2012 Draft Prospects Preview -- Matt Smoral

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - AUGUST 23: Actress/model Brooklyn Decker watches her husband Andy Roddick play a match during the Winston-Salem Open at the Wake Forest University Tennis Complex on August 23, 2011 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

For those who missed it yesterday amidst all the Roy Oswalt talk, with the 2012 major league draft kicking off on Monday, I want to highlight in the next few days a few of the players that the Texas Rangers could be looking at with their picks at #29, #39, and #52. As I said last year when doing this drill, this would be a lot easier if the Rangers were picking higher, and neither of the Rangers' first couple picks were guys we'd ever talked about before the draft. Still, we'll take a look at a few of the intriguing names that could be in the mix for the Rangers, and see who might be out there...

Today we look at the player Baseball America's latest mock draft has going to the Rangers at #29 overall, high school LHP Matt Smoral from Solon, Ohio.

Matt Smoral scouting report: Matt Smoral is a lefthanded pitcher out of Solon High School in Ohio. Baseball America has him ranked #24 on their most recent draft rankings. Keith Law has Smoral at #14 in his rankings. BA has Smoral at 6'7", 225 lbs., while ESPN lists him at 6'8", 230 lbs. Smoral went #24 at the Minor League Ball community mock draft. Smoral has a commitment to the University of North Carolina, if he doesn't sign with the team that drafts him this summer.

Smoral is tall, left-handed, throws hard (most of the reports I've seen say he gets up to 94 mph), and has a good slider, and before the season, Baseball America had him expected to go in the top half of the first round. So why would he be available for the Rangers at #29? Well, Smoral broke his foot, which means that he pitched in only one regular season game this year, and BA says he isn't supposed to pitch again until after the new signing deadline of July 13. That means he's being drafted, in essence, off of his projectability and what he did prior to his senior year in high school.

Why would he be a fit for the Rangers? Well, he's got upside, and he's described as "athletic," which is one of those buzzwords you hear about pitchers the Rangers are interested in. Yesterday, I said the lazy comp for Duane Underwood was Ranger 2010 supplemental first rounder Luke Jackson. Similarly, reading about Smoral brings to mind 2011 2nd rounder Will Lamb, another tall, athletic lefty with a big fastball and projectability.

Frankie Piliere did a writeup on Smoral here, and you can check out a Q&A with Smoral here. You can also check out video of Smoral below:

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