The Texas Rangers currently have five picks in the 2020 MLB Draft, 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. Today we take a look at Port Orange, Florida, high school outfielder Zac Veen
Zac Veen is a 6’5”, 200 lb. lefty swinging, righty throwing outfielder at Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, Florida. Veen is a guy who — in contrast to someone like Pete Crow-Armstrong — only recently put himself on the map as a big time high school prospect, starting to get noticed a couple of years ago, and moving rapidly up the boards in the last year or so.
Veen is a center fielder currently, though the consensus seems to be he’s going to fill out as he gets older, which, combined with less than great reads and instincts in the outfield, will likely result in him moving to a corner outfield spot. His bat is considered big time, however, with some of the most impressive power in this draft class combined with a strong approach and plate discipline.
There are concerns among some observers about Veen’s ability to make contact and how he will handle major league velocity — he’s likely to have a fair amount of swing-and-miss, but the hit tool is viewed as solid due to his approach and batting eye. His power is his carrying tool, but the hit tool is advanced enough that he’s able to utilize the power in game situations already. He’s committed to the University of Florida, but appears to be a slam dunk to be picked high enough that he won’t be going to school this fall.
Baseball America has Veen at #7 on their pre-draft top 500, where he is the highest-rated high school player on their board. The same is true of MLB Pipeline, which slots Veen at #7 in their pre-draft rankings as the top high schooler. Fangraphs has Veen at #5 on their board, while their former writer Kiley McDaniel has Hassell at #4 on his board for ESPN. Keith Law, like BA and MLB Pipeline, has Veen at #7.
Keith Law has Hassell going to the Kansas city Royals at #4 in his mock draft. Jonathan Mayo’s mock draft has Veen going to the Pittsburgh Pirates at #7. Kiley McDaniel’s mock draft has Veen being taken by the Toronto Blue Jays at #5. Veen is mocked to the Royals in the Baseball America mock draft, while at MLB Pipeline Jim Callis mocks Veen going to the Jays.
Veen is probably going to be off the board when the Rangers picked, and part of the reason I wrote him up is because MonkeyEpoxy asked me to. Veen’s combination of big time power and a quality approach and eye at the plate are a rare combination for a prep player, and he’s someone who could end up turning into a legitimate superstar if the power continues to develop and the concerns about him catching up with top flight velocity are unfounded. Those guys generally go at the top of the draft.
But 2020 is weird, and there’s more uncertainty and variability right now, and teams could shy away from high school players more than usual. I wouldn’t expect Veen to drop to #15, but if he does, he would be a great pickup for the Rangers.