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Draft Preview: Rangers can make impact

Draft Preview: Rangers can make impact

The Rangers have four of the top 49 picks in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Only the 2007 Draft, where they had five of the top 54, put them in a better situation to infuse their farm system with multiple top prospects.

Texas' unsettled ownership situation would seem to raise the question of the importance of being able to sign its selections, 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 done in the Draft.

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Draft Central

MLB.com will offer live coverage and analysis of the entire First-Year Player Draft on Monday through Wednesday on MLB.com/Live. The first round and Compensation Round A will be broadcast live on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday, beginning with the Draft preview show at 5 p.m. CT.

MLB.com Draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join Greg Amsinger, Harold Reynolds, 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 11 a.m., and rounds 31-50 will be streamed on Wednesday, starting at 11 a.m. 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 are unable 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 at 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 would likely take Choice if he does slide.

RANGERS RECENT
TOP DRAFT PICKS
Year Player Current team
2009 Matthew Purke TCU (NCAA)
2009 Tanner Scheppers Okla. City (AAA)
2008 Justin Smoak Rangers (MLB)
2007 Blake Beavan Frisco (AA)
2006 Kasey Kiker Frisco (AA)
2005 John Mayberry Lehigh Valley (AAA/PHI)

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. Texas officials also like premium athletes who can play the middle of the field: catcher, shortstop and center field. The organization could use more power bats.

Trend watch
The Rangers say they take the best player available. In four years under Daniels, the best players early have been high school pitchers. Texas has 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 past three Texas Draft classes who 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.

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