Texas Rangers release Kevin Matthews: Former first round draft choice Kevin Matthews, a lefthanded pitcher who has been working to return from shoulder injuries this season, has been released by the Texas Rangers after having been charged with a DWI, according to Jeff Wilson on Twitter.
Matthews was charged in Hickory, North Carolina, where he has been pitching for the low-A Hickory Crawdads. The 22 year old was the Rangers' first pick in the 2011 draft, going #33 overall, but has largely been a disappointment. He missed all of 2013 and much of the 2014 season due to shoulder issues, but even pre-injury, hadn't really distinguished himself as a prospect.
The early part of the 2011 draft has not worked out well for the Rangers -- aside from Matthews, Zach Cone, the #37 pick, has not panned out, and third round picks Kyle Castro and Desmond Henry are no longer with the organization. The Rangers were unable to sign Brandon Woodruff, Derek Fisher and Max Pentecost, their 5th, 6th and 7th round picks. Only Will Lamb, their 2nd rounder, looks like he might provide value among the early picks.
On the other hand, the later rounds have been fruitful. Kyle Hendricks, an 8th rounder, has pitched well for the Cubs since being traded to them in the Ryan Dempster deal. 11th rounder Connor Sadzeck is working his way back from 2014 Tommy John surgery, and is seen as an intriguing pitching prospect. Andrew Faulkner and Jerad Eickhoff were selected in the 14th and 15th rounds, and have established themselves as solid pitching prospects in the upper levels, while Ryan Rua and Nick Martinez, the team's 17th and 18th round picks, broke camp with the major league team this spring. 30th rounder Phil Klein has bounced between AAA and the majors in a relief role, and 48th round C.J. Edwards, dealt to the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal, is considered one of the better pitching prospects in baseball.