Rangers take college players in draft

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Image result for Josh Jung
BY DIC HUMPHREY
DHUMPHREY24@GMAIL.COM
Member United States Basketball Writers Association

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Rangers had three picks on the first day of
the amateur draft, all among the top 50. In the past, the Rangers
have gone after high school players that were deemed to have high
ceilings. Such players take longer to get to the Majors, but give the
chance for a team to have an all-star caliber player. Many of them
have not worked out. The team has especially been plagued with arm
surgeries to pitchers selected early in the draft.
This year, the team took college players with their first three
picks, only one of which was a pitcher (pitchers are generally
perceived as more difficult to predict than hitters.) Josh Jung
(pronounced Young) was taken with the number eight pick in the first
round. Jung is from San Antonio and has played three seasons for
Texas Tech.  He is a third baseman, and is projected to be a very good
hitter.  He did play more than 20 games this season for Texas Tech at
shortstop, but is thought that third base is where his future lays.
Ironically, he became just the second Texas Tech player to be
drafted in the first round, and the Rangers are the team that drafted
the other one. That was Donald Harris, an athletic center fielder
selected in 1989.  He was such a good athlete that he also played
football at Tech and once upon a time went to training camp with the
Dallas Cowboys.  He’s the poster child for taking a ballplayer over an
athlete.  The Rangers could have taken Frank Thomas with that pick.
Thomas was perceived as a defensive liability at first base and a
designated hitter.  The athletic Harris was a bust, and Thomas is in
the Hall of Fame.
The Rangers then selected Baylor third baseman David Wendzel with
the supplemental first round pick received in the trade of Alex
Claudio to Milwaukee (#41 overall). Wendzel and Jung were co-Players
of the Year in the Big 12 this spring.  He hit .367 for the Bears with
eight home runs, though he is thought of as a contact hitter. The
hope is that power will develop.
The Rangers second round pick (number 50 overall) was Ryan
Garcia, a right handed pitcher from UCLA. He isn’t known for having
an outstanding pitch, but he has four pitches.
Garcia signed this week. Wendzel is close to signing.  Jung is
not eligible to sign until Texas Tech finishes their season.  As of
Friday morning, the Red Raiders were still alive in the College World
Series.
The second day, the Rangers drafted in rounds three through 10.
Their selections were:
3. RHP Justin Staten, New Mexico (signed)
4. SS/2B Cody Freeman, Etiwanda High School in California.
5. CF Kellen Strahm, San Jose State (signed)
6. LHP Cody Bradford, Baylor                                                                                                                                                                       7. RHP, Brandon Sproat, Pace High School in Florida
8. RHP John Matthews, Kent State (signed)
9. RHP Zak Kent, VMI (signed)
10. RHP Joe Corbett, West Texas A&M (signed)
NOTE:  Sproat announced Thursday night that he would honor his
commitment to the University of Florida and not sign with the Rangers.
This draft was considered strong in college players and the
Rangers went with the flow early, taking nine of the 11 selections
from colleges over the first two days.  They took nine pitchers in
rounds 11-20, and seven of them were high schoolers.  In fact over the
final 35 picks, 31 were pitchers, and only four were position players.
Ben Anderson (13th round), Triston Polley (16th round), Blaine
Crim (19th round), Luke Schiltz (24th round), Mason Cole (27th round),
Jake Hoover (28th round), Spencer Mraz (33rd round), and Leon Hunter
(35th round) have also signed
Rangers’ Injury Update: Willie Calhoun was activated this week from
the injured list. Going into the weekend, Calhoun is hitting .333,
and has at least one hit in all ten games he has played for Texas this
season. Joey Gallo is expected to return to the active roster next
week when the Rangers play in Detroit.  There is some chance that he
may be activated this weekend during the White Sox series.  Hunter
Pence is eligible to come off the injured list next Thursday and is
likely to be activated then or shortly thereafter.
NOTABLE:
• The Rangers announced this week that Michael Young’s number 10
will be retired in ceremonies prior to the August 31 game against the
Seattle Mariners.  Young’s number 10 will be the sixth retired by the
Rangers.  The others are Jackie Robinson’s number 42, retired by all
teams, Johnny Oates’ number 26, Nolan Ryan’s number 34, Ivan
Rodriguez’s number 7 and Adrian Beltre’s number 29. Young leads the
Rangers in games played, runs scored, hits, doubles and triples.  He
also won a batting title in in 2005.  Young actually wore number 2
when he first joined the Rangers, but veteran Carl Everett was later
acquired, was assigned number 2, and Young switched to number 10.
• The Drew Smyly era in Arlington ended this week when Smyly was
designated for assignment.  Smyly appeared in 13 games, nine of which
were starting assignments.  He had a 1-5 record with one save and an
8.42 ERA (7.90 as a starting pitcher).  Reliever Jesse Chavez has been
inserted into the starting rotation taking the slot formerly occupied
by Smyly.
• Locke St. John, a side-arming left-hander, was called up
Thursday.  He is expected to be a specialist against left-handed
batters.  He has faces 57 left-handed batters this season at AA and
AAA and has struck out 27 of them.  When he gets in a game, he’ll
become the ninth pitcher to make his Major League debut this season
with the Rangers.

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