Close the door, there’s a draft blowing

The baseball draft is next Thursday. For the first time it will be televised on ESPN. I’m sure there will be a bunch of reports on how the NFL and NBA drafts get much better ratings, ignoring that they are on a weekend and are hyped like crazy, whereas the baseball draft is on a Thursday afternoon and largely ignored.

Anyway, I wanted to give a little advice to the Rangers: Draft PITCHING! I don’t care who, all I want to see is a list of 40 pitchers they drafted at the end of the day (or days, since it takes a couple). Who cares who will hit, you can buy hitters (usually). And if you have pitching in depth, you can trade for all the hitters you need – witness whoever gets Teixeira in a couple of months.

I also wanted to do a little look-back at recent Ranger drafts. Since they are kind enough to provide the lists since 2000 on their site, let’s take a look at them.

In 2000, the immortal Scott Heard was the number one pick. Laynce Nix and Nick Masset (for a few innings, until making a name for himself with the White Sox this year) made the Rangers, although Ed Encarnacion got some time in elsewhere. Some other names pop out as being memorable from the Newberg Report, is Erik Thompson still a prospect?

2001 gave us Tex and CJ Wilson, and that’s about it.

2002 started with another immortal, Drew Meyer. At least he made the big club for a cup of coffee. Kam Loe came in. Nate Gold is still a prospect of sorts.

2003 brought Danks #1, now starting in Chicago. Wes Littleton, Ian Kinsler and Scott Feldman came in this draft. Vince Sinisi is ripping the ball in AAA for someone else. Again a few names here and there.

In 2004, Eric Hurley and Thomas Diamond were 1 and 2, still good or very good prospects. A bunch of other names will be mentioned by Jamey Newberg now and again.

2005 got John Mayberry and a cast of thousands.

2006 brought Kasey Kiker, who is starting to take off in A ball I believe.

Okay, so it’s not fair to judge the last few drafts, although players are starting to arrive in the majors, with Tim Lincecum 2-0, 3.24 in 5 starts for the Giants this year (they drafted him #10 in 2006, just ahead of the Rangers taking Kiker at #12). But from 2000-2003, the Rangers graduated 9 players to the big club, of whom Tex is a star, Kinsler is making it, and the rest are fair to middling, some with more upsides than others.

I have no idea how good that is compared to other teams. By my quick math, there have been between 180 and 220 players making their debut each year from 2000-2006, which would be an average of 6-7 per team. I didn’t count all the players the Rangers drafted that made other teams, I’m sure there were some I missed. And of course you get into the trail of player X was traded for player Y, who did play for the Rangers, and so on. But still, if you average 6 players a year, even for 2000-2003 that’s 24 players that should have made it, and we have 11 or so. I’m sure I didn’t miss that many.

So in summary, the Rangers have sucked at drafting too. A franchise that is going nowhere but down. Good old Grady Fuson, meant at one point to be the GM, didn’t do much when he was drafting. Of course it’s also an indictment of John Hart, who was clearly past his sell-by date when he came here (Travis Freaking Hafner!). And ultimately back up the line to Hicks again, he hired these people.

Where does the knowledge come from? Do they scout? Do they run stats? Do they pluck names out of hats? Do they do some thinking? As I said previously, all they have to do is think pitching pitching pitching. This year they have four picks in the first 54, I hope they’re all pitchers. Next year they ought to have the 1 or 2 pick, someone we can really get excited about. Lincecum won’t be there, but someone like him will. Don’t be one of the 9 teams that passed on him, that’s all I ask.

A year or so ago there was a short fad of creating sort of family trees of some teams. Basically showing the current roster and how they got there. Did anyone ever make one for the Rangers? Anyone know where it might be?


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