Rangers pleased with their college-heavy Draft haul

Rangers pleased with their college-heavy Draft haul

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers opened the third day of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft by selecting outfielder Scott Heineman from the University of Oregon.

Scouting director Kip Fagg then announced the Rangers were dedicating the pick to Julie McGraw. She is the wife of long-term Rangers scout Gary McGraw and is recovering from a serious stroke earlier this year. McGraw works the Pacific Northwest -- he signed pitcher Keone Kela and followed Heineman for the past three years -- but has been away from his duties this season to tend to Julie.

"It has been rough on all of us," Fagg said. "We all understand how this job can grind on you and the sacrifices your family has to make. When something like this happens to a spouse, it means something to all of us."

Heineman was one of 40 players taken by the Rangers during the three-day draft, beginning with UC-Santa Barbara pitcher Dillon Tate with the fourth overall pick and ending with London Lindley, an outfielder from Georgia Perimeter College, in the 40th round.

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The Rangers leaned heavily to the college side. They took 18 college pitchers and 12 position players as opposed to five high school pitchers and five position players.

They also appeared to cover a wide area as they picked players from such diverse colleges as Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), Liberty (Va.) University, Herkimer County (N.Y.) College, Eastern New Mexico, University of West Florida, Polk State, Appalachian State, Grand Valley (Mi) College, St. Catharine (Ky.) College and Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) College.

"I know every year you feel good," Fagg said. "This year even more so, it went better than I thought. We did a ton of work on these guys, we stepped up our game. I couldn't be more happy with how we did."

The Rangers also went for size. They drafted 11 pitchers who are listed at 6-foot-5 or taller. The tallest is 6-foot-9 Adam Choplick, a left-hander from the University of Oklahoma who went to high school locally at Denton Ryan. He was the only player drafted with any kind of Dallas-Fort Worth connection.

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The Rangers did go to their favorite state of Georgia to draft a couple of intriguing high school position players. They took outfielder Chad Smith with their fifth-round pick and first baseman Curtis Terry with the 13th-round pick. Both are from the same Gwinnett County school system outside Atlanta, although different high schools. Smith has a commitment to the University of Georgia.

"Chad is a talented athlete that has tremendous work ethic," South Gwinnett coach Steve Tischner said. "Chad also has instincts that can't be taught which expand his tools of the game. He runs the bases well and gets great jumps defensively in the outfield. Offensively Chad has a lot of upside as he was one of the youngest players in the 2015 Draft Class."

Fagg called Terry one of "best hitting prospects" in the entire draft.

The Rangers used their 19th round pick to take infielder Xavier Turner from Vanderbilt. Turner is currently serving a one-year suspension by the NCAA although the reason has never been announced.

Fagg said he is aware of the situation but knows Turner well. He has met with him, and the Rangers are comfortable taking him.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.