ARLINGTON -- The Rangers went big on Tuesday, selecting John Mayberry, a junior from Stanford, with the club's first pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. The 21-year-old Mayberry was the 19th player selected overall.
"We saw the athleticism, the arm strength and his background," said Rangers director of player personnel Dom Chiti. "We feel confident he can play in the outfield. ... There is not a whole lot there not to like."
Mayberry, who stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 pounds, is a 2005 National Player of the Year candidate and was named a First Team Preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
He was delighted to be selected by the Rangers.
"The biggest thing I wanted to do was just get an opportunity to get out there and play," Mayberry said. "The Texas Rangers are a great organization and I'm very happy to become a part of it."
The power-hitting first baseman, selected by the Rangers as a right fielder, is hitting .303 with eight home runs and 53 RBIs in 59 games for the Cardinal this season. He has 18 doubles and has been successful on five of seven stolen-base attempts. He will likely start at Class A Spokane so he can become familiar with playing the outfield.
"This is a good first baseman, but a guy athletically who is skilled enough to play out in the field and use his tools," Rangers scouting director Ron Hopkins said. "Most first baseman don't run and throw like this guy."
For his three-year career at Stanford, Mayberry boasts a .312 average with 28 home runs and 148 RBIs in 172 games. He has 35 career doubles, eight triples and a slugging percentage of .520. The Rangers have not set a timeframe for Mayberry's big league debut. The player has not either.
"I really haven't put a timetable on it," Mayberry said. "My objectives remain the same, and that's to get better each and every day, and if I do that then I should be able to move up the ranks pretty quickly."
Mayberry's success started early.
As a freshman in 2003, Mayberry, who is from Kansas City, Mo., hit .299 with four home runs, 33 RBIs and five stolen bases to earn Freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball. He also scored 33 runs and racked up 58 hits, including six doubles and six triples.
Last season, he hit .333 with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs while boasting a .625 slugging percentage to earn a First Team All-Pac-10 selection as a sophomore. Mayberry was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the 2002 draft, but did not sign a professional baseball contract, becoming the highest selection and the only first-round draft pick from 2002 to attend a four-year college.
John Mayberry Jr.
Position: 1B B/T: R/R
H: 6'6" W: 230
Born: 1983-12-21 Class: 4YR
Impressive physique. Extra-large frame. Evenly proportioned throughout. Leverage, power on extention. Controls barrel. Very hard contact to all fields. Easy fielder w/ plus arm. Light on his feet. Athletic w/ power potential. Former first round draft pick out of H.S. Ready to play now.
Dad has a lot to share. Mayberry's father, John Sr., played 15 seasons in the Major Leagues with Houston, Kansas City, Toronto and the Yankees, from 1968 to 1982.
"I can't even put a finger on the number of things [that my father gave to me]," Mayberry said. "All of his experiences that he's been able to relay to me, the work ethic that he has, you know, working out in the cages and things. It's just to be able to see how a Major League baseball player carries himself, and things like that are the biggest things that my dad was able to give to me."
Being a second-generation professional baseball player has its advantages, Chiti said.
"He understands the ins and the outs, and that cuts off a lot of the learning curve," Chiti said. "Being a second generation myself, you have been there. You understand how it works and know what to expect. The advice that he is going to get from his family -- they have been there and know the ups and downs -- is going to guide him as well as us."
The 19th pick in the first round marked the latest Texas has had its first pick since drafting 25th in 2000. The 2005 draft marks the third consecutive year that the Rangers have not lost any draft picks due to free agent compensation.
Last year, the Rangers selected right-handed pitcher Thomas Diamond as the club's first pick. Left-handed pitcher John Danks was the club's first pick in 2003, and infielder Drew Meyer was selected in 2002. Mark Teixeira was the club's first pick, the fifth overall selection, in 2001.
Teixeira, who is arbitration-eligible after the season, can become a free agent after the 2008 season. His status had nothing to do with Mayberry's selection, Rangers assistant general manager Jon Daniels said.
"Tex's situation is not related. We don't draft like that," Daniels said. "If the best guy on the board was a left-handed pitcher, we would have taken him and it would have nothing to do with Kenny Rogers being a free agent. In the first round, the value is so big and the stakes are so high, you want the best player, and Mayberry is a potential impact player who can do a lot of different things."
As for Mayberry, he is eager to begin his professional career. The Rangers do not foresee any signability issues with the player.
"I feel that I can be a middle-of-the-lineup power-type of player," he said. "I've got athleticism, some pretty good arm strength and I think I can definitely be an asset to the team out in the outfield and with my bat."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.