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Keith Law mock draft has Rangers going college bat

Keith Law has the Rangers going with a Big 12 hitter with their first pick in 2020

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

2020 MLB Draft: Keith Law has a new mock draft out today, and he has the Rangers going with Nick Loftin, the Baylor shortstop, at #14.

Taking Loftin would mean the Rangers went with a Big 12 infielder with their top pick for two straight years, and would mean using a premium pick on a Baylor infielder for the second year in a row — the Rangers took Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung with their top pick in 2019, and took Davis Wendzel, a Baylor infielder, with the sandwich round pick they acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Alex Claudio trade.

Loftin, a 6’1”, 180 lb. righthanded swinging shortstop, would be a very different pick from what the Rangers have generally done early in on past years — Law describes him as “low ceiling” in the link above, and he is a guy who is solid across the board rather than having any particular noteworthy tool.

Going with Loftin early could result in an underslot deal that would set the Rangers up to potentially go overslot for someone in the second round — I mentioned in the Jared Kelley write-up today that Kelley could be a potential overslot second round target, for example. Loftin would seem likely to be obtainable for less than slot at 14.

Taking Loftin early would also perhaps be an indication that they think they can unlock more power from him, or that his power is being underrated — the lack of power is one of the biggest knocks on him currently. After a 135 ISO in 2018 as a freshman for Baylor, Loftin improved that to a 179 ISO as a sophomore, and had a 246 ISO in 14 games before the season was shut down this spring. The Rangers reportedly like Jung and Wendzel in part because they believed those two would be able to hit for more power in the pros than they had in college, and it could be they view Loftin the same way.