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Local product gets the call on Day 2

Local product gets the call on Day 2

ARLINGTON -- Friday morning, Matt Thompson sat in his Burleson, Texas, home watching the First-Year Player Draft live on his computer and waited for his phone to ring. With the Texas Rangers' pick coming up, it finally did.

"My advisor called me, then my dad called me, and he said don't be surprised if you get picked here," Thompson said.

In a matter of minutes Thompson, a right-handed pitcher out of Grace Prep Academy in Arlington, saw his name pop up on his computer screen with a Rangers logo beside it.

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"It was awesome," said Thompson, a lifelong Rangers fan. "It was special. Of course, it was going to special no matter what, but it was even better to be drafted by them."

Thompson was one of only a few high schoolers the Rangers picked Friday, but one of many pitchers selected by the club. Of Texas' 44 picks on Friday, only a quarter were high school prospects and half were pitchers, as opposed to position players.

While high school selections were few and far between for the Rangers, the ones they made were intriguing.

Texas' first pick of the day was Thompson, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound pitcher from nearby Burleson. He is apparently a hot commodity in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area having signed with TCU to play baseball for the Horned Frogs next season.

"I'm ready and hopefully we'll get a deal worked out, but if we don't, I signed with TCU for a reason," Thompson said.

Thompson was named Pitcher of the Year in his District this season. As a junior, he was an All-State selection. In his last two seasons, he went 16-6 with 176 strikeouts, featuring a fastball that can reach 93 mph, as well as a nice changeup and slider.

Another high school pitcher Texas drafted with ties to the Rangers was Jack Armstrong, whose father, Jack, pitched his final season in the Major Leagues with the Rangers. Texas drafted Jack Jr. in the 36th round out of Jupiter Community High School in Jupiter, Fla.

Rangers' top five selections
Pick
POS
Name
School
11.1BJustin SmoakSouth Carolina
57.LHPRobby RossLexington Christian Acad.
89.LHPTimothy MurphyUCLA
123.RHPJoseph WielandBishop Manogue HS (Nev.)
153.OFClark MurphyFallbrook HS (Calif.)
Complete Rangers Draft results >

At 6-foot-7, Armstrong is also a basketball prospect and he's played some at first base, making him a raw pitching prospect to say the least. His fastball can reach the low-90s, but his command is average and his delivery could probably use some tinkering. The right-hander has committed to play baseball at Vanderbilt University.

The Rangers drafted six shortstops on Friday -- the most of any infield position -- the second of which was Harold Martinez out of Braddock High School in Miami.

In February, Martinez was tabbed the No. 7 high school prospect in the nation and the No. 14 prospect overall by Baseball America and was projected to be a first-round pick. A native of Cuba, Martinez already has a Major League body at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, but he didn't live up to the hype his senior season. If he doesn't get the money he's looking for from the Rangers, he'll play at the University of Miami next season.

"He's a guy we like," Rangers scouting director Ron Hopkins said. "We're going to follow him this summer."

Texas went after a few players with ties to the Majors, as they drafted Benjamin Petralli, son of former Rangers catcher Geno Petralli, with their 33rd pick. The Rangers drafted the younger Petralli the year before, but he returned to school. They also took Charlie Robinson (29th round) and James McGraw (40th round). Both are sons of Rangers scouts Jay Robinson and Gary McGraw. The rest of the Rangers Draft revolved around pitchers with big arms and toolsy outfielders, including Auburn University outfielder Mike Bianucci in the eighth round and Virginia Commonwealth University outfielder Jared Bolden in the ninth round.

"I don't know that I see them going through the system fast, but they are good college players with good bats," Hopkins said.

Players selected on Day 2:
7. Matt Thompson, RHP, Grace Prep Academy, Texas
8. Mike Bianucci, OF, Auburn University
9. Jared Bolden, OF, Virginia Commonwealth University
10. Kevin Castner, RHP, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
11. Clifford Springston, LHP, University of Arkansas
12. Corey Young, LHP, Seton Hall University
13. Ed Koncel, SS, Joliet (Ill.) Junior College
14. Justin Gutsie, RHP, St. John's University
15. Joey Butler, OF, University of New Orleans
16. Justin Miller, RHP, Fresno State University
17. Dennis Guinn, 1B, Florida State University
18. Doug Hogan, C, Clemson University
19. Harold Martinez, SS, Braddock (Fla.) High School
20. Mike Hollander, SS, Louisiana State University
21. Dustin Brader, RHP, Arizona State University
22. Trevor Hurley, RHP, Kansas State University
23. Eric Evans, LHP, Radford (Va.) University
24. Adam Cobb, OF, Louisiana Tech University
25. Tanner Roark, RHP, No School
26. Chris Dove, OF, Elon University
27. Charles Lowell, LHP, Winfield (Mo.) High School
28. Nate Freiman, 1B, Duke University
29. Charlie Robertson, RHP, Bella Vista (Calif.) High School
30. Justin King, RHP, Jacksonville State University
31. Kyle Higgins, SS, Monmouth University
32. Tyler Tufts, RHP, Indiana University
33. Benjamin Petralli, C, Oral Roberts University
34. Ryan Schlecht, RHP, Mount Olive College, Ariz.
35. John Ruettiger, OF, Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy
36. Jack Armstrong, RHP, Jupiter (Fla.) Community High School
37. Matthew Andriese, RHP, Redlands East Valley (Calif.) High School
38. Jason Ogata, 2B, Oregon State University
39. Bradley Miller, SS, Olympia (Fla.) High School
40. James McGraw, OF, Corban College, Ore.
41. Brian Feekin, LHP, Iowa Western Community College
42. Stephen Pryor, RHP, Cleveland State Community College
43. Cody Eppley, RHP, Virginia Commonwealth University
44. Alex Pepe, LHP, Florida Atlantic University
45. Kevin Torres, C, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School
46. Erik Morrison, SS, University of Kansas
47. Lejuan Hill, OF, Austin Peay State University
48. Daniel Bowman, OF, Turner Ashby (Va.) High School
49. Truman Sample, RHP, Crowder College, Ariz.
50. Levi Rosecrans, C, Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe High School

Breakdown of picks:
Day One:
College: 3
High School: 3
P: 4
1B: 1
OF: 1

Day Two
College: 33
High School: 11
P: 22
C: 4
1B: 2
2B: 1
SS: 6
OF: 9
Total: 50

Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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