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 Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler.
Dillon Dingler is a 6’3”, 210 lb. righthanded hitting catcher out of Ohio State. Undrafted and not in the Baseball America top 500 draft prospects in 2017 out of Jackson High School in Massillon, Ohio, Dingler was named a captain for the Buckeyes as a sophomore and took over as their catcher that year as well, after having played center field previously.
Dingler is a big, solid defensive catcher who gets good marks for his arm and athleticism who, as a relatively recent convert to the position, does not have a great deal of experience behind the plate, but is viewed as having the makeup that will allow him to grow and develop. He’s described by at least one source as the “best defensive prospect among college catchers” in this year’s draft.
Dingler’s bat is more of a question — he makes good contact and has a good approach, but he has struggled to utilize the raw power scouts believe he has. After slashing .244/.332/.369 as a freshman, Dingler improved to .291/.392/.424 as a sophomore, and was off to a .340/.404/.760 start in 13 games this year before things were called.
Baseball America has Dingler at #27 on their pre-draft top 500, noting that teams like solid all-around college shortstops. MLB Pipeline puts Dingler at #24 on their board, comparing him to Oakland A’s catching prsopect Sean Murphy. Fangraphs slots has Dingler at #29 on their board. At ESPN, Kiley McDaniel has Dingler at #17 on his updated board. Keith Law’s latest top 100 board, which dropped Saturday, has Dingler at #20.
Keith Law has Dingler going to the Milwaukee Brewers in his latest mock draft. Jonathan Mayo’s mock draft has the Cleveland Indians taking Dingler at #23, but also mentions the Brewers as a possibility. Kiley McDaniel’s mock draft also has Dingler going to the Brewers at #20, while also referencing him as being linked to the New York Yankees. The most recent Baseball America mock draft also has Dingler going to the Brewers. The latest version of the Jim Callis mock draft has Dingler going to the Indians, and saying the Oakland A’s at #26 are his floor.
I opted for Dingler today because he was mentioned in Evan Grant’s article this morning as a possibility. Dingler is described as being a late riser, and in his first mock draft, Kiley McDaniel pegged the Rangers at #14 as “the first spot” Dingler might go.
We know the Rangers love their big, solid defensive catchers with great marks for makeup, and Dingler fits the bill there. They also had success taking Jose Trevino, who was a sometimes-catcher at Oral Roberts, and turning him into a top flight defender behind the plate.
Dingler’s approach and contact ability, as well as his ability to draw walks (he had about as many walks as strikeouts over the course of his college career), is consistent with the approach the Rangers targeted in last year’s draft. And as with Josh Jung, he has some raw power he hasn’t tapped into as an amateur, so Texas may feel they can get more from him in that regard.
It is looking more and more that unless someone who is clearly in a tier above the players generally expected to be picked in the mid-first-round dropped — say, Garrett Mitchell — the Rangers will look to cut a below-slot deal with a player and look to go above slot for a later pick. With Dingler expected to go in the second half of the first round, I don’t know that they are going to get him for a huge discount compared to slot, but he’s someone who would seem to fit the offensive profile they have started emphasizing, while also providing them with the defensive traits they love in catcher.