Draft Primer: Rangers Draft Picks 1-10

True Blue LA

I'll keep it short up front.  This is just a brief collection of comments, links, video, and scouting reports of the 2009 Rangers Draft.  I certainly didn't include everything and tried to limit stuff on the first five picks b/c there's too much.  This is by no means complete but I wanted to keep this for myself and follow along as signings are announced and figured more than a few of my fellow LSBers would appreciate it as well.  Almost nothing that follows is my own words.  I've tried to be faithful and post a link or at least the name/website of whoever is commenting.  I know I left some attributions out because I have no idea who made the comment.  I apologize now.



1)    Purke, Matthew    Klein HS (TX)  LHP    L/L    6'03"    175    1990-07-17    HS

Comments: When conversations arise about the top prep lefties in the class, Purke is on the short list. With three excellent offerings and command of them, to go along with a projectable frame, Purke's name comes up early and often. There might be a small concern about his durability because he's a little too slender, but that won't be enough to keep him from being taken high up on Draft day.

BA scouting report on Purke

Purke rivals Tyler Matzek as the best lefthanded pitching prospect in this draft. He already throws a 92-95 mph fastball and could throw harder as he adds strength to his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame. He backs up his heater with a hard slider that ranks among the best in the prep draft class. He doesn’t have much experience throwing a changeup because he hasn’t needed one. Last summer, Purke needed just nine pitches to work a perfect inning at the Aflac All-American Game and started the gold-medal game for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in Canada (albeit taking a 7-0 loss against Korea). Matzek has moved ahead of Purke for most clubs because he works with less effort. Purke throws from a low three-quarters angle that adds life and deception, but he has slinging action in his delivery. It’s not violent, but it’s not smooth either. Purke’s stuff, track record and strong makeup combine to make him an upper-first-round talent, though teams still were trying to gauge his signability. If he follows through on his commitment to Texas Christian, he’d be eligible again as a sophomore in 2011.


1A)    Scheppers, Tanner    No School    RHP    R/R    6'04"    195    1987-01-17    NS

Comments: Pitching in intra-squad action at Golden West C.C., Scheppers was creating a ton of buzz on the West Coast. The former Fresno State standout, whose Draft status took a hit because of a shoulder injury last year, was throwing free, easy and hard in early looks. With a plus fastball and the potential for a plus curve, if Scheppers continues to show he's healthy while pitching for the St. Paul Saints, he's going to shoot up Draft boards everywhere.

Scheppers has expressed a willingness to sign as quickly as possible and begin his professional career, although that isn't necessarily an indication that he will, in fact, do so; his price tag could run as high as $4 million, although it isn't my expectation that Texas will meet those demands, forcing Scheppers to strike a compromise in the vicinity of $3-3.5 million. Make no mistake, however -- Scheppers is a top-10 talent, and Texas will be forced to part ways with top-10 money to seal the deal. Will they do so? My best guess is yes, but understand that this is neither a cheap nor a risk-free proposition. From a pure value standpoint, however, Texas could do no better, and if Scheppers fulfills his immense potential at the major league level, this will go down as one of the great supplemental-round steals in amateur draft history.


2)    Mendonca, Thomas    Fresno St U    3B    L/R    6'01"    200    1988-04-12    JR
-Says he’ll sign-

Comments: Mendonca fits the profile as an athletic, left-handed power hitting third baseman. He takes advantage of a friendly home park, but the power should translate OK. Couple that with good defense at the hot corner and you're looking at one of the more interesting college infield prospects in the class. Only his tendency to strike out will hurt his status some, but he still should go well.

*Batesole said he expects Mendonca to sign a pro contract even though they have bargaining leverage of returning to school for another year.

"Ever since I was little I've wanted to play pro ball," Mendonca said. "Now I've got to take that opportunity and run with it."

The 2008 College World Series MVP also noted Texas' recent success with developing hitters, a list that includes Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler.

"Hopefully, they'll help me fix all those strikeouts," Mendonca joked.

