2016 Texas Rangers draft preview: With the MLB draft coming next week, I'm going to highlight a few of the players who I anticipate will be on the Rangers' radar at #30. These aren't scouting reports or anything, but just capsule write-ups so you have some familiarity with guys who would appear to be in the mix for the Rangers to take with their first round pick.
This afternoon we are looking at Joey Wentz, a lefthanded pitcher out of Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas. A couple of years ago, when doing draft capsules, there was a high school pitcher whose stuff drew great reviews, but who had some arm issues in the spring that saw him slide on some draft boards. I figured someone would take him before the Rangers' pick at #30, and thus didn't do a write-up of Luis Ortiz, who ended up sliding to #30 and getting taken by the Rangers.
Not wanting to make a similar mistake this year, I'm going ahead and profiling Wentz, even though earlier in the process the expectation was that Wentz would go well before Texas picked. Wentz is a 6'5", 210 lb. lefthander who has been on folks' radar for years as both a pitcher and a power-hitting first baseman first baseman. While he's long been viewed as projectable, and got folks excited with a fastball that reached the mid-90s, Keith Law noted in his most recent rankings (where he has Wentz at #22) that he was at the "88-90 range" at the end of the season. BA has Wentz at #26 on their top 500, describing his curve as a potential plus pitch, while MLB Pipeline has Wentz at #16, and puts 55 potential on his curveball and change up.
Law has Wentz, a Virginia commit, out of the first round in his most recent mock, although he identifies him as someone who could be a late first round pick to a team that is willing to give him an above-slot bonus. BA also has Wentz falling out of the first round, saying he's "considered to be a very tough sign" now that he's projected to be late first/supplemental first rather than early first round -- this is after projecting Wentz at #14 to Cleveland in their May 13 mock.
You keep saying that Texas is expected to go high-ceiling high school player at #30, and Wentz definitely fits the bill as a big, projectable lefty who has hit the mid-90s, but hasn't shown the ability to stay there. This is someone I could see Texas grabbing if they think they can get him fixed so the velocity stays in the low- to mid-90s rather than the 88-90 range Law says he's at now, though that's the sort of player who could also bust out in A ball.
The Wichita Eagle had a write-up on Wentz and fellow Kansan Riley Pint back in May, which you can check out here. Video of Wentz is below: