2014 Texas Rangers Draft Preview: Jacob Bukauskas

Hannah Foslien

Taking a look at potential Texas Ranger draftees for the MLB draft

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.

Today, I'm highlighting an intriguing, albeit difficult-to-sign, high school righthanded pitcher, Jacob Bukauskas.

Jacob Bukauskas is a 5'11" righthanded high school pitcher from Ashburn, Virginia.  Bukauskas doesn't turn 18 until October, and he's committed to North Carolina.  Bukauskas reportedly reclassified from a junior to a senior this past fall so he could go to North Carolian sooner, and has written teams saying not to draft him because his commitment is firm.  Baseball America has him ranked #32 on their draft rankings, and ESPN has him at #29.

That being said, Bukauskas is an intriguing prospect because he's got terrific velocity, sitting at 96 and reaching the upper-90s with a fastball that ESPN grades as a 75.  The rest of the package trails well behind the fastball, however...he has a slider and a changeup, but neither of them apparently excite the scouts right now.  Bukauskas's command is also a work-in-progress, and as a sub-six-foot righthander, he's going to get dinged for his lack of height.

The Rangers, however, have shown they are willing to use high draft picks for small pitchers -- Robbie Ross, Robbie Erlin and Cody Buckel all come to mind -- and Bukauskas's velocity makes him an intriguing option at #30.  While Bukauskas may be more of an option for a team with several high picks, which would allow for more flexibility in allocating bonus pool money and alleviate the risk of losing the pick, the Rangers could roll the dice here, knowing that if they don't sign Bukauskas, they get a compensatory pick at around #31 in the 2015 draft.

Video of Bukauskas is below...

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