to become a Detroit Tiger.
Meanwhile, it’s no surprise that Kumar Rocker of Vanderbilt is being mock drafted to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rocker is the best pitcher in the class and with Pittsburgh having the first overall selection, that pick appears to be a no-brainer.
As for Del Castillo, he’s one of the best hitters in the class at a position (catcher) that isn’t renowned for hitting ability, making him a true unicorn in this crop.
The 20 year-old University of Miami star has lit up NCAA baseball over his two years there, sporting a 1.001 OPS in 289 college at-bats.
He was originally selected in the 36th round by the Chicago White Sox in 2018, but opted to go to college instead.
That seemed like the right choice, in hindsight.
Del Castillo has a plus hit tool and a plus power tool, both things that stand out when evaluating his player profile.
However, his defense has graded out below average over his career, raising questions about Del Castillo’s ability to remain behind the plate long term.
But when you have a bat as potent as this 20 year-old’s, you find a way to shoehorn him into your future plans in some way, shape or form.
The good news about Adrian Del Castillo is that he’s polished enough that his name could be called up to the big leagues relatively soon after he’s drafted.
This isn’t insignificant when it comes to the Texas Rangers, because as mentioned earlier, many of their best prospects are still early in development.
Del Castillo would enter the Rangers’ farm system with a chance for rapid advancement, perhaps even breaking through to the Majors as quickly as 2023.
Of course, this would conflict with the timeline of current Rangers’ top catching prospect Sam Huff, who looks poised to become the team’s future starting catcher in short order.
If concerns about Del Castillo’s defense behind the plate linger, though, they could find another position for him while keeping Huff behind the dish.
That seems like a pretty ideal arrangement to me.