Why The Rangers Should Draft Hitting Prospects

As I posted yesterday, the Rangers have 5 of the first 54 picks in this year’s draft – starting tomorrow.  Whippie!

Given the Rangers continued attempts to draft and develop pitchers and In-Over-His-Head Little Jon DanielsHart indication that the Rangers are again “leaning towards pitching”, all signs point to continued deterioration of the Rangers organization.So what should they do to avoid that?  Stick to what they’re good at!

The Rangers clearly CAN produce good-to-great hitters with amazing frequency.  Four AL MVPs have gone to three different Rangers hitters in the past 11 seasons.  One batting title and 19 Silver Sluggers over the same time period.  The Rangers organization CAN turn hitting potential into capability, largely thanks to Rudy Jaramillo and The Ballpark.So let’s hope the Rangers don’t make the same mistakes they made in 1996.  According to T.R. Sullivan:“The last time the Rangers were in a similar position (in the draft) was in 1996, when they had four of the first 53 picks and used them all on pitchers. The Rangers ended up taking R.A. Dickey, Sam Marsonek, Corey Lee and Derrick Cook. Dickey, who has 16 Major League victories, is the only one of the four who pitched more than one game in the Major Leagues.”Four high pitching prospects taken, and 11 years later, the four have a total of 16 wins to show for it.  And not one of them ever made a serious positive contribution to the Rangers.

So instead, draft what you can grow. 

If the Rangers want to ever get pitchers who can perform on the bump in Arlington, they need to implement a counter-intuitive strategy.  The Rangers should grab the best offensive prospects they can with all five early picks.  Develop that offensive talent, then use it where you need it and turn the rest into trade bait to bring in pitchers who have already turned their potential into capability – mid-career pitchers we can keep for a few years who could at least be assetts to the team but definitely won’t be liabilities.  

Getting mid-career, already proven pitchers here worked to various degrees in the late 90s (enough to contribute to three division titles) with guys like Sele, Loaiza, Burkett, Hill, Morgan, etc., and it could work again.  In fact, with an intentional, deliberate strategy to develop offensive talent that can be traded for championship-quality pitching, it could work even better.  And since the Rangers can’t sign top free agent pitchers and can’t develop quality pitching, that is the only strategy that has a chance to bring enough capability to the mound in
Arlington necessary to finally contend for a Championship.


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