The 2020 MLB Draft appears likely to occur as originally scheduled on June 10, 2020, although in an abbreviated, five round fashion.
The Texas Rangers currently have five picks, and while it is possible they could trade for a competitive balance pick from another team, it appears most likely they will have just their regular selections in each round. Their first pick is at #14 overall, and then they pick at #50, #87, #117, and #147.
In the run up to the draft, we will be highlight some players who are potential Ranger draft picks. Last year no one aside from Josh Jung that we wrote about was actually picked by the Rangers, as we mostly looked at prep players for their later picks, and they went college-heavy early in the draft for the first time in years. This year, the uncertainty over whether they will emphasize college players again or go back to prep players would make it hard to narrow down the list of potential prospects even in a normal year — the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic having shut down amateur play creates even more uncertainty about potential picks.
On the plus side, the lack of games and actual new scouting going on means that there’s going to be a lot less updated information, so a write-up I do now will likely still be more or less valid a month from now.
In any case, in the coming days, we will be doing write-ups of potential Texas Ranger draft picks. We will kick things off today with a look at North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey.
Patrick Bailey is a 6’2”, 192 lb. switch hitting catcher for North Carolina State University. Bailey was ranked #299 in the 2017 BA top 500 draft prospect rankings, coming out of Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina. He got great marks for his defense at the time, but there were significant questions about how much he would hit. The Minnesota Twins took a flyer on him in the 37th round.
The decision by Bailey to go the NCAA route appears to have been a good one, as his stock has improved tremendously during his time at NC State. Bailey’s offense has been better than expected, and he has earned rave reviews for his defensive skills — in particular, his game-calling and pitcher handling. While most college teams have their coaching staff call pitches, with the catcher simply relaying the signs, Bailey calls his own games. For a team that prioritizes those skills — such as the Rangers — Bailey would be a particularly enticing target.
Bailey is currently ranked #14 in the Baseball America draft rankings, which is why I went ahead and wrote him up today, since Texas picks #14 overall. MLB Pipeline has Bailey at #17 on their list. Fangraphs has Bailey at #11 on their Board, saying he has a good chance of being a regular but that the bat limits his star potential. Kiley McDaniel has Bailey at #20 on his list. Keith Law’s top 30 draft prospect list, which came out in March, had Bailey at #10.
Kiley McDaniels’ mock draft out today has Bailey going to the Philadelphia Phillies at #15 — one pick behind the Rangers. Jonathan Mayo’s mock draft in late April had Bailey going at #16, to the Chicago Cubs. BA’s mid-April mock draft had Bailey going to Texas.
Bailey would make sense for Texas at #14 — the Rangers don’t shy away from going after catchers, and they particularly like the guys with the defense and pitcher-handling skills Bailey offers. There are swing and miss concerns with Bailey, but there is also decent power potential, and the total package offers up what could be, for the Rangers, a safe option for their first pick.