Rangers don't go far to make first pick
Irving High School right-hander Beavan selected 17th overall
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers were able to get the pitcher they wanted and Blake Beavan was able to realize a childhood dream by getting the team he wanted.Beavan was at the top of the Rangers' wish list and they were able to take him with the 17th overall pick of the First-Year Player Draft on Thursday. Beaven, a right-hander, was not only one of the top high school pitchers in the Draft but he is also from Irving High School, which is no more than a 15-minute drive from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "It's exciting," Beavan said. "It's a dream come true to play for the Texas Rangers. I've always wanted to play for them since I was a little kid. I've been with them through thick and thin. I really like the organization. They need pitching, and that's what we're going to give them. I can't wait to go out there and see what I can do." The Rangers thought that Beavan was going to go to the Cleveland Indians. But they started getting their hopes up when the Indians took college infielder Beau Mills with the 13th pick. "I love all our picks, but it's special when you get a young man from around the corner," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Blake stands for a lot of things we want in the organization. His ability speaks for itself, but much as we took him for his fastball, breaking ball, command and competitiveness, he also brings pride, heart and character. It's hard to find the combination of intangibles that we've found in Blake." He was one of three high school pitchers the Rangers took with their top four picks in the Draft. The Rangers had five of the first 54 picks in the Draft as compensation for losing outfielders Gary Matthews Jr., Mark DeRosa and Carlos Lee to free agency last offseason. The Rangers took another right-handed pitcher with the 24th overall pick when they selected right-hander Michael Main from Deland (Fla.) High. Like Beavan, he has a power arm with a fastball that can register in the upper 90's. Both pitchers were ecstatic to be drafted by the Rangers and both are expected to be quick signs. Beavan has a scholarship at the University of Oklahoma and Main has one waiting for him at Florida State University, but negotiations have already progressed with both to the point that a quick resolution is expected. "I don't want to say anything is for sure, but I want to sign quickly," Main said. "It's an awesome feeling. When I heard I was drafted by the Rangers, my family went nuts. It's an unbelievable feeling. I'm extremely happy and excited to be with the Rangers." The Rangers made signability a priority and avoided two other highly regarded high school pitchers who are being advised by agent Scott Boras: right-hander Rick Porcello of Seton Hall (N.J.) Prep and right-hander Matt Harvey from Fitch-Groton in Connecticut.
|1. TB||LHP||David Price||Vanderbilt U|
|2. KC||SS||Michael Moustakas||Chatsworth HS (Calif.)|
|3. CHC||3B||Josh Vitters||Cypress HS (Calif.)|
|4. PIT||LHP||Daniel Moskos||Clemson U|
|5. BAL||C||Matthew Wieters||Georgia Tech|
|6. WSH||LHP||Ross Detwiler||Missouri St U|
|7. MIL||LF||Matthew LaPorta||U Florida|
|8. COL||RHP||Casey Weathers||Vanderbilt U|
|9. ARI||RHP||Jarrod Parker||Norwell HS|
|10. SF||LHP||Madison Bumgarner||South Caldwell HS|
Porcello, the highest rated high school pitcher in the Draft, didn't go until the 27th overall pick by the Detroit Tigers and Harvey fell to the third round before being taken by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.Beavan, who is 6-foot-7 and referred to himself as 'Randy Johnson from the other side,' was 8-2 with a 0.21 ERA with 124 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched for Irving.
"We feel very confident in his ability," scouting director Ron Hopkins said. "He's big, strong, durable, a competitor who really gets after it. I believe he would throw at his mother if it would win him a game. He throws hard."
Main was 12-1 with a 1.02 ERA and 121 strikeouts for Deland. He also hit .457 with speed as an outfielder and some clubs considered drafting him as a position player. But the Rangers made it clear he was drafted as a pitcher.
"Obviously, there's some athleticism, but he can pitch," Hopkins said.
Beavan and Main were teammates on the USA Baseball Junior National Team that won the gold medal at the IBAF World Junior Championship in Cuba last year. Beavan threw a complete-game shutout against Cuba and Main was the closer on the team.
The Rangers picked a third pitcher off that team when they selected right-hander Neil Ramirez from Kempsville (Va.) High School with the 44th overall pick. He was 6-2 with a 1.46 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings and, like Beavan and Main, Ramirez is another big arm who can throw hard.
