Rangers aim high with Enright, then draft more arms
By Ryan Posner
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers continued to stick with pitching in second day of the 2016 MLB Draft, taking four pitchers in eight picks after taking two prep hurlers on Day 1. They seemed to stick to a high-ceiling strategy, as only one of their picks on the second day of the Draft were in the MLB.com Top 200 Draft Prospects list.
Along with pitching, the Rangers were not afraid to go after high school and junior-college talent. Six of the team's first 10 picks have either come from the high school or junior college ranks. They have yet to draft a player from Texas, but two of their top three picks came from Florida high schools.
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 11 a.m. CT.
Round 3 (99th overall), Kole Enright, 3B, West Orange HS (Fla.)
The Rangers went with another prep player with their third-round Draft pick, taking switch-hitting infielder Kole Enright out of West Orange High in Winter Garden, Fla., with their first selection on Friday. Enright projects as a strong, athletic corner infielder with plus power, but he will need to sharpen his defensive skills.
"The kid's going to go out there and move around the diamond," said Kip Fagg, Rangers senior director of amateur scouting. "He's a very good defensive player with a switch-bat that's really come on here in the last year. We're very excited to get this guy, he's one of the steals of the Draft."
Enright is committed to Stetson University, which saw the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder as a possible middle infielder, too. Although he did not rank in the MLB.com Top 200 Draft Prospects, he was ranked as the No. 107 prep third baseman in the country by Perfect Game. Stetson coach Pete Dunn lauded Enright's athleticism after his early signing on Dec. 11, saying on the team's official website, "He has the ability to play three infield positions and enough athleticism to play the outfield as well."
Enright was an outstanding student at West Orange High, carrying a 4.63 weighted GPA. He had interest from North Carolina, Wake Forest and Coastal Carolina, too, before committing to Stetson.
Round 4 (129th overall), Charles Leblanc, SS, Pittsburgh CC
The Rangers took their first college player with their fourth pick in the Draft. Leblanc ranked as one of the top college shortstops in the country, placing as one of 10 finalists for the Brooks Wallace award, which recognizes the nation's top shortstop. He was also drafted in the 33rd round of the 2013 Draft by the Brewers.
While it's unclear whether Leblanc will stick at shortstop professionally, his bat is what will keep him moving through the Minors. He won the ACC batting title and ranked No. 13 in the nation with a .405 batting average this year. That was the highest average in the ACC since 2009.
Leblanc, a 20-year-old native of Laval, Quebec, played with the U-18 Canadian National Team before joining Pittsburgh in 2015 and earning first-team All-ACC honors this past season.
Round 5 (159th overall), Kyle Roberts, LHP, Henry Ford CC (Dearborn Heights, Mich.)
The Rangers dove into the junior-college pool with their fifth-round pick, taking a big, live-armed lefty in Roberts. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Central Michigan commit was one of the most highly touted junior college pitchers and has a fastball that sits around 94 mph and a hard slider that lives in the low-80s. He will need to work on command as he walked nearly a batter per inning last season, and may project better as a reliever if he's not able to add a third-plus pitch to his arsenal.
Round 6 (189th overall), Kyle Cody, RHP, Kentucky
Cody was picked at No. 73 in last year's Draft by the Twins as a junior and was ranked No. 152 on the MLB.com Draft Prospects list this year. Negotiations with the Twins broke down after there was concern over his elbow. Cody was a workhorse strike-thrower for Kentucky this past year and has one of the bigger frames of pitchers in the Draft at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds. His fastball sits from 92-95 mph and was registered as high as 98 mph.
Round 7 (219th overall), Sam Huff, C, Arcadia High School (Ariz.)
The 6-foot-4 backstop batted .554, clubbed 14 home runs and drove in 49 runs in 30 games as a high school senior, and he was the fourth prep catcher to go in the Draft. The Grand Canyon University commit has a quick, short swing and has good hands that make him a strong receiver behind the plate. Scouts say Huff has an average arm, but his strong technique may help him continue as a catcher.
Round 8 (249th overall), Tai Tiedemann, RHP, Long Beach City College (Calif.)
The Rangers' second junior college player selected, Tiedemann was a two-way standout for Long Beach City College. The 6-foot-6, 195-pound former prep quarterback had a 2.59 ERA through 11 starts and 15 total appearances last year. He also batted .357 with 10 triples.
Round 9 (279th overall), Hever Bueno, RHP, Arizona State
Bueno is a max-effort righty who has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a power slider to match. He missed nearly his entire junior season with a labrum injury, tossing just 6 1/3 innings. Described as a pure power pitcher by scouts, Bueno may project better as a reliever as a pro. He was selected by the Yankees in the 17th round of the 2013 Draft.
Round 10 (309th overall), Josh Merrigan, OF, Georgia Gwinnett College
The speedy switch-hitter was the first outfielder taken in the Draft by the Rangers. He batted .423 and led Georgia Gwinnett with 85 hits as the team won a school-record 57 games. He also led all NAIA players in the nation with 44 stolen bases, getting caught stealing just five times. Merrigan also played at Chipola Junior College ( Marianna, Fla.) Georgia State and North Carolina before finishing his college career at Georgia Gwinnett.
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.