Texas Rangers: Avoiding the next David Clyde in the draft

ARLINGTON, TX - CIRCA 1973: David Clyde #32 of the Texas Rangers pitches during an Major League Baseball game circa 1973 at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Clyde played for the Rangers from 1973-75. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - CIRCA 1973: David Clyde #32 of the Texas Rangers pitches during an Major League Baseball game circa 1973 at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Clyde played for the Rangers from 1973-75. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers are set to have the second overall pick in the 2021 draft and need to avoid the next David Clyde when making a selection.

David Clyde was supposed to be the next big thing across Major League Baseball when he was drafted in the first round in 1973.

A high school star, the homegrown Texan went 18-0 during his senior year with an ERA of 0.18.

Arguably one of the most talented high school pitchers in history, Clyde threw five no-hitters and struckout almost every kid he faced, punching out 328 in just under 150 innings pitched.

There was no doubt that he was going to be a Major League star, right?

Wrong.

The Texas Rangers front office needed a boost in sales and called up the 18-year old just months after he was drafted, ultimately hurting both the player and the ballclub.

Clyde could not find any sort of consistency that led to arm troubles and saw a revolving door of managers and pitching coaches over his career.

These factors began a steady decline of one of the game’s most promising young lefties that led to the washed up career of David Clyde.

The 20-year old Clyde finished his Texas Rangers career with a 7-18 record and 4.60 ERA after three seasons, and by the age of 24, David Clyde was out of the game for good.

David Clyde sent a message across Major League Baseball and proves further that a player’s health is not greater than a team’s annual income.

With the Texas Rangers positioned to draft a franchise-changing player, they have to remember back on the mistake they made in 1973.

Obviously, the medical records and examinations are far more superior than those of almost 50 years ago, but with a bevy of pitchers expected to go in the first round this year, the Rangers have to be careful.

Sitting with the second overall pick, the Texas Rangers could go with a below-slot bat, as Adam Morris has suggested on Twitter.

I think the Texas Rangers will go the pitching route, though.

If the Texas Rangers select a pitcher in the 2021 draft, they need to exercise caution.

Assuming Kumar Rocker goes to Pittsburgh at one, the Rangers have several options to choose from on the pitching front.

Jaden Hill from LSU, Jack Leiter out of Vanderbilt and Ty Madden from the University of Texas are all options on the starting pitching front projected to go in the top 10.

For the Texas Rangers, looking back on David Clyde and recent injuries to top pitching prospects has to creep into the front office’s mind.

Clyde’s left arm was closer to falling off, rather than healing up.

Cole Ragans, Cole Uvila, Alex Speas, Ricky Vanasco, Hans Crouse and other top pitching prospects have dealt with their fair share of Tommy John surgeries and other severe injuries.

History tends to repeat itself, and that doesn’t bode well for the Texas Rangers.

Whether it is a coaching problem or a developmental issue, the Texas Rangers will have to take a long, hard look at the medical records of each pitcher in consideration.

Even the more mature, college-aged pitchers need time to develop and fill out as they get older.

As the Texas Rangers begin their scouting of the high school and college ranks, they must have the plan in place to slow the development of these young pitchers and let them fully develop in their system.

I believe the Texas organization has improved their development tactics as sabermetrics have begun to take over the baseball world, but longer development timelines need to be implemented.

Much like David Clyde, the Texas Rangers cannot miss or botch the opportunity to select a potential franchise-changing athlete at number two.

This will be the biggest takeaway from this years draft, but we will have to wait and see where the Texas Rangers decide to go.

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