Marc Church, a 20 year old righthanded pitcher, has been assigned to the Down East Wood Ducks of the Low-A...whatever cardinal direction that division has been assigned as a placeholder name, according to Scott Lucas.
Why am I doing a post about a pitcher most of us have never heard of, and who didn’t appear on any prospect lists this offseason? (I mean, aside from the fact I didn’t really post anything today and am feeling bad about that).
Church’s name may have popped up on your Twitter feed recently, courtesy of Eric Longenhagen, one of the Fangraphs prospect guys:
The most dominant inning I've seen in a while came from a guy whose name I didn't know until I looked at the lineup card today. Here's 20y/o Rangers righty Marc Church paving over Padres prospects. https://t.co/D1yaUxLOAq— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) May 18, 2021
So, yeah, he’s probably someone we should be keeping an eye on for Down East.
Where did Church come from? He was an 18th round draft pick in the 2019 draft out of North Atlanta High School, signing for a well-above-slot $300,000 bonus. The Rangers didn’t sign 7th round Brandon Sproat, a high school pitcher out of Florida who Texas had allocated above-slot money for, and so once they realized he was headed to college they used some of the savings for a number of high school pitchers taken after the 11th round. Along with Church, the Rangers signed 11th rounder Nick Lockhart for $400,000, 12th rounder Gavin Collyer for $585,000, and 32nd rounder Michael Brewer for $375,000.
Church was ranked 466th on the Baseball America draft rankings for the 2019 draft — he was listed at 6’3”, 190 lbs., and BA noted that he was a converted infielder who hadn’t been pitching for long. He will now join Gavin Collyer on the Ducks roster (assuming Collyer hasn’t been supplanted since last I checked).
Longenhagen also notes in that thread about the Rangers farm that “it’s not the best system in baseball because it doesn’t have a Wander Franco, but it is the deepest.” And I know that talking about how deep the Rangers farm system is is one of those things that prompts rolls of the eyes, dismissive comments about how every fan thinks their team’s system is deep because they don’t know other systems, or sarcastic pissiness. But I think its worth noting, nonetheless.