But Hopkins said the fact that all three pitched for a significant national team shows they can do more than just throw hard.
"You don't get to that level and stay on that level just because you can throw 93-94 [mph]," Hopkins said. "You've got to be able to pitch to be on a national team at the highest level."The Rangers did select a Boras client with the 35th overall pick of the Draft, taking center fielder Julio Borbon from the University of Tennessee. Borbon was one of the top outfielders in the Draft, a center fielder with great speed who hit .345 for the Volunteers this season. Borbon, even though he is represented by Boras, doesn't anticipate being a tough sign and the Rangers have also had enough conversations with him to anticipate he could come aboard quickly. "They know the kind of kid I am," Borbon said. "I'm ready to get going." Borbon missed the first half of the season after breaking his ankle in an intrasquad scrimmage. But he still recovered and was second-team All-SEC this season, and the pick addresses a serious need for a frontline center fielder within the farm system. "I'm 100 percent ready to go," Borbon said. "I'm the same Julio Borbon that I was last summer and before. I'm only going to get faster once I get into their system." The Rangers used their last compensation pick (54th overall) to take right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter from the University of Alabama. He was 7-5 with a 3.87 ERA in 26 games, including 11 starts. Opponents hit .243 off him and he struck out 96 while walking 35 in 107 innings pitched. Hunter could be used either as a starter or a potential closer.
Day 1 Draft selections
First round, 17th overall
RHP Blake Beavan: He is a 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher from Irving High School who struck out 18 in a perfect game against Irving MacArthur. He was 8-2 with a 0.21 ERA with four walks and 124 strikeouts in 66 innings. He also played on the USA Baseball Junior National team at the IBAF World Junior Championships in Cuba and was 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA. His victory was a complete game shutout of Cuba. His fastball is outstanding and he has had a plus slider.
First round, 24th overall
RHP Michael Main: He was Beavan's teammate on the Junior National team and the 18-year-old right-handed pitcher was 12-1 with a 1.02 ERA for Deland (Fla.) High School. He also played the outfield and hit .457 with three home runs, 22 RBIs and 24 stolen bases, which earned him the Gatorade national player of the year and Mr. Baseball in the state of Florida. Could be a pitcher or an outfielder, but the Rangers are looking at him as a pitcher.
Compensation round, 35th overall
OF Julio Borbon: The Rangers have a big need for a fast, athletic center fielder and Borbon addresses that need. He started the season sidelined with a broken ankle, but recovered and ended up hitting .345. A native of the Dominican Republic, he was a member of the USA Baseball National Team that won a gold medal at the FISU World Championship Tournament in Cuba. He hit .364 for the team with four home runs, 23 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
Compensation round, 44th overall
RHP Neil Ramirez: He was the Virgina Gatorade Player of the Year after going 6-2 with a 1.46 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. He has a terrific fastball, but will have to work hard to improve his secondary pitches. He could have gone higher in the draft, but his curve and changeup weren't rated that high. But he has a live arm and a good body.
Compensation round, 54th overall
RHP Tommy Hunter: The sophomore from the University of Alabama has the potential to be a closer and he was a reliever on the USA Baseball National Team that won the gold medal in Cuba. He was 7-5 with a 3.87 ERA in 15 relief appearances and 11 starts for the Crimson Tide. Able to throw a fastball, slider and changeup.
SS Matthew West: The Rangers felt this was a strong draft for high school infielders, and took one with the 80th overall pick. West is a 6-foot-1 shortstop from Houston Bellaire High who could end up at third base. A right-handed hitter, his defensive ability rates higher than his offense but he's a good athlete who could hit for power.
RHP Evan Reed: He's a 6-foot-4 reliever from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a fastball that is clocked at 91-95 mph and a projected Major League average slider. He was 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA and 11 saves for the Mustangs. There are some concerns about the command of his pitches.
2B-OF Garrett Nash: He is a switch-hitter from Jordan High School in Sandy (Utah) who can run. Scouting reports suggest he has plus-plus speed with some offensive and defensive ability. He can play either second base or the outfield. Has a chance to play for emerging college powerhouse Oregon State.
LHP John Gast: He is from Lake Brantley (Fla.) High School and is out because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. The Rangers are hoping to rehabilitate him and come away with a decent left-hander who could have been a second-round pick. His stuff is average, but he has a good feel for pitching.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.