Draft preview: Rangers stockpile early picks

Draft preview: Rangers stockpile early picks

The Rangers have four of the top 49 picks in the draft. Only the 2007 draft, when they had five of the top 54, put them in a better situation to infuse their farm system with multiple top prospects.

The Rangers' unsettled ownership situation would seem to raise the question of the importance of being able to sign their draft picks, especially after not being able to do so last year with Matt Purke. But club president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels insist that the Rangers have the financial ability to get what they need in the draft.

Draft Central

MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft from June 7-9 on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, June 7, beginning with the Draft preview show at 6 p.m. ET.

MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, former Rangers GM John Hart, Peter Gammons and Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis on Monday's broadcast.

Coverage for rounds 2-50 will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live. Rounds 2-30 will be streamed on Tuesday, beginning at noon, and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at noon. Host Pete McCarthy will be joined by Mayo and former general manager Jim Duquette.

Here's a glance at what the Rangers have in store as the Draft approaches:

In about 50 words
Once again, the draft favors high school players but doesn't seem to weigh strongly to either position players or pitchers. Beyond Bryce Harper, there seems to be no clear consensus or certainty on how the first round will fall. The Rangers have a handful of players they like, and pitching will always be foremost on their minds. They have the 15th overall pick as compensation for not signing Purke. They don't get that pick next season if they fail to sign the player drafted in that slot this year.

The scoop
"The ownership situation doesn't really impact how we're going into the draft. While we're in this process, we have the ability to spend within the budget, and the budget put together last fall anticipated what kind of funds we'll need to draft and sign the kind of players we need."
-- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.

First-round buzz
The Rangers like drafting players out of Texas, and they could use an impact bat in their system. The question is if University of Texas-Arlington outfielder Michael Choice will fall into their lap or they'll come up short like they did in 2006, when they were sure they were going to get Tim Lincecum. The Rangers have to take Choice if he falls.

Shopping list
Pitching is always foremost on the Rangers minds going into the draft. Their system is strong in pitching, and they want to keep it that way. The Rangers also like premium athletes who can play in the middle of the field: catcher, shortstop and center field. The Rangers could still use more power bats in the system.

Trend watch
The Rangers officially say they take the best player available. In four years under Daniels, the best players early have been high school pitchers. They have had nine first- or compensation-round picks, and five have been used on high school pitchers.

Recent Draft History

Rising fast
The Rangers have had horrible luck with their second picks. Robbie Ross, a high school pitcher out of Kentucky taken in 2008, may be the exception. He is off to a strong start at Class A Hickory.

Cinderella story
Right-handed pitcher Cody Eppley was a 43rd round pick out of Virginia Commonwealth who is pitching well at Double-A Frisco.

In The Show
Outfielder Julio Borbon, first baseman Justin Smoak and pitcher Tommy Hunter are the only three players in the last three Rangers drafts that have reached the Major Leagues.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.