Top 5 candidates for the Texas Rangers’ 2022 first round draft pick

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 06: Jace Jung #2 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders tags out Blake Faecher #3 of the Sam Houston State Bearkats in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park on March 06, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 06: Jace Jung #2 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders tags out Blake Faecher #3 of the Sam Houston State Bearkats in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park on March 06, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 30: A bag of baseballs is seen on the field before Game Seven of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 30: A bag of baseballs is seen on the field before Game Seven of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

5 candidates for the Texas Rangers’ first round selection in 2022

#2: Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford High School (GA)

Possibly the first pitcher to be drafted in 2022, Lesko is a Vanderbilt commit who has won over scouts with his superb pitching abilities for his age. He has developed into a very well-rounded pitcher for his age and will probably not need very long at the semi-professional level to fine-tune his craft and be ready to deal in the Majors.

PROS: Elite resume, pitch location and command, baseball IQ

Lesko is fresh off all-but a flawless junior season at Buford HS, where he notched an 11-0 record, 112 strikeouts, and a 0.35 ERA in 60 innings. I don’t really know how you could put forth a better baseball card than that. Scouts have marveled at his maturity and pitch command. His go-to secondary pitch is his changeup, which has superb motion that will continue to fool hitters, and his fastball has topped out at 99 mph, which is excellent for any pitcher at any age, let alone a 17-year-old. He’s also got excellent spin rates and movement on his curveball and slider that will open the door for a healthy pitch arsenal.

Vanderbilt is notorious for pumping out Major League level talent at a rapid pace – particularly pitchers. Walker Buehler, Sonny Gray, Mike Minor, David Price, and that’s only naming a few. The Rangers just entrusted their second overall pick in 2021 in Jack Leiter, a Vanderbilt product.

Should the Texas Rangers necessarily consider drafting pitchers in back-to-back top-3 selections? No, not really, especially considering the hitting in the organization’s minor league clubs in 2021 was pretty dismal, outside of Josh Jung and Sam Huff. The team is most likely better off drafting a hitter, but if they choose to go the alternative route and select a pitcher – who would almost certainly boil down to Lesko – this guy is likely not going to be a miss.

CONS: Shelf life

This purely boils down to hypotheticals, because Lesko can very realistically have a long and healthy Major League career as a pitcher. The only caveat here is that pitchers who succeed as much as he has, as early as he has… well, it can bode not so well for arm durability. The positive counterpoint is that he still has a ways to go in terms of athleticism and strength, so as long as he continues to develop into his career and his skills improve along with it, there’s no reason for concern.

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