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 University of Oklahoma righthanded pitcher Alec Hansen. You want high-risk, high-reward? Hansen is your guy. Hansen is listed at 6'7", 235 lbs., and while he came into the season as a potential top 5 pick, but control issues bumped him from OU's rotation and sent him to the bullpen. Hansen can hit 98 mph with his fastball and, as a sophomore, had a slider that showed it could be a plus pitch, but major control issues have seen him plummet on the draft boards. He also has a history of elbow problems, being shut down in the fall due to either elbow soreness or forearm tightness (depending on the source), which, of course, is going to send up red flags that there are UCL issues.
Hansen is ranked #37 on the Baseball America top 500 list, and #35 on Keith Law's list, though neither has him going in the first round of their most recent mock drafts. MLB Pipeline has Hansen all the way down at #62. The Rangers love high-ceiling pitchers, and as noted above, Hansen's ceiling is as all as any pitcher in this draft. But if you are drafting him, you are going to have to work on his mechanics to get him repeating his delivery better to improve his command -- and hope that, in doing so, you don't rob him of his velocity, as reportedly happened with Blake Beavan -- and you also are going to likely have some concerns about whether he's going to need Tommy John surgery in the near future. The Rangers grabbed Mike Matuella in the third round last year, but had extra money in their bonus pool due to the savings from signing Dillon Tate to less than slot for the #4 pick. Hansen might be more of an option in the second round than the first for Texas, if he's still on the board, but they're going to have to be confident they can sign him, confident in the medicals, and Hansen is going to have to decide he's better served going pro now than returning to school and trying to rebuild his value.