2014 Texas Rangers Draft Preview: Nick Howard

Nick Howard - USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at University of Virginia pitcher Nick Howard, projected by Baseball America in their latest mock draft as going to Texas at #30

Beginning in 2011, I started doing capsule reports on possible Texas Ranger draft picks.  No one I profiled in 2011 was actually taken by the Rangers that year, but I each of the last two years one of the players I profiled actually was picked (Nick Williams and Travis Demeritte).

This year, the Rangers don't have their own first round pick, having lost that for signing Shin-Soo Choo, but they have a supplemental first rounder (#30 overall) for losing Nelson Cruz.  While just one high pick makes the draft a little less exciting, I think its still worth taking a look at some guys who may be options for Texas at #30.  So in the next few weeks, I'll do little write-ups on some players who could end up being drafted by the Rangers.

On Friday, we took at look at University of Virginia outfielder Derek Fisher.  Today, we're looking at Fisher's teammate, University of Virginia righthanded pitcher Nick Howard.

I decided to profile Howard today because Baseball America has the Rangers taking him at #30 in their latest mock draft.  Howard is ranked #25 on BA's top 100 draft prospect list, and is a two-way player for Virginia, playing third base and also pitching in relief for the Cavaliers.  Howard has 48 strikeouts in 26 innings pitching in relief for Virginia this year, and was a reliever as a freshman, but worked as a starting pitcher as a sophomore.  BA says he has a four-pitch mix that makes him a potential starter, but also could reach the majors quickly as a reliever with his mid-90s fastball.

ESPN isn't as high on Howard, as they have him ranked at #59 on their draft prospect rankings.  They don't have a mock draft out yet.  MLB.com, meanwhile, has Howard going at #31 -- one spot after the Rangers pick -- in their latest mock draft.

The Rangers love to collect athletic power arms, and so Howard may be attractive to them at #30, even if there are questions about whether he'll end up as a starter or a reliever.  I've embedded video of him below.

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