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 morning, we are looking at Alex Speas, a righthanded high school pitcher out of McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia. Speas is listed at 6'4", 190 lbs., and is described by ESPN as "[s]ushi-raw but absolutely oozing with athleticism and upside," which is a siren song to the Rangers front office. He throws in the mid-90s, with BA saying he's been clocked as high as 97, and he has garnered praise for his feel on his breaking ball. That sort of repertoire would normally make him a potential first half of the first round selection, but his control problems are a big red flag that have led to him being projected by many to go outside the first round.
Keith Law's Big Board has Speas at #35, right behind Alec Hansen, another hard-throwing, high-upside, high-risk pitcher, albeit of the college variety. Baseball America has him at #41, while MLB Pipeline has Speas at #52, comparing him to Touki Toussaint, the 2014 first rounder who Arizona traded to Atlanta. Neither Law nor BA has Speas going in the first round.
Speas fits the mold of what the Rangers like in their pitchers, and MLB Pipeline actually says that he's been compared to Dwight Gooden (not to put any pressure on the kid or anything). For a team that likes Speas, though, the athleticism would lead one to think that his control issues can be straightened out with time, and the velocity and potential of the second pitch make him a potential front of the rotation starter if it all comes together.