Hardball Times on his defense:

This is Joey M’s fervent support for Mendonca and a good recap of the first four picks.


3)    Erlin, Robert    Scotts Valley HS (CA)    LHP    L/L    6'00"    1990-10-08     HS
-Says he’ll sign.-

Comments: Erlin was getting more and more buzz in Northern California as the spring wore on. He's not the biggest guy in the world, but with an outstanding delivery, good makeup and above-average command to go along with a fastball that touches 90 and a curve that can be a plus pitch, he's an intriguing high school lefty. He'll need to improve his change-up at the next level and his size will probably give some teams pause, but an organization willing to look past that might take this sign able southpaw fairly early.

* Robbie Erlin had been quoted in his local newspaper saying he was turning down the Mustangs’ scholarship offer to turn pro after going in the third round to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
Jason Cole’s Q&A with Erlin:


4)    Doyle, Andrew    U Oklahoma    RHP    R/R    6'03"    215    1987-11-12    JR
-Says he’ll sign-

* BA had him a 3rd rounder (He’s a Tommy Hunter clone)

Doyle has solid stuff and a craftsman’s approach to pitching. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has the arm strength to dial a four-seam fastball up to 93-94 mph when needed, but he prefers to throw 89-91 mph two-seamers on the corners, allowing their sink to create groundouts. His slider isn’t a swing-and-miss pitch but it is an out pitch, generating off-balance swings and more groundouts. His changeup gives him a third pitch that induces weak contact. Doyle has an easy delivery and is always around the plate. He doesn’t have the sexiest arsenal, especially compared to flamethrowing but erratic teammate Garrett Richards, but Doyle does have 15 wins in two seasons in Oklahoma’s rotation. He projects as a possible third-round pick and potential No. 3 starter in the big leagues.


5)    McBride, Nicholas    Ragsdale HS (NC)    RHP    R/R    6'04"    1991-05-13     HS
        -Committed to East Carolina

* From Jeff Simpson of Perfect Game USA: "Nick McBride was in control the entire game with a fastball that sat at 88-91 range and touched 93.   He has a lean athletic build and he looks to be around 6’4" and 180 lbs.   Nick has the type of body that should fill out well and his fastball projects to be an above average pitch down the road.   While he was not forced to throw many off-speed pitches, Nick would occasionally show off a curveball in the 73-76 range.   Nick showed a fairly tight rotation on some of his curveballs, but scouts would like to see more velocity on the pitch."

Excerpt:  Approximately 30 scouts were on hand last Wednesday to see the highly anticipated match up between Randleman RHP Daniel Tuttle and Ragsdale RHP Nick McBride. Tuttle entered the game as the consensus top prep pitcher in North Carolina, but it was McBride who stole the show in a 12-0 Ragsdale victory, throwing a six-inning perfect game with 14 strikeouts. While the score is indicative of a blowout the game was actually much closer as Ragsdale was leading 1-0 after three innings.

Nick McBride was in control the entire game with a fastball that sat at 88-91 range and touched 93. He has a lean athletic build and he looks to be around 6’4" and 180 lbs. Nick has the type of body that should fill out well and his fastball projects to be an above average pitch down the road. While he was not forced to throw many off-speed pitches, Nick would occasionally show off a curveball in the 73-76 range. Nick showed a fairly tight rotation on some of his curveballs, but scouts would like to see more velocity on the pitch.

BA: McBride, an East Carolina recruit, showed an average (87-90 mph) fastball and mid-70s slider at his best this spring, coupled with a projectable 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame.

Jason Cole:  As a fifth-rounder, I think he will end up signing. But it sounds like it'll be an above-slot deal. Just a feeling I got from talking to him.

6)    Sierra, Ruben    San Juan Educational School    CF    L/L    6'02"    172     1991-03-10     HS   
-Has Signed-

Little Ruben's BA write up

Like his father, Sierra passes scouts’ eye test, standing 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds with room to fill out. As that happens, Sierra will likely have to move from center field to right field. He certainly has the arm strength for right—his throws from the outfield have been clocked at 92 mph. His other tools are impressive as well. He runs a 6.4-second 60-yard dash and can put on a show during batting practice. It’s a different story, however, against live pitching. As a lefthanded hitter, Sierra has a tendency to bail out—his step is toward first base—causing him to become exposed against pitches away. Despite his natural tools, Sierra sometimes looks like he’s just going through the motions. Still, teams that value tools and projection are dreaming on Sierra, and he’s seen as a player who will greatly benefit from getting into pro ball, getting better instruction and playing every day.

7)    Lane, Braxton    Sandy Creek HS (GA)    CF    S/R    5'10"    190     1990-12-30 HS
       -Committed to Oregon for both baseball and football


8)    Tullis, Braden    Skagit Valley Col    RHP    R/R    6'02"    200    1990-01-23 J1

While at Skagit Valley College, Tullis said he worked on placing his fastball on the corners of the plate and developed a changeup — a pitch he didn't have in high school...

* Braden Tullis, 19, is a 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed pitcher who spent this past season as a freshman at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Wash. He was the school's No. 1 pitcher — after starting the season at No. 4 — and finished the season 9-2 with a 1.56 ERA.
Excerpt: Tullis is very intriguing on the mound. He sports a fastball that touches 91 mph, sits in the high-80s, and has armside run and sink. He is an outstanding athlete (he’s the fastest player on his team), and he throws all 3 of his pitches for strikes. He obliterated competition this year, allowing just 2 runs in 55 innings.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Tullis went relatively unnoticed at Timberline High in Boise, where he pitched and played the outfield. Tullis is a great athlete, who also played linebacker on his school’s football team and ran the fastest 60-yard-dash for Skagit Valley this year. Though he’s played outfield in the past, his future is on the mound. Over his first 28 innings, Tullis is 4-0, 0.33 with 27 strikeouts and 11 walks. He’s getting it done with a fastball that’s sitting 88-91 mph and has good armside run and sink. "He’s got a lot of movement, which you can’t teach," Skagit Valley coach Kevin Matthews said. "He has a real good feel for the change and he’s working on his breaking ball. He throws all three pitches for strikes and all are quality pitches."


9)    Blash, Jabari    Miami Dade CC South    RF    R/R    6'05"    218    1989-07-04 J2

*  BA #121 Prospect:

Blash played some high school baseball in the Virgin Islands, enough to try to use baseball to go to college in the U.S. mainland. He attended Alcorn State for a year but wasn’t academically eligible, due to transcript issues. He redshirted that season, then wound up transferring to Miami-Dade JC, where he didn’t even earn a starting job when the season started. He’s quite raw and has holes in his swing, owing in part to his large 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame. He also has big-time tools, and several observers called him Florida’s best five-tool prospect. Blash has plus raw power, with 10 homers in just 102 at-bats this season, and above-average speed (he runs the 60 in 6.7 seconds) and throwing arm (it’s a right field arm, if not the cannon reported earlier this spring). Some scouts dream on Blash’s frame and see a future Jermaine Dye, who also was a JC player.


10)    Lemke, Thomas    Northwest Christian School (AZ)    RHP    R/R    6'07"    1990-11-05    HS
-Draft and Follow this Summer, looking for overslot money-

* "Summer could be interesting," said Lemke, whose initial conversation with the Rangers Wednesday led him to believe the club will send front-office personnel out to see him pitch at least a couple more times so they can evaluate him further.

17th Prospect out of Ariz:  Pitching-Heavy High School Crop Disappointed

Righthander Thomas Lemke stares down at hitters from atop the mound. He has a great pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-7 and 205 pounds, but has gone backward this season. Sitting at 89-92 mph in the fall, his fastball was down to 85-88 this spring. He doesn’t use his height well, and his fastball comes in flat. Scouts also question his passion and say he looks lethargic on the field. He’s reportedly asking for $500,000, so teams will likely let him head to Nebraska and check back in three years.

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