At this point, it’s just about anyone’s guess as to who the Texas Rangers will select when they pick at No. 2 overall in the 2021 MLB Draft.
The rumors have been circulating, to say the least, with many experts linking the organization to some of the top prep shortstops in the country, including Marcelo Mayer, Jordan Lawlar and more recently, Kahlil Watson from North Carolina.
But what if we told you who the Texas Rangers select in the draft could go a long way in determining where they think they stand relative to their rebuild?
It’s certainly a possibility, according to Dallas Morning News Beat Writer Evan Grant:
The Texas Rangers’ choice at No. 2 overall could tell us a lot about where the team feels they are in the rebuild
The Rangers have, of course. been associated with Vandy Boys Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker at various points during this draft process, but with concerns about Leiter and the Boston Red Sox’ mutual interest and Rocker’s viability as a starter in MLB (he could become a reliever), Texas has at least done their homework on other potential picks at No. 2 overall.
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As Grant notes, who the organization ultimately opts for in this year’s draft could be a sign of how far they believe they are from approaching relevancy (and ultimately, contention) once again.
Going with Rocker or Leiter could suggest that the Rangers believe their window will open sooner rather than later, since both college stars shouldn’t require much development through the minor leagues.
Whereas Rocker or Leiter might indicate an accelerated time frame, the opposite can be said if the team opts to pursue the prep shortstop route in the draft.
As talented as prospects like Mayer, Lawlar and Watson are, they would all be raw entering their first taste of pro ball and would likely require some years of seasoning before being ready to assume a big league position. Therefore, selecting one of the shortstops likely implies that there is significant ground left to cover when it comes to the rebuild, since the impact from that pick would likely come much later.
Ultimately, there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” pick for the Texas Rangers, per se. It will come down to who the organization believes is the best player available, as well as an internal evaluation of where things stand with respect to a contention window opening.
That’s what will make this year’s No. 2 overall selection one worth keeping a very close eye on.