Rangers land high school lefty Ragans at 30

Pitcher has modeled himself after fellow southpaw Hamels

Rangers land high school lefty Ragans at 30

ARLINGTON -- Cole Ragans, a left-handed pitcher, was beginning his junior year at North Florida Christian High School when he started looking at video of Major League pitchers. The pitcher who caught his attention was Cole Hamels.

"I started trying to throw like him," Ragans said. "I wanted to be like him. I spent countless [hours] watching him pitch on video."

No. 63 overall: Alex Speas

Ragans should have a chance to meet Hamels now that he has been taken by the Rangers on Thursday with the 30th overall pick in the 2016 Draft. The Draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon CT.

"Oh my gosh, I don't know what I would do," Ragans said. "That would be a dream come true."

Ragans has committed to Florida State but made it clear that he is planning to sign with the Rangers.

"I was sitting in my living room with my family watching, and when it got to the 26th pick, the phone started ringing," Ragans said. "It was my advisor. I started shaking I was so nervous. He said the Rangers were interested in me. I didn't know what to think. It's a dream come true."

Ragans, 6-foot-3, is considered one of the more polished high school pitchers in the 2016 Draft. He was 9-2 with a 0.90 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 70 innings. Opponents hit .122 off him and he threw five complete games (three shutouts), including a no-hitter.

"Love the kid, love the stuff," Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg said. "We love the pitchability. He is a left-hander with size. He has worked his tail off and wants to be good."

The scouting report on Ragans is he has a good, clean delivery with a fastball clocked at 89-93 miles per hour with command. He also has a good curve and a promising changeup.

"We're very excited," Fagg said. "We've done a lot of work with Cole throughout the season. I saw him pitch multiple times this season. We have a very talented left-handed pitcher along with a very good person who fills all the needs as far as the makeup parameters we set forth. We're very excited to get Cole on board with the Texas Rangers."

The Rangers have taken a pitcher with their first pick in each of the last three drafts, as Ragans follows Chi Chi Gonzalez (2013), Luis Ortiz (2014) and Dillon Tate (2015). The Rangers also took high school left-handers Matt Purke and Kevin Matthews with their top picks in 2009 and '11.